Friday, January 27, 2012

Channeling Mo - *Or my "I have finally lost it!" political rant!

All right. For a blog with so much activism going on in it, I rarely really crank up with a political rant or post. Tonight, however...
Meet Mo - pictured here to my left. Mo is the central character in a cartoon series by Alison Bechdel, graphic comic artist and author of the comic series Dykes to Watch Out For (which maybe found here in her Archives. Shameless plug aside ( I really, really LOVE Alison's work, seriously) her character Mo has this habit of going off on political rants in fury at the stupidity of the establishment. And I have been channeling Mo since last night. Settle in for a long post - with fireworks - that goes down several different but inter-connecting paths. Go get your popcorn.
It all started when we were listening to Dreamweaver's favorite alternative radio program Phoenix Rising and he brought up whats going on in the Georgia court system right now. Basically, there have been several attempts via the court system to establish that Barrack Obama is not eligible for re-election for President and to therefore exclude him from the ballot.

(Now. Caveats. Before I go another step with this post. Obama is not perfect. Neither is he Satan incarnate. This is not a blog post about Obama. This is a blog post about some frighteningly scary ignorant politcal maneuvering by persons or people that I am going to *TRY* my best not to use foul language about in the course of this post. I cannot promise to succeed. I have no problems with you, gentle reader if you are not for Obama. But seriously - whats going on here folks is insane. Be forewarned. I will seriously police comments on this post, something I have never done before. All honest opinion welcome, even if it differs from mine. If you're trolling, your comment will be removed - as in take off and nuke it from orbit removed - its the only way to be sure. We now return you to this post. I really am in a mood. Sorry folks.)

So, when I heard about this court case, I went and looked it up, wondering by what technicality they thought they had grounds for this case. OK, yes, I am naive. I'm cute, but naive. In the extreme. Remember - well, its never gone away, but - remember the whole "Birther" movement, wherein President Obama's birth certificate and citizenship came into question?
During the Democratic Party's 2008 presidential primaries, anonymous e-mails from supporters of Hillary Clinton surfaced that questioned Obama's citizenship in an attempt to revive Clinton's faltering primary election campaign. These and numerous other chain e-mails during the subsequent presidential election circulated false rumors about Obama's origin, religion and birth certificate.
Jim Geraghty of the conservative website National Review Online may have sparked further speculation on June 9, 2008, when he asked that Obama release his birth certificate. Geraghty wrote that releasing his birth certificate could debunk several false rumors circulating on the Internet, namely: that his middle name was originally Muhammad rather than Hussein; that his mother had originally named him "Barry" rather than "Barack"; and that Barack Obama, Sr. was not his biological father, as well as the rumor that Barack Obama was not a natural-born citizen.
In October 2009, anonymous e-mails circulated claiming that the Associated Press (AP) had reported Obama was "Kenyan-Born". The claims were based on an AP story that had appeared 5 years earlier in a Kenyan publication, The Standard. The rumor-checking website found that the headline and lead-in sentence describing Obama as born in Kenya and misspelling his first name had been added by the Kenyan newspaper; and did not appear in the story issued by the AP or in any other contemporary newspaper that picked up the AP story. And so the snowball rolled until it became an avalanche of rumor, counter rumor, debunking sites, "Birther" sites ("Birther" being the term for those who believe that President Obama was not born in the United States.) and endless conjecture.

Now, we - Dreamweaver and I have done some serious research on this. Every single rumor, photo-shopped foreign "birth certificate", fake news story and claim has been debunked. Over. And over. And over. And still the Birther movement will not die. Its worse than trying to stake vampires! This by the way affects me personally - my beloved Father, whom I have such a loving but tangled relationship with is a Birther. He loathes Obama and believes every negative rumor ever put out there. So this hits me very personally. My dad and I are at the point where we are very careful to talk about the weather and neutral subjects. Or at least I am, and try very hard to keep him off politics. Even he has been proceeding more gently with me on it. I think he knows on a certain level how painful it is for me to hear all this coming out of him, even if he doesn't understand why. And given how hard headed he is, that's saying something!

Scanned image of Barack Obama's
birth certificate released by
his presidential campaign in June 2008.
What this all leads up to is...when I checked on the news story about the court case in Georgia subpoenaing Obama regarding possible ineligibility, I - naively - was looking for something new, given that the Birther   stuff has been so incredibly discredited. I mean - President Obama released his birth certificate on June 12, 2008, responding to the rumors by posting  an image of Obama's birth certificate. As if it hadn't already been settled at the very beginning before any of this started by the rigorous back ground checks that occur when one seeks the office of President. Gah! So...what do I find when I go to check on the Georgia court case????

Oh yes...the Birthers are at it again. Did I mention I am naive? My jaw dropped. Here's the story -  a Georgia resident made the complaint, which is intended to keep Obama’s name off the state’s ballot in the March presidential primary. The reason - oh yes - the tired old thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory of President Obama not being a US citizen.  The kicker is the lawyer they retained to represent them...Orly Taitz. Oh. My. God. Orly Taitz is a Moldavian emigrant to the US who became a naturalized citizen in 1992. She has a law degree from Taft, and was admitted to practice law in California in December 2002. She also speaks five languages: English, Hebrew, Romanian, Russian and Spanish, as well has having a dental practice. So she obviously is intelligent. She also claims that she lost relatives in the Holocaust and that her grandmother witnessed the Kishinev pogrom.

None of which prevents her from being, insofar as I can tell, crazