The Crystal Cronicle


Vol 10 No 11, November 1998, Copyright © 1998 by The Crystal Club, Columbus, OH

Current Officers

President - Stephanie

Vice President - Carey

Treasurer - Dianna

Secretary - Jannie

Newsletter Editor - Kelly & Jannie

Meeting Coordinator - Latoya

Screening Officer - Dea

The Crystal Chronicle is the official newsletter of the Crystal Club. The Chronicle is published and mailed a week prior to the regularly scheduled meeting.

Complementary copies of the Chronicle may be obtained by contacting a club officer or any club member.

News items for the Chronicle should be mailed to Kelly Davidson before the end of each month. Her E-mail address is:

HZ150@cleveland.freenet.edu.

Please specify in the subject field that this is an article for the newsletter.

Logos from the Past

By Kelly Davidson

This logo first came out on the January 1993 newsletter, disappeared for one month and then was used for the March to September 1993 newsletters. My guess is that Lana created the new Logo by adding a shoe to the old logo and our new newsletter editor Karen, Adrienneís significant other, used it for the first year.

October! A month of ghost, goblins and Hate Crimes!

By Kelly Davidson

 

October is a month which we tend to associate with evil monsters and scary things that go bump in the night. Itís a time when we head to our local video store to pick up tapes which we normally donít watch any other time of the year such as "Friday the 13th" or "Halloween". Face it, most of us like to watch such horror shows on TV this time of the year. But what happens when horror, evil and hate occurs in real life? Such incidents happened in October starting with the beating death of Matthew Shepard.

Mr. Shepard was lashed to a fence and while begging for his life (see following article), was repeatedly beaten and pistol whipped until he was unconscious. Oh yes, one same detail which should be mention but really shouldnít have matter. Matthew Shepard was gay and because he was gay he was murdered by these two "real" men.

Second incident, a week later a number of people, both gay and straight were beaten up and/or arrested by the NY Police while attending a mermoral march for Mr. Shepard. Reports included a old women who was trampled on by a NYPD horse and gay men being hit with night sticks and dragged on the road. Hundreds of others were selectively singled out and arrested for no reason. Headlines the next day screamed that the NYPD was out of control.

And finally, a teen crossdresser was attacked in Madison, Wisconsin the same night a vigil for Matthew Shepard was being held. This was not the only report I read involving a crossdresser being attacked but you get the picture.

I am in no way saying such crimes donít occur every month of the year. Itís just seem like in October you couldnít pick up the paper without reading about another hate crime.

Where am I going with this? I donít really know to be honest. I am trying to put into words something with I canít comprehend. The hatred of another person not because of something they did to you. But pure and evil hate based towards another person because of their religion beliefs, lifestyle, sex, color of their skin, how fat/skinny they are, etc. This type of hate never made any sense to me and maybe that is the point, Matthew Shepard died a pointless death and I find myself wishing he hadnít.

I can only hope that if October was the month of hate crimes, November will be the beginning of creating laws to punish those who do this. I know, I know, but itís a nice thought anyway.

UW student found brutally beaten

Victim in critical condition, three charged in attack

by Jay O'Brien and Eric Rohr

BI writers

Beaten and strung up to a buck fence, UW student Matthew Shepard was found unconscious by two bicyclists on Snowy Mountain View Road Wednesday afternoon.

Shepard, 22, was laying in a coma at press time after being found in what the Laramie Police Department and Albany County Sheriff's office have deemed an alleged murder attempt. Three suspects were named in connection with the crime.

Albany County Sheriff Gary Puls said Russell Arthur Henderson, 21, Chastity Vera Pasley, 20, and

Kristen Leann Price, 18, have all been charged in connection with the attempted murder of Shepard at a press conference Oct. 8.

Puls said Shepard, who suffered severe head trauma, was unconscious upon discovery and was still unconscious at press time. Puls said Shepard was found tied to a fence approximately one mile northeast of Laramie, near Snowy Mountain View Road at about 6:22 p.m. Oct. 7.

Shepard was taken to Ivinson Memorial Hospital and later transported to Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colo., where he is listed in critical condition and on life-support.

"They're not expecting him to ever wake up," Walter Boulden, a friend of the victim, said.

Boulden said he believes the crime was motivated by hate. "There is no maybe," he said.

Henderson, charged with attempted first degree murder, is being held at the Albany County Detention Center pending formal arraignment today.

Pasley, a UW student and employee in the Wyoming Union Campus Activities Center, and Price are also being held at the detention center for charges of accessory after the fact-attempted first degree murder.

An alleged aggravated assault which occurred approximately at 1 a.m. Oct. 7 in the vicinity of 7th and Harney led officers to the four suspects, Puls said.

Editors notes: Matthew Shepard died Oct. 12 due to the injures he received from his beatings.

Editors Notes: A Bridge over trouble waters

By Kelly Davidson

 

I couldnít make the memorial service in Columbus for Matthew Shepard even though I desperately wanted to. Still, I felt I should do something and so I decided that the same time people were lighting candles up in Columbus for Matthew Shepard I would do the same thing at home.

So at 10 o'clock I lit a candle for Matthew Shepard and all the other victims of such hate crimes. I spent about 15 minutes praying and reflecting what had happened. It's funny how you tend to look back on similar situations from your own life. I recalled being chased by 5-6 neighborhood kids (big kids) into a sewer pipe shortly after I had been outed as a crossdresser to them by a friend I thought was open-minded and could be trusted.

I had confessed to him that I was a crossdresser because something traumatic had happened in my life and I wasnít able to tell my parents. I just needed to get some of the guilt I was feeling off my chest so I turned to someone I thought I could trust. As it turned out, I couldnít have picked a worst person to talk to. Iím only glad I only told him about my crossdressing and not what was really on my mind.

Two days later he invited me to go down to the creek with him to look at something he had found. I remember him saying something to the effect that I really had to see this, it was super neat. After we got down to the water (it was in a high gully) the other kids came out from behind some trees where they had been hiding.

That moment came back to me as I sat in my chair, remembering all the details and fear from the moment. I remember them calling me names like "faggot" and "queer" and telling me all the things they promised to do once they got a hold of me. The only way out was down the tunnel so I broke away from my friends grip and shot into the darkness to what I hoped was safety.

Instead of a way out I discovered they had two of their friends waiting at the end of the tunnel to grab me. It then became clear that I had been setup and they had plan to force me into this tunnel where I would pop out the other end, out of view from the rest of neighborhood. Fortunately the sewer tunnel curved near the middle so I could see them waiting at the end of it but they couldn't see me coming. With so many kids following behind me the echoís from our feet was defenting. The two kids at the end couldnít judge how close I really was and with all my might I was able to blast by them and follow the creek into the woods where they gave up the chase. If they had caught me I most likely would have received a very serious beating. But on that day (and another) I was lucky, Matthew was not.

What bothers me the most is the reaction from my incident and what happened to Matthew Shepard are so similar. All I was doing was wading in the creek as my male self. I wasn't bothering anyone, seducing my friend or causing any type of problem. But I knew that if I told anyone what had happened these kids, their parents, even my own mother would put the blame on me I could hear her telling me I caused this problem since I had no business being where I was (I was 200 yards from my own house) even though it was my ex-friend who had talked me into going down to the creek with him. Even though he had helped set me up for the worst beating of my life when I was innocent of doing anything to provoke them. And lately, I see am seeing the same attitude concerning Matthewís murder. Some people are trying to put the blame on Matthew, not the ones who actually beat him. Oh no, their *actions* where normal. After all, they really didn't mean to kill him, just beat him into a coma. What is so bad about that? Matthew Shepard was gay and offended these other men so he had it coming! People can be such morons at times!

Afterwards praying I went downstairs to work on my HO train layout (it's a 24X30 basement layout my kids and I are building). At the moment I was working on a long railroad bridge that crosses the Ohio River and thought, what if I named this bridge the Matthew Shepard Memorial Bridge. How fitting that this bridge bearing his name would be linking two different states on my layout, much like his death has linked the gay and non-gay community together to fight such hate crimes.

Yes, we still have people who oppose this action like the good Rev Phelps. They work on fear and hate to spread their message and sometimes like real Ohio River they will rise and threaten to tear this

bridge apart. But like the bridge on my layout, the exchange of ideas and and thoughts will flow both ways across the troubled waters for a long time because of what happen to Matthew Shepard. And everytime a train does cross my bridge I will remember Matthew and the things that are important in life.

To all those out there, peace and goodwill towards you. My heart goes out to the Shepard family.

*Hugs and Peace*

Kelly Davidson

Editor, Crystal Chronicle

Teen cross-dresser attacked in Madison, Wisconsin

from GAIN

 

According to an October 15, 1998, story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Meg Jones, an 18-year-old crossdresser was attacked by a man with a broken beer bottle. The attack occurred in Madison on Tuesday evening, shortly after a well-attended vigil for Matthew Shepard, a gay Wyoming student who had been beaten to death. The victim was dressed in women's clothing; police indicated that they did not think the victim attended the rally. Madison Police spokesman Dave Gouran said the victim was hit on the back of the head with a bottle of beer, then stabbed in the abdomen with the broken bottle.

The victim was dressed in women's clothing when he was attacked in a south side neighborhood, while walking with two friends. "Because he is a cross-dresser," Gouran said, "the suspect referred to him as something like a 'he-she.'" Gouran said the assailant didn't address the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation.

"It is very distressing to see it happen in Madison," said DeEtte Tomlinson, the executive director of Outreach, a Madison gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender center. "Unfortunately, this year an atmosphere has been created where this is happening more often," Tomlinson added.

New Web Page address

The CC's new web address is http://www.gender.org/cc and the mailing address for the web page is cc@gender.org. The old ones still work for now, but stargate.com is being sold (eventually.) The GeoCities web page will refer to the gender.org web page automatically.

Last months meeting.

If you missed the Halloween party last month you missed one of the best times of your lifes. Anne and Trisha brought in lights and music to give the place a party atmosphere. It was neat to see several ladies showing their stuff on the dance floor.

Latoya brought in a nice meat and cheese tray and other members added to this out by bringing in food and candy. Everyone there was in some type of costume, from business ladies to witches. All told we had about 30 or more people in attendance. Hopefully we will have the same kind of turnout at our Christmas party in December.

Thanks again everyone being food and helping us decorate and then clean up. Hope to see you at the Christmas party.

No November meeting.....Christmas party

This is a reminder that there will be NO NOVEMBER MEETING. Instead we will be getting together December 5th (1st Saturday) for our Christmas party. The doors will be open at 7pm. We ask that you:

A. bring a doll for Choices (battered womens shelter) or a gift for small boy or girl which we will donate to someone.

B. Please bring your favorite dish to share with everyone.

From the President

New goals & big dreams!

I would like to say that the Halloween party was one of the best get-togethers we've had in a long time and owe much of the thanks to Trisha and Anne for all the time and hard work they put into the lighting and music. They really made it fun, Thanks Girls! Latoya had a wonderful platter of meat and cheese and how could you beat "home made" bread, deviled eggs and liver pate. THANK YOU EVERYONE for making the night special.

WHAT NEXT ?

It seems that we often struggle in life to achieve a goal, making sacrifices, pushing onward through the hard times and finally obtaining out hearts desire. I know this to be true of just about everyone in our group. This is not an easy road to travel and everyone who attends our meetings and gatherings has surely, at one time or another, gone through a lot of "self-examination," guilt and family problems to be where they are today.

So what happens when you achieve your goal? Are you content and satisfied with what you have accomplished or do you look for new adventures? I guess it depends on each individuals perspective of how they endured accomplishing their latest achievement. For me the road has been long, I have finally experienced contentment and harmony with my body but where do I go from here? I have found that I am just starting to live and really experience life as a whole person and it is WONDERFUL, but I must challenge myself more, I need another goal. Another goal? You bet, but these are going to be fun.

I've always been interested in modeling and did some runway modeling in Chicago for Jim Bridges at the 93 BeAll. Actually I modeled for two designers and had so much fun that I decided I would really persue this in the future. Well the future appeared at the Holiday Inn by the airport on October 9th this year. The Playboy mobile studio bus was traveling the US and looking for candidates for the Playmate 2000 among other things, so I decided I could be one of the "other things". It was Friday evening and I was just getting off work at 6pm. The bus was leaving Saturday for Cleveland so I started to talk myself into going over and doing this. I thought "Stephanie, if you don't go you may as well go home and bury yourself in the back yard. This opportunity will not come again". So while babbling to myself I drove into the parking lot where it saw this large black bus with playboy all over it. O.K. hand, open the door...open the door please..O.K. feet step out and move me up to the door of the bus....O.K. knock on the door! I was driving myself nuts. A man opened the door and I asked if I was to late for the shoot. He said they were wrapping things up but asked me to please come in. I was in my work uniform so we made some small talk about the airline business. I told him I would like to pose but I knew asked me what I was doing that evening. That was the night of the CC board meeting, so he gave me his pager number, said they were going to take the bus to a couple of bars and if I paged him he would tell me where they were and I could hang out with them. My mind was working overtime and I was considering doing it, until he also gave me his room number. He was cute and in his thirties but that clinched it, I wasn't ready for whatever he had in mind so I did not call him.

Saturday I was a completely different person. I just decided to just have fun and not worry about anything. The bus door was open this time and I just walked in, Jim was there and said they didn't do much the previous night so I didn't miss anything. I filled out some papers and signed the release forms while they made a copy of my drivers license. From there I entered a small changing room where everything except my heels, panties and bra came off. They had these neat heavy terry cloth Playboy robes to cover myself with while I waited my turn and touched up my makeup. Soon the door went up and a young girl came out and David the photographer called me in. He told me how to pose and took two polariods, one standing with the robe off my shoulders and one laying on the leather couch, put the pictures in my folder and it was over. After dressing they gave me a dogtag style necklace with the playboy logo on it and said if they decided to do a pictorial I would hear from them after the first of the year. I'm not holding my breath, but it was really a LOT of FUN, sooooooooooo WHATS NEXT ! How about Steph & Hef...hahahahaha...right! In my dreams m

A Question for All

by Carey

For many months now, a certain newsletter editor has been suggesting that I should write something for the newsletter. I have tried to explain to her that I live a very dull life with nothing to write about. For past several months now, I have been living my new life as the girl next door. My new neighbors seem to accept me as such, which is what most transsexuals I know desire out of life, unless of course they are female to male. Basically one could say that I have crawled back into the wood work of society.

For the most part. all I have been doing is enjoying my many friendships. In the Greater Columbus area, I would conservatively say that I have met at least fifty transsexuals, female to male, male to female, pre and post op. Combine this with a similar number of crossdressers of all types, I feel to be a part of a very good Transgendered Community. Even though I am a part of this community, I can speak for no one other that myself. I am certain, that in some part, many of you will relate to what I am about to say.

Several days ago, Monday I believe, I was at work. It was about 6:00 in the morning. A radio had been left on all night and since it was a quiet morning, I was listening to the two men and a woman that were hosting the show. They began to talk about a survey that someone had done about how women really feel about their breast including one response from a transsexual. Well, needless to say, this really got my attention. The three of them, rather playfully bantered around the results of this survey. As they were concluding, one of them said "and the transsexual resounded that she\he, (slight pause) no, he\she, (longer pause) no, it said...." Well my mind screamed "IT"! An "IT", am I am "IT"? Have I sacrificed so much to be an "IT"? Have I lost my spouse that I love so dearly to be an "IT"? Have I lost most of my family and life long friends to be an "IT"? Have I spent thousands of dollars to become an "IT"?

The answer to this question in my mind is obviously not. I did all that, simply to be the girl next door. The real question here is, how long will this type ignorance go on? How much longer are we, the Transgendered Community, going to sit back and allow the world to regard us in such a manner. How long will it be until we realize that, not the wood work of society that we crawl into, nor the closets the we hide in, afford us any lasting comfort or security. How long will it be until the tens of millions of us stand up face the world and say, hey I am a person just like you?

Now normally, I am a light hearted, fun loving lady. Had these words been said to privately from people that know what I am all about, I probably would have laughed. But they weren't said privately, they were broadcasted. These words were heard by probably thousands of listeners that are just as ignorant to transgendered issues. I may be guilty of taking things here a little too seriously here, but I believe that attitudes like this do nothing more but fan the flames of hatred.

Long before most of us knew who Matthew Shepard was, Tom, a dear friend of mine told me something. He said "I am still romantic enough to believe that discrimination against anyone is discrimination against me...." I know that he really believes this and that is one of many reasons he is such a dear friend. The question here is, do we believe it?

My best wishes to all,

Carey "IT"

Today we made history!

by Mary Ann Horton

Lucent Technologies included transgendered employees in its Equal Opportunity employment policy last year. This year, I have come out to my coworkers as a crossdresser and laid the groundwork for occasional crossdressing at work.

Today, October 9, 1998, I worked as a woman, for the full day, in my normal office with my normal coworkers, for a legitimate business reason, and with the full support of my employer. I went back into work the next week in male mode. And I survived to tell the tale.

In the past, I've worked as Mary Ann. When I telecommute, often I'll work en femme. I've attended off-site EQUAL! events and come in for noon-hour events. I even spent a whole day working with my group at their location in Illinois. But I had never gone to my own office and worked there all day as a woman.

October 11 is National Coming Out Day. EQUAL!, Lucent's Employee Benefit Partner for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered employees,

often holds educational events to celebrate. The Columbus, Ohio chapter invited a local gay couple, one of whom is an executive with a regional pizza chain, the other the manager of a gay-themed restaurant they both own. They talked about being successful "out" executives. Pizza from the same chain was served to attendees, who also earned an hour of diversity credit.

It is customary for a member of EQUAL! to introduce our speakers, and since I had done the leg work to arrange for the speakers, I had the honor. For NCOD it was entirely appropriate for me to make the introduction as Mary Ann, even though I usually work as Mark.

I arrived at work about 10 AM, in plenty of time for the 11 AM start to the event. I wanted to go by-the-book, so I made sure I got a legal parking space (a long walk away) and wore my badge. I walked in and said hello to Chuck, my office made. "Hi, Mary Ann." Chuck kindly took my picture at my desk.

OK, I know you want to know what I wore. I wanted to look professional to introduce the speakers, so I wore a royal blue two piece outfit with top and skirt, nylons and dress flats. My hair was down and I wore my glasses. It was a cool day so I wore a cardigan sweater for the walk to and from the car.

The restroom issue had to be addressed, and it was. When I came out to my coworkers, one of them reported me to corporate security, just in case I ever might want to use a restroom. The local powers that be got together and decided I should use the single occupancy restroom in the Medical department. I'm trying to get a corporate restroom policy established, but for me, for an occasional day, this solution is far

better than holding it in all day. I accepted their offer.

Medical is about a five minute walk from my office in flats. Including time to actually use the restroom, bathroom breaks take about 15 minutes. As I walked up there the first time, I was struck not only

with the distance of the walk, but the route I had to take to get there. The only path there goes through busy, well-lit hallways. I was very aware that I might meet someone I know whom I hadn't come out to yet. On the way I passed an internal customer I was not yet out to. He didn't give me a second look - clearly he didn't recognize me.

I'd been told to ask permission of the receptionist every time I enter to use the restroom. The first time, nobody was there, so I went on in. Medical in Columbus actually has four single-occupancy restrooms: two pairs of men's and women's rooms. Two restrooms are very small, airplane sized rooms. The other two are as large as fast food restrooms. I used the large women's room. It has a toilet, sink, mirror, and a hard plastic chair, covered with junk such as boxes of seat covers. It obviously doesn't get much use - it's dingy and I never had to wait for it. It's perfectly adequate, but I wish the light were good enough to repair my makeup. On the whole, I was happy to have a place to go. I made the trip to the restroom three times during the day.

The speakers were to telephone me between 11:00 and 11:10, and I would come to the lobby and sign them in. I was concerned about whether I would have a problem signing them in with a badge that did not match my face. When 11:10 came with no call, I went straight to the front lobby.

At the lobby, the speakers had not yet arrived. The receptionist was sweet and asked about my necklace. I sat down to wait for them, and while waiting I visited the single occupancy restroom in the lobby. It was beautiful! Large, private, and well lit.

When our speakers arrived at 11:20, I signed them both in without incident. I used my initials ("M.R.Horton") on the forms. My badge remained clipped to the waistband on my skirt. I don't think she even noticed that anything was different.

We walked up to the Capital Room and found an intimate audience of about 30 people. As I introduced the speakers, it felt really good to be myself. During my introduction I came out as transgendered. The audience spontaneously broke out in applause! The presentation by the speakers was marvelous and well received.

We had leftover pizza and pop, so I signed out the speakers and took some pizza back to my office.

On the way down the hallway, a person I didn't know said, in a friendly tone, "Hello, Mary Ann." It sure surprised me, I didn't know anyone knew me as Mary Ann here. It turned out to be someone who had seem me introduce a speaker in June, and said hello last month at King's Island. He was very nice, and it felt good to be recognized for myself.

I went up and down the hall, inviting people I knew to drop by for pizza if they were hungry. Some did come by to chat later on. Somehow the topic of being a woman didn't come up.

One of the people I dropped in was Kathy, our secretary. I had neglected to come out to her when I spoke with the other group members, a mistake I regretted. So when I dropped in to say "hi", she gave me a really strange look, like "who are you?" I introduced myself and came out. She seemed kind of dazed but was polite. I think she didn't know what to say. There are 170,000 Lucent associates and 6,000 in our facility, of whom I know about 200. So far I had come out, one-to-one, to about 15 people outside of EQUAL!

On another trip to the ladies room, I passed Mike in the hallway. I wasn't out to him yet, either. We had passed in the hallway, and the light bulb went off in his head - he turned around and said "Mark". I shook his hand and introduced myself as Mary Ann. He couldn't stop laughing. The whole concept cracked him up. I briefly explained who and what I was, and he said "Well, whatever works for you." Being laughed at made me uncomfortable - I excused myself and continued on to the restroom.

About 4 PM, my phone rang. Instead of my usual baritone "Mark Horton" answer, I just said "hello". My friend Evelyn, from New Jersey, was calling to see how I was. (Evelyn is a member of EQUAL! and knew of my plans for the day, because I'd told some e-mail lists in advance.) I really appreciated the support call. I told her things really were going pretty well. She made me promise to send out a report. (We can all thank Evelyn for reminding me to write this down while it's still fresh in my mind.)

About 5 PM, Chuck was on the phone. My boss and two others on the call in Illinois had an emergency. Some e-mail wasn't working right and

people's expense vouchers were not getting through because of it. Chuck told them "Well, Mary Ann's right here. Don't worry, I won't let him get away." (One out of two ain't bad, and this wasn't the time for

a pronoun lesson.) Chuck put me on speaker and I joined in the call, trying to help solve the problem.

Before I knew it, the folks on the other end had conferenced in the customer, Karen. I've worked with Karen before as Mark, but I'm not sure if she remembers me. Mike in Illinois introduced the three of them, and then an awkward silence. "There are two other people on the call." Chuck introduced himself, and I had a quick decision to make. I figured I'd better introduce myself as Mark, but I wasn't prepared to change persona and change voice.

We dug into the problem, and before long Mike found the solution. The customer profusely thanked us (with our boss on the call!) and we wished each other a happy weekend. One crisis averted.

After a full day of work, my wife Beth and I went out to dinner. The day was stressful and I needed to unwind and talk. From there I went to our Crystal Club support group meeting. Didn't need to go home to change - I could honestly say I came wearing what I wore to work!

In all, the day went rather well. I was treated respectfully and tolerated well. I wouldn't quite say I was fully accepted outside of EQUAL!, but my first day was a whole lot easier than Rosa Parks' or Jackie Robinson's. We can feel good. We've made history!

 

 

And the Survey says......

 

I have the long-promised survey up on the web, and I'd love to know what you think! This survey asks what crossdressers really want in the workplace. Do you want to just wear skirts? Alternate names and pronouns? Ignore gender altogether? Tell us what you want so we can fight for your needs!

Please go to http://www.gender.org/ep/cdsurvey.html

and let us know how you really see Utopia!

Hugs, Mary Ann

 

NLGLA Elects First TG Co-Chair

Provided by Katrina C. Rose

Melinda Whiteway, a Santa Cruz, CA attorney, made history at the 1998 National Lesbian and Gay Law Association's Lavender Law Conference in Boston as she became the first transgendered female co-chair of the organization. Jim Schwartz of Chicago was elected male co-chair. Houston transgendered attorney Phyllis Frye was elected as a board member at large.

NLGLA is a national association of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals, law students and affiliated lesbian and gay legal organizations. NLGLA sponsors regional and local events throughout the

U.S. and has become a national voice for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgenders in the legal profession. It was established in 1988 and has been an affiliate of the American Bar Association since 1992 - the only queer law association to have such an affiliation.

 

Words to live by

 

Itís not important what people think of you, itís what you think about yourself that matters. Live you life the way which makes you like yourself more.

 

Students defend feminine boy forced to quit school

By DAN SEWELL

Associated Press

CARROLLTON, Ga. -- Patrick Nelson had heard there was a cross-dressing boy enrolled at his high school. But darned if he could figure out just who it was.

"I looked for him the first couple weeks. The honest truth -- I didn't even know," Patrick said.

One day, he was talking about the mystery to a friend, who smiled and pointed to the pretty blonde at the desk next to his.

"I said, `No way, that's too weird!' " Patrick recalled. "Then I thought about it, and I said, `So what's so weird about that?' "

But while Patrick and his friends were willing to accept Matthew "Alex" McLendon's feminine appearance and mannerisms, others in this rural, conservative western Georgia community of about 20,000 weren't.

And so 15-year-old Alex withdrew from school under pressure, leaving supporters of the popular, easygoing student wondering what threat they had supposedly been protected from.

"Alex wasn't causing any problems. She got along well with everybody," said classmate and friend Meayghan Denkers. "She wasn't trying to change anybody to be like her or anything."

After a heated meeting of the board of the small, private Georgian Country Day School on Oct. 6, Alex was "invited to withdraw" or face expulsion. Alex, who had enrolled in September after attending public school, was cited for wearing a tongue ring but had been called before school authorities earlier about his female dress, makeup and hairstyle.

Most of Alex's classmates, including some boys, wore bows in their hair in protest until ordered by the principal to remove them. Some indignantly quoted their school handbook, which urges acceptance of "diversity in opinion, culture, ideas, behavioral characteristics, attributes or challenges."

"Alex represents something that's way beyond the experience and the comfort zone of the very conservative people we live with," said Lori Lipoma, Meayghan's mother and a drama teacher at the school. "I really think we all lost something very precious that night." School officials would not discuss the case.

"We make no comments on students," said Rex Camp, chairman of the board of the school, where tuition is more than $5,000 a year for the 50 or so high school students. Kindergarten and elementary students are in a separate building, but one parent of a 6-year-old expressed concern at the board meeting about Alex's effect on younger children.

"I believe in sexual standards in society, and I want my child in a school that holds the same sexual ethics that I do," said Craig Neal.

Alex, who speaks in a soft, feminine voice, began cross-dressing two years ago and considers himself "95 percent girl."

Larry Harmon, a Dade County, Fla., psychologist who counsels patients on sexual identity, said such feelings appear to fit a rare condition called gender-identity disorder. He said it doesn't necessarily imply homosexuality, and it's difficult to know how many youngsters have it and why.

"I'm not homosexual," Alex said. "I just look like a girl and I dress like a girl. It wasn't anything flamboyant, not sequins or anything. But because I'm a guy ... "

He enrolled in night school but quit in less than a week because he didn't feel the courses offered would help his education goals. He hopes to pursue a career in fashion merchandising and modeling.

Alex said Thursday he's looking into the possibility of home-schooling.

At the Georgian Country Day School -- where Alex said he enrolled to get a better education -- he struck up a friendship with Meayghan and was soon invited to spend nights over at her house. The first couple of times, Meayghan's mother popped in on them unannounced just in case.

"They'd be sitting there doing hair, or painting nails, and I said to myself, `This is a girl,' " Lipoma said.

A few weeks into the school year, Alex and his father were summoned to a meeting with school officials. They said that parents had complained, and that he had to dress like a boy, Alex recalled. He refused and was sent home. A special board meeting followed.

Under the law, a public school would have had to show that Alex was disrupting education or undermining safety. A private school has more leeway.

Alex's mother died when he was young. He said that his cross-dressing initially caused a rift with his father but that his dad stood with him in the dispute with the board. Mack McLendon declined an interview.

"School is supposed to be preparing you for life," Alex said. "Parents are trying to protect their kids by covering their eyes. It's going to be a real shock for some of these parents when their kids get out into the real world."

Imprisoned Fla. pre-op transsexual sues for hormone treatment.

from Dallas Denny

 

Raiford, Fla.-- Dennis Smith legally changed his name in 1993 to Rhonda and asked that others refer to him as "her." Smith grew his hair long, bleached it blond and received silicone hip implants, a feminine face, and a full bust. And estrogen tables, which the Panama City native took daily made Smith feel like a woman. Now Smith, 40, is serving a 10-year sentence at Union Correctional Institution for aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer. Smith filed suit against prison officials, who have

refused to provide him with 2.5 milligrams of estrogen a day, alleging refusal to treat "serious medical needs." Smith claims that officials are violating his constitutional protection from cruel and unusual punishment.

The Florida Department of Corrections decided in 1992 that transsexuals would not receive female hormone therapy because it wasn't medically necessary. Smith is asking the courts to force prison officials to restore his hormone therapy and pay $100,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

Pink List Addition

I am a post-op TS located in Marion, Ohio . I own and operate a business offering quality pet grooming and related services. My business is Julie's Critter Cleaners, 121 East Church Street, Marion, OH 43302 (740)387-0374. I am a professionally trained, certified pet groomer and I do dogs, cats, and various small animals. I work by appointment and hours are flexible.

Pianist begins new life as a woman

From GAIN

According to a story by Steve Barnes that appeared in the Albany Times-Union on October 11, pianist Sara Davis Buechner began her career in September. This after performing professionally for more than a decade and winning a dozen major international concerto competitions. Buechner has also perform twice with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, but all these achievements where those of David Buechner. Buechner is one of the few people in public life of any sort who has undergone a sex change amid a successful career.

David's last performance was in July, in Lake Placid. According to Buechner, since David signed the contract, David performed the concert. Starting a career as Sara has been difficult. Buechner says she feels "I'm starting over, rebuilding a career from the ground up." Most classical soloists who are gay or lesbian remain closeted, Buechner explained, because they fear a negative reaction from conductors and orchestra management. Buechner says that a transgender soloist is too hard for many people to understand.

David Alan Miller, the music director for the Albany Symphony Orchestra, initially was hesitant to have Buechner perform. Miller and Buechner had

studied at the same time at the juilliard School, and have been friends since, yet Miller knew nothing of Buechner's transgender status. After some consideration, Miller decided that, David or Sara, "[i]t's the same musical intelligence at work, the same fingers playing the notes," Miller said.

Doctors perform Japan's first legal sex-change operation

From GAIN

According to an AP story dated Friday, October 16, Japanese doctors has performed the first sex change operation to be performed in Japan.

According to the report, the operation was performed on a 30-year-old person born female, and is reported to be Japan's first authorized sex change operation.

The complete article may be found at:

a href="http://www2.nando.net:80/newsroom/ntn/health/101698/health6_6105_noframes.html"> http://www2.nando.net:80/newsroom/ntn/health/101698/health6_6105_noframes.html

Sister Mary Elizabeth, God's messenger

From

TRIBUTE BY Shirley Bushenll

Today, I will tell you about a person who is a role model for me. I would like for each one of us here to take on the role of a parent. Imagine yourself with a male child 8 years old. He says "Mom, Dad, I really need to talk to you. You know what I want to be when I grow up?" As parents you listen intently. Your son then says; "Mom, Dad; I want to be a Nun when I grow up." After careful consideration as parents, and making sure you have "family values" in mind; you promptly put your son into the Baptist church.

So today it is my honor to tell you more about this individual who did grow up and become a Nun. She has the distinction of having served in the U.S. military as both a man and a woman. She began her military career as a man Michael Clark, a stalwart Cold War-generation Southern Baptist in 1957. She was in Navy for 17 years, and you could find her flying missions into Vietnam in 1968.

Shortly after leaving the Navy in 1974, she underwent a sex-change operation and became Joanna M. Clark. In 1976 she enlisted in the U. S. Army Reserves as sergeant first class and served for 22 months. She disclosed her medical history to local recruiters and her enlistment was voided by the Army. She sued the Army in 1978 alleging that her dismissal was a violation of her right to due process and equal protection. After a series of appeals, she was given credit for military time served and a honorable discharge.

In 1976 she helped to found the Gender Dysphoria Program of Orange County. From 1980-1983 she served as founding Chairperson of the American Civil Liberties Union's Transsexual Rights Committee, and she was responsible for the enactment of California's Transsexual birth certification legislation and the defeat of SB-2200, which would have prohibited MEDICAL funds from being used for sex reassignment surgery. In 1986 she took over the Janus Information's Facility's worldwide information/referral service for gender dysphorics and helping professionals.

In December of 1987, she co-founded the Sisters of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. At a candlelight service at St. Clemente's By-the-Sea Episcopal Church in San Clemente, California, Joanna Clark took the veil and vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience; becoming Sister Mary Elizabeth. The Episcopalian Church never recognized her officially. However, this year on Easter Sunday the American Catholic Church ordained Sister Mary Elizabeth as the Reverend Mother.

The Sisters of St. Elizabeth of Hungary inherited a herd of Blank Angus cows from a charitable farmer in Stover, Missouri. Sister Mary Elizabeth was lucky enough to draw the straw and went of to herd the cows. I want each one of us now to place ourselves in a town of 1,014 people and you are out numbered by the cows. The telephone system used old-fashioned party lines, where up to five people shared one phone line. The nearest hospital was 40 miles away, and you could barely get TV signals from the national networks. Can you see yourself in that town? You live in that town and you are HIV-positive, and you wanted information. But if anybody in the town found out, you knew it was a quick way to get your farm burned to the ground.

Sister Mary Elizabeth met two people who were HIV-positive in that town and they were desperate for information. She realized that an electronic bulletin board could provide up-to-date HIV information and could do it privately. So in 1990 from the bathroom of her parents trailer in San Juan

Capistrano she went on-line with AIDS Education General Information BBS. So began her vision of having a free access bulletin board with anonymous logon providing HIV information.

Sister Mary Elizabeth wanted to publicize, for free, the gossip, trends and breaking scientific discoveries from thousands of AIDS research institutions and community groups. This idea met with resistance from the AIDS establishments. For a year, the National Library of Medicine charged Sister Mary Elizabeth $18 an hour to search its AIDS drug database, a bill that quickly added up to hundreds of dollars. She posted this information and soon discovered that government agencies were tying up her lines, downloading information for free instead of paying the National Library of Medicine. So she fired off a letter to Vice President Al Gore saying:

"This is ridiculous. I'm paying for this stuff, so they can get it for free.....The (National Library of Medicine Information's belongs to us anyway . It was purchased with our tax dollars and is being sold back to us." Vice President Al Gore's office resolved the problem and she was granted a free "access code", and later free access was granted to the general public.

Today Sister Mary Elizabeth runs the worlds largest and most comprehensive interactive computer library on HIV and AIDS ~ AIDS Education Global

Information System, or AEGIS. I want you to step into Sister Mary Elizabeth's parents home, where for years there has been no sofa in this San Juan Capistrano living room. It had to go to make way for the bank of computers, so that Sister Mary Elizabeth can do her chosen work among the afflicted, the curious, the dying. Updating the AEGIS website can take Sister Mary up to 18 hours a day as she researches articles and rewrites them into the language of the Internet. Can anyone in this room today say that they handle routinely 40 to 307 visitors an hour, many whom stay for hours to search the latest medical bulletins?

Let me relate to you what James Allan Maytum, who logs on daily from Valencia, Spain says. In 1992 he found out he was HIV-positive, and his drug therapy produced toxic reactions that nearly killed him in 1995. A new mix of drugs restored his health, but another toxic episode sent him scrambling to the computer, where he found AEGIS. Ten days later, he received a large package of information on drug therapies from Sister Mary Elizabeth that he brought to his doctor. The new drug combination worked. He says "What can I say, than I sort of feel that I owe my life to AEGIS and Sister Mary. She's truly God's messenger. She's achieved what really is the largest and best HIV-AIDS database in the world."

Sister Mary Elizabeth often says don't write about me. "I'm not the story. My work is the story." Today we all know the story and work of Sister Mary

Elizabeth. It is with pride, honor, and love, that as the Co-Chair of the Educational Resources Committee of The Los Angeles County Transgender Task Force I present this Outstanding Service Award to the Reverend Mother, Sister Mary Elizabeth

Nothing Becomes a Man More Than a Woman's Face

From GAIN

 

According to a story by Natalie Angier appearing in the Tuesday, August 31, 1998 New York Times, recent scientific research has found that women are attracted more to men with feminized faces than to men with more stereotypically rugged, manly faces. The scientists had predicted that women would be most attracted to "traditional hallmarks of male dominance and maturity," such as a large jaw, squared-off face, heavy brow. Instead, researchers found women to be attracted to men with "a touch of girlishness," as in a slender nose, lightened brow, and so on.

Ian Penton-Voak of the University of St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland said that when they first found the "preference for feminized male faces, nobody believed it, so we did it again, and again. The preference for a feminized face keeps coming up." Moreover, they have since replicated the research

 

Childs Play

By Kelly Davidson

It started when there was a knock on the door. I panic, thinking maybe my mother had come back early. But as I tried to leave Mrs. Smith grab and firmly held me in place.

"Stay right here," she told me. "Everything's all right, I was expecting guest at this time. It's my surprise to you."

"I can't stay here. Look at ME!" I protested. My body was shaking with fear. Was I ready for this? There was another knock at the door

"Susanna, I don't have time to argue about this." In a softer voice she said, "Look honey, you're perfect. No one will know. Just do the things you learn and enjoy being a little girl. You'll love this experience, I promise. You look perfect. Now, take a deep breath and relax. Everything will be alright. "

Mrs. Smith let go and walked backwards towards the door while keeping her eyes on me. "Just relax, you will do fine." She pointed her finger at me to stay before turning to open the door.

"Are you Mrs. Smith?" I heard someone ask.

"Yes, I'm am. Hi. You must be from the committee. I'm glad you could make it. Please, come in and call me Linda" Three ladies entered into the house. Two were in their late thirty's and the other couldn't have been more then twenty.

"Thank you Linda. You have a lovely house," one of the older ladies said as she looked around the living room and spied me. "Oh my, and who is this lovely princess?" The three ladies looked over to where I was standing.

"This is my 10 year old daughter Susanna," Mrs. Smith proudly announced.

"What a pretty dress!" the first lady continued. "She's adorable Linda." I stood there, too afraid to move.

"We were working on her outfit so she would be ready for the "Little Misses" contest at the state fair next month. We're hoping to win this year."

"Well I don't see how she can lose," the second older lady replied. "She's as cute as a button. And that dress, oh, I just have to touch it. Do you mind Susanna?"

Before I had a chance to reply, all three ladies were touching my dress, straightening bows and smoothing out my skirt."

"I remember wearing dresses like this when I was younger," the first older lady said. They use to make me feel so pretty. Do you like wearing dresses like this Susanna?"

I shook my head but Mrs. Smith commanded, "Speak up dear, just like I taught you."

"Yes ma'am." I replied. Thank goodness I hadn't hit puberty and could still make my voice sound softer then it was.

"And you're so polite too. Linda, you have raised a fine young lady here. Does she have any other surprises?"

"Only one," I thought but kept quiet. Mrs. Smith just looked at me and grinned. "Nope, none that I know of."

"Well I have a daughter who is 13 years old and I have to fight with her just to wear a skirt to church," the first lady continued. "She won't even look at "a dress" when we go to the store."

"Your lucky," replied the second older lady. "My daughter is 17 and refuses to even put on a skirt. In fact, she wore a pants suit to a prom. Can you believe that. She has a closet full of some of the prettiest skirts and dresses that I made for her but she refuses to wear them. Maybe I should give them to Susanna," she said with a smiled.

"I hate to say this," she continued. "But last month my daughter got her hair cut real short. Because of the way she dresses, most of the time she looks like a boy. And when I ask her to wear a dress she refuses. Her reason is that her other friends dress this way and she doesn't want to break fashion. How about you Mary? Any thoughts?"

The younger women spoke for the first time. "I used to love dressing up as a princess when I was a little girl. I would go out as one every Halloween. My dream is to dress my child as a princess all the time.....even if it's a "boy". Everyone, including Mrs. Smith, broke out in laughter. "Don't worry Susanna, he could never be as pretty as you."

"Well, you are very pretty in that dress. I bet you're going to hate taking it off," the first lady commented. It's nice to see a little girl who is not ashamed to be...a girl. And such a pretty one." I felt my cheeks starting to turn red from all this attention.

"Today, too many girls want to dress and look like boys." she added. It's nice to meet young ladies like yourself who don't mine dressing up in pretty outfits. It lets us, the older generation, know that in the future there will still be young ladies who won't mined acting and dressing as such. Your the hope for our future womanhood" (Now that was an interesting thought).

Despite being embarrass, I realize she had given me a compliment. Maybe I could get away with this. "Yes ma'am, and thank you," as I held out my skirt and bowed, just as Mrs. Smith had taught me. The three ladies giggled with pleasure while Mrs. Smith beamed with at me with pride.

"Well, I figure we could work on my application over here," said Mrs. Smith, pointing to the chairs in one corner of the living room. "Have a seat while I get some coffee and snacks. Susanna, be a good girl and help your mother, okay."

"Okay mommy," as I walked behind her into the kitchen. The minute we went around the corner Mrs. Smith turned and gave me a giant hug.

"You were fantastic back there," her voice filled with pride. "I couldn't be prouder of you, especially when you bowed to them. That was perfect. Your a very good learner Susan" One of her hands went down and patted me on the bottom. I'm proud you're my daughter. I want you to always be my little girl."

That was all I wanted to hear. All my life I had been looking for someone to accept me and make me feel wanted. I never did seem to fit in at home. No matter what I did, it never seem to be good enough. I prayed to God, while she was holding on to me, to make it so. I wanted to be her little girl for life.

"I love you mommy," and I did. The words were real, not rehearsed. She smiled back at me and said, "Well, we have guest we have to take care of. Come on, lets get busy." She stood up and walked over to the counter.

Even though I had passed with flying colors, being around those other women was a nerve-racking experience. I had a number of fears about being caught, and they were still dancing in my head. "What would happen if these ladies found out who I really was? Would the police be called in? Would my parents find out?" I really didn't want to find out the answers to these questions. What I really wanted to do was to play it safe and stay in the kitchen or hide out in Lisa's bedroom until they left. But Mrs. Smith had other plans for me

She handed me a plate of cookies. "Here, take these and serve them to our guest please." Seeing the fear in my eyes she added, "You're doing great Susanna, keep up the good work. She turned me around so I faced the entrance to the living room and whispered in my ear, "Take a deep breath.....Relax." She gave a slight push to start me walking towards the living room.

I carried the cookies out to where the three ladies were sitting. Each of them gave me a pleasant smile and thanked me. A minute later Mrs. Smith followed me out with a tea tray. The three ladies introduce themselves to us and Mrs. Smith took a seat next to one of them leaving me standing.

"Baby doll, why don't you go play with Sally while we talk." Mrs. Smith motion to the doll that was still lying in the buggy.

"Okay," I replied. I picked the doll up and headed for the hallway but only got a few feet before I heard Mrs. Smith say, "Excuse me for a moment. Susan dear, where are you going?" "I was going to my room to play so I wouldn't disturb you"

"That is very nice of you honey but I want you to play in here where I can keep on eye on you. That dress cost us a lot of money and I don't want to see you get it dirty, okay. You can play on the couch with Sally, just don't try to give her a bath." Mrs. Smith then turned and went back to her guest.

"What an embarrassing situation," I thought to myself as I sat on the couch and stared at the ladies on the other side of the room. But what else could I do. If I left the room Mrs. Smith would only drag me back in and, she would be mad. I didn't want that to happen. And, I couldn't just sit here, I was suppose to be a little girl and just sitting was not what a 10 year girl would do. No, if I wanted these ladies to think I was a little girl then I had to acted like one. So, what would a little girl do in this situation. I knew the answer even before I started thinking it out. There was only one thing I could do to keep my masquerade. I was trapped and I knew it. Mrs. Smith looked up and gave me the eye to start playing.

I laid the doll on the table and changed it's diaper. This caught the attention of all three ladies, who seemed more interested in what I was doing them what Mrs. Smith was saying. From the box I pulled out a pretty dress and carefully pull it over the dolls head. To keep up the appearance, I kept smiling and talking to my doll . After she was dressed, I brushed it's long, dark hair.

Once done, I sat the doll on my lap and read a book to her. Mrs. Smith continued to talk while the three ladies took their turn checking to see what I was doing.

The longer I played with the doll the more embarrass I became. While I would have given my front teeth to stop I also realized that the longer I played with the doll, the more convinced these ladies would believe that I was just another little girl. So I force myself to play the part happier, more joyfully, more serious then any little girl could.

I read the doll a couple of books before I couldn't take it anymore. Grabbing the bottle, I proceeded to feed my baby while talking softly to her. By now I was feeling totally foolish but knew this was the only way to keep up my cover. Every now and then one of the ladies would look up and give me an approving look.

Ten minutes later the bottle was done and the doll's diaper was wet again. While I worked on changing the diaper, I listen to what was going on. Mrs. Smith was trying to get a grant from these ladies for a special quilt she wanted to make. It seem like she had been talking for hours, going over her plans. "When was this meeting going to end?" I asked myself.

After changing the doll's diaper, I started looking through the box for something to dress her in. I came across a pretty pink nightgown with lace on it. With great care, I dressed the doll in it.

A horrible thought then struck me. There wasn't anything left to do but sing my doll to sleep, something I was dreading. I felt foolish enough playing with this doll but having to sing to it in front of strangers, it was more then I could stand. I just couldn't bring myself to doing it. Instead, I held the doll in my lap hoping no one would take noticed.

After a few minutes of explaining her quilt to the ladies, someone else started talking and Mrs. Smith looked over at me. Our eyes locked and in an instant, I had read her mind. She made a motion to continue with what I was doing or else.

With great resistance, I lifted the doll up and snuggle it against my chest. I began swinging my arms back and forth and softly sang a la-la-bye to my baby doll. The ladies in the group looked over and stared at me with such admiration. I could read their minds as well. Each of them dreamed of having a little girl like myself who they could dress in pretty clothes and watch as she played with her dolls. I could tell Mrs. Smith was thrilled with my performance as she struggled to continue.

After what seemed like forever, the meeting finally broke up. I continued to rock the doll as the three ladies stood up and walked over to me.

"That's a very pretty baby you have there Susanna," one of them said. What is her name?"

"Sally," I replied shyly. I didn't want to get into a discussion about my doll.

"I see you take really good care of her," she continued to ramble, almost as if she believe it was a really person. Then it dawned on me, I had done such a good job of acting in front of her that she actually believed I thought it was "a real baby". In fact, from their smiles, all three ladies believed that. These ladies must think I was little baby or something. I held onto the doll even tighter, part out of embarrassment and part of fear of blowing my cover.

"Oh yes, she is a good mother to Sally," Mrs. Smith agreed adding on to my woes. "In fact, she plays with Sally most of the day. She is a fine mommy."

"How old is your baby Susanna?", one of the older ladies asked. I just stood there, too embarrass to say anything.

"Go on and tell her honey," Mrs. Smith coaxed.

"Six months," I said, clutching the doll even tighter.

"Look how tight she holds her doll." one of the older ladies whisper to the others. "Don't worry Susanna, we are not going to take your baby away." All three laugh as if this was quite funny while I loosen my death-grip on the doll.

"Well, she is a very pretty baby, and you're a very nice little girl. It was a pleasure meeting you,." she smiled and said as she patted me on the shoulder. The three ladies said their good-byes and headed out the door. Mrs. Smith turned after they left and gave me a big smile."

"Come here you little angel," Mrs. Smith said, holding out her arms. She gave me a big hug and lifted me slightly off the ground. "You were perfect," she said in a joyful manner. "Those women envied me for having such a sweet, pretty little girl. I'm sorry I didn't warn you but I didn't want to you to be nervous before-hand. Now, aren't you glad I didn't?"

I had to admit I was glad she didn't tell me. If she had, I would have been a nervous wreak before they had gotten here. It is a memory I treasure today and I'm glad it happened. I would do it again if I had the chance.

Mrs. Smith stopped hugging me and said, "I guess now you can change into another outfit, unless you would like to play some more. In fact, I was thinking we could do something together. Would you like that?"

The excitement of the outfit had worn off but I still wasn't ready to exchange this dress for another. Besides which, the thought of doing something with Mrs. Smith sounded much more exciting. Being around her was a wonderful experience and I wanted to do as much with her as I could. "I would love to do something with you mommy, what do you have in mind? Anything you want."

"Anything?", Mrs. Smith said with a smile and grab my hand. "Come along with me then sweetie, I have another surprise for you." She led me into the spare bedroom again and told me to sit on the bed. She reached down and pull out a box from underneath the it.

"You're going to love this baby doll."

Part VI

Mrs. Smith opened up the box and started pulling from it, to my horror, more dolls. Only these were not just dolls, they were Barbie dolls that she had gotten for Lisa who refused to play with them. "This is going to be fun." she squealed. "I've been dying to play dolls with one of my girls for a long time. We can dress them up and pretend to go shopping and all kinds of things. Doesn't that sound wonderful?"

I looked into her happy face and realize there was no way I could say "No" to her. So we sat on the bed and dressed the dolls up like they were going to a party. Then I drove them around the room in a Barbie car and when they got to the party we sat them in chairs and pretended like they were talking about the dresses and makeup and other things girls talk about. We even had them dance with a Ken doll.

This was the first and only time I enjoyed playing with a doll. I mean, I really had a good time and ended up getting into the game. This couldn't have happened if it hadn't been for Mrs. Smith, who seem to really be enjoying herself. During that hour we bonded just like a mother and daughter do under similar circumstances. It was a extremely special experience where I felt completely like her little girl. I was thinking, experiencing and enjoying my new role as her daughter.

After playing for a while Mrs. Smith said, "You must be uncomfortable in that dress Susan. Lets get you out of that dress and see how you look in some of your sisters other outfits. I agreed and we walked back into Lisa's room.

The rest of the outfits were uneventful compared to the first dress I wore except I did look good in most of them. In fact, I could have gone outside wearing any of them and everyone would have taken me for a girl.

First I tried on a short pink dress with puffed sleeves. Mrs. Smith had me take off the petticoat and gave me one of Lisa's pink slips to wear. Next I tried on a blue flower dress which we both thought made me looked beautiful. Mrs. Smith told me Lisa didn't like the dress and wouldn't even try it on.

There were a couple of skirt/blouse outfits that I tried on as well but I didn't look as good in them as I did in the dresses. Finally I tried on the red dress with the white ribbons which I (and Mrs. Smith) liked so much. It was meant for me. Mrs. Smith thought I looked so good wearing it that she took a few more pictures of me.

Up to this point it had been a pretty good day but there was one thing I was a little disappointed about. Mrs. Smith was a sharp dresser and I always admired the pretty dresses or sharp skirt and blouse outfits she wore. Today however, she had put on a pair of black pants and a white blouse, I guess in her haste to get back to me. I was a little disappointed she hadn't taken time to put on a dress or skirt and finally, I gather up the courage to say something about it

"Mommy, wouldn't you like to wear something different so we can both be dressed up?"

Mrs. Smith looked at me with her big blues eyes. "Why baby-doll, would you like me to wear something different then what I have on? Why didn't you tell me before? I guess I could if you want."

She disappeared into her bedroom and a few minutes later re-appeared wearing the same blouse but with a flowered skirt that came down to her knees. "How's this?", she asked as she twirled around. "Does it meet with your approval?" I had another outfit in mind (her wedding dress) but didn't want to push my luck and nodded an approval. She was a prettiest women in the world, no matter what she wore.

"Your clothes are so pretty." I told her. "I wish I could wear them."

Mrs. Smith giggle then said, "Why that can be arranged. I guess you have time to play "dress up" if you like." Before I had a chance to answer she grab my hand and pulled me into the bedroom.

"Lets see, what would you like to wear? Would you like to pick something out or do you want me to do it?" I told her to pick something out and she started shifting through her closet.

"Here are some things." as she pulled out several dresses and laid them on the bed. "You can pick out what you like. Now, let me get some other items for you." She walked over to her dresser and pulled out a blue slip, white bra and pair of dark pantyhose. She smile and laid them on the bed in front of me.

"Here you go baby-doll. Now, you can put these on over your dress or I can leave and you can change into them. What would you like me to do?" I decide to changed into her clothes but told Mrs. Smith it was alright for her to stay if she turn around.

My hands were shaking with anticipation as I picked up the bra. Knowing that Mrs. Smith had wore this same bra under her clothes made it much more exciting then just trying on one of my mothers. It felt so soft and smooth against my skin as I placed it over my chest. I grabbed some socks and stuff them into it to give me a figure more like what Mrs. Smiths had.

Next I picked up her slip which was very lacy and felt so silky in my hands. As I slid it down my body I felt a cold chill and shivered with excitement. The slip was big on me of course and while it didn't come close to Mrs. Smiths knees when she wore it, it ended up going all the way down to my feet. Putting the pantyhose on was also a new experience but I somehow managed to do it without getting a run in them.

From the pile I selected a blue and white flowered dress with a broad white collar and belt around the waist. I didn't even bother unzipping it as I was able to pull it right over my head. Mrs. Smith looked so stylish in this outfit and I dreamed it would have the same effect on me. I told her I was ready and she could turn around.

"Oh Susan!", Mrs. Smith said with a giggle. "You look so cute in my dress." She held one hand to her mouth and giggled again. "Take a look at yourself honey in the mirror."

I would "love to say" I looked as pretty and as snappy as Mrs. Smith did in the outfit. The truth is, I looked more like a clown or better yet, a little girl playing dressup in her mothers clothes then the young lady I hoped I would see. But I didn't care, I was wearing the clothes of the women I was in love with. Everything was perfect.

Everything that is except for the outfit I wanted her to wear. Time was growing short and I became more determine to see her in it. But, instead of asking her directly to try it on I came up with a plan. Pointing to her wedding picture on the dresser I asked, "Is that you in that picture Mommy?"

"Yes it is baby."

"That dress looks so beautiful and you look so pretty in it. To bad you don't still have it so I could see it" I think she got the hint.

"Why thank you very much honey." Then she smiled real big and said, "Actually, I have it here in the closet. Would you like to see it?" I nodded yes and she pulled out a large white box from the top of the closet. Carefully she open it up and pulled from it a long, white wedding dress. The pictures didn't do it justice.

"Hold it up to you Mommy."

She did and I began to picture her wearing it. Now all I had to do was figure out what to say that would make her want to try it on. Just as I was getting ready to say something she spoke.

"You don't have to ask sugar, I know what you have in mind."

"You do?" I said a little surprised.

"Yes, I do." she grinned. "I can take a hint. And it's fine with me baby, you can try it on."

"Um, well um, what about you?" This was not what I had in mind although the idea didn't bother me.

"Oh, well if you want me help I don't mind baby as long as you don't care about standing in front of me in your slip." Her smiled got real big. "You will have to take off the dress you have on before you can get into my wedding gown you know."

I didn't argue with her, I was thrilled with idea of trying the dress on. I stepped out of the outfit I was wearing and before I even had a chance to think about what was going on Mrs. Smith slid the wedding dress over my head. All of the sudden I became lost in a sea of white silk.

"Put your arms in the sleeve baby." Mrs. Smith said. I found them and positioned my hands. "Good, here we go." All of the sudden my head popped out and I could see again. Mrs. Smith grabbed my hair and drop it over the back of the dress.

"Not bad sugar, not bad. Lets try the veil." She pulled the veil out of another box and position it on my head. "One more thing, lets put some red lipstick on to highlight your lips". She applied it with care and stood back to look at me

"Oh my oh my." she said with a giggle in her voice. "My little babies a bride! And so cute too. Try walking down the hallway Susan to the rhythm of this song. Dum, dum dumdum, dum, dum, dumdum." as she hum the theme to the wedding march.

The dress was too big and heavy for me to walk in with most of it laying on the floor so I scooped the skirt up with both hands. Even then a good portion of the dress still dragged on the floor making it difficult to walk in. Mrs. Smith just smiled and said, "I guess you need a few more years to grow into it."

She checked her watch and said. "It's getting late but I have one more outfit I want you to try on before you take your bath. She walked over to the makeup table and from a drawer pulled out one of her silky white nightgowns with a matching lacy robe.

Mrs. Smith stared at me for a moment and her voice got serious. "With every wedding there is a wedding night Susan. It's a special time which you always remember. Here, take this.", as she handed me the nightgown. "This is my favorite nightie sugar. It was the first one I wore after I was married. It's very special to me and now I want you to put it on. Are you okay with that?" I shook my head, not fully understanding what she was trying to tell me.

Mrs. Smith unzipped the gown and I stepped out of it. Then she turned around and I took off the slip and pantyhose and put the nightgown and robe on. After I was done she turned back and a new look appeared in her eyes. It was a strange look, one that took me back a little.

"I have a surprise that I'm going to give you." she said. "I know you are going to like it."

You mean? No, not sex. She was after all old enough to be my mother although that wouldn't have mattered, if I knew what sex was. Remember, back in my days I would have been too young to be taught about stuff like that.

She was referring to another form of pleasure although sometimes I do wonder if she had thoughts of something more. Her actions towards me later on indicated to me that she felt guilty about something. Was it because she had enjoyed dressing me up as a little girl or something else? I will never know.

Mrs. Smith led me over to her bed and pulled back the sheets. "Lay down baby." I did as I was told and then she pulled the sheets back over me.

"Okay baby, don't be embarrassed, I understand what you need to do" I had "No" idea what she was talking about but sense this was not a good time to ask so I just nodded. She handed me another one of her silky nightgowns.

"Once you are done just place the panties, bra and nightie in the hamper and put my other robe on. Then go to the bathroom and take a bath." She pulled down the shade and turned off the lights.

Mrs. Smith turned towards me one more time. "Sweet dreams Susan... and enjoy yourself." She closed the door and left me alone in the dark.

Remember I hadn't reached puberty so that aspect in my life hadn't come into play yet. I did however lay in her bed and caressed myself with her nightgown. The nightgown I was wearing was big on me and everytime I moved or caress it with the other nightgown strange, new sensations and waves of excitement drove through my body. Who knows what could have happen if I had more time alone, although I kind of doubt it. I will add that this is the reason why I enjoy wearing nightgowns that feel big on me. It takes me back to that day.

After about half an hour Mrs. Smith knocked on the door and told me it was time I took a bath. I got out of the bed and changed into a robe she had worn earlier. It was soft and smelled so good, just like her. I walked into the bathroom where Mrs. Smith had the water ready for me and spent the next 20 minutes in the tub washing off the perfume and makeup. My clothes were sitting on the toilet so I dried myself off with a towel and got into them. How different they felt on me now.

Mrs. Smith was sitting in her rocker sewing her on quilt as I walked in the living room. There was a strange, almost awkward present in the room. She smiled at me and said, "Hi Jeff. I see your mother is home so I guess you can go now." She returned back to her sewing.

I open the door and said to her, "I won't forget what you did Mrs. Smith. I had fun."

"I know won't forget Jeff. Neither will I." There was sadness in the way she said it which I never understood until 25 years later. Things would never be the same between us again.

I closed the front door behind me and headed home. Little did I realize that this would be the last time I would talk to Mrs. Smith in private. The next day I found out Mr. Smith had gotten a new job and they were moving out of state. My heart broke, I needed her more then ever now.

Three weeks later the Smith's moved and it was the last time I would see and talk to Mrs. Smith again. How strange that the people you care about seem to leave your life when you need them the most. At least in my life it always seem to be that way. I knew there would never be another replacement in my life for Mrs. Smith. Only others.

Epilog -- 25 years later.

My mother kept in touch with Mrs. Smith but not too closely. It usually amounted to a Christmas card each year with a letter telling us how everyone was doing. I wrote Lisa a few times and even planned on visiting her but it never worked out. After a year we both developed other interest and our friendship faded.

I always asked Lisa about her mom but never wrote to her directly. I guess I could have called Mrs. Smith when I had gotten older and left home but for what purpose? Too much time had passed and I didn't know how she would react to getting a phone call from me out of the blue. It wasn't the right thing to do so I didn't call.

Mrs. Smith did have another daughter who she named Cindy, not Susanna. I don't know why she didn't call her Susanna, perhaps it was out of guilt for that day we spent together and she didn't want to be reminded of it. I still would rather believe it was because of the special bond we had and she still thought of me as her daughter. Naming the new baby Susanna would have replaced her memory of me.

I never met Cindy and have very little information on what she was like growing up. I hope she was the daughter Mrs. Smith wanted. Lisa on the other hand got married and had two daughters of her own. She is almost as pretty as her mother but doesn't have her taste and style in clothing that her mom had. Still, it's hard not to see Lisa's mother in her everytime I visit.

Of course everytime I see the TV show "Home Improvement" I am reminded of her. The actor playing Jill Taylor looks, acts and talks so much like the Mrs. Smith I knew. I watch it all the time, not only because I like the show but to remind me of her

I remember the call. It was 7:30 in the morning and I was just getting ready to leave when the phone rang. It was my mother and she had some bad news, Mrs. Smith was dead. I stood there in shock, unwilling to believe that someone so sweet and who I loved so much could be gone. The accident had happen a month ago and my mother had just gotten a letter from Lisa telling her the bad news.

I called into work and told them I couldn't come in. As soon as I hung up the phone I started crying uncontrollably. I hadn't seen Mrs. Smith since she left 25 years ago and yet the loss I felt was just as painful as when my father died. Afterwards I calmed down enough that I got into my car and drove to where Lisa lived. When I got there Lisa filled me in on the details.

Mrs. Smith had been driving home from church when a drunk driver crossed the centerline on a curve and hit her head-on. They rushed her to the hospital where she died two hours later. The drunk driver had just gotten out of jail two weeks earlier after serving time for killing two other innocent people in another drunk driving accident. Worse, he had been arrested five more times for the same offense and was driving with a suspended licence. As he told the cop when they arrested him, he just didn't care about the other people he killed.

After the accident he got out of the car (almost completely un-injured) and ran away. One of the witnesses followed him to a nearby bar and called the police. When they arrived 10 minutes later the drunk driver claimed he had been at the bar for the past four hours and someone must had stolen his car. He couldn't, however, explain the cuts and bruises he had on his body.

Later, only after several people had id him, did he claimed Mrs. Smith had caused the accident and he had been too afraid to stay since he was driving without a licence. So he had made his way to the bar to calm down and think and in the process had gotten himself loaded. The court would later have to charge him only with vehicle manslaughter since there was no way to prove if and how drunk he was at the time the accident occurred. Lisa was still bitter about the accident and the drunk driver today.

We talked a little bit more and then Lisa did a funny thing. She asked if I could look at some pictures and tell her if I knew who this person was. I looked and was shocked. There was a picture of a blonde hair girl in a pink dress with white lace and bows holding a doll with a big smile on her face. She looked so happy.

"After my mother died I started going through some of her things and ran across these photos. The dresses she is wearing are mine but I have no idea who the girl is. I know it's not me and the pictures were taken at our old house so there is no way it can be Cindy. All it says on the back is Susanna Marie. This girl must have been important to my mom, she kept these pictures with her other important items that she used to look at all the time. Do you know her?"

I shook my head and looked at the other pictures. This was the first time I had seen them and knowing Mrs. Smith had kept them close to her made me feel peaceful. She hadn't forgotten about me.

I also kept staring at the happy face in the picture. This was only two years before my parents found out I was a crossdresser and turned my teenage years into a living hell. Yet for that one day I was allowed to be who I wanted to be and more important, accepted for it.

After my visit I picked up some flowers and drove to the cemetery. As stood over Mrs. Smith's grave in a pouring rain I told her "Thank you". I had failed to say that when I left that day and had always regretted it.

"I love you Mrs. Smith. Thank you for being there when I needed you. Thank you for accepting...." I broke out in tears, it was too painful. "I wish..", I started chocking and crying and couldn't go on.

Then I smelled something I hadn't smelled in years. It was Mrs. Smith perfume, and even in the pouring rain the smell was strong. I knew she was there and as crazy as it sounds, I felt her peace and love around me as if she was trying to comfort me. After a minute the smell disappeared. I laid the flowers on her grave and walked away. I too was at peace with what had happen.

She would always be a true love, despite the age difference and the fact that we had never gone to bed together. But then, that is what true love is all about. To think I had found out about such an important lesson so long ago and it had started out as child's play.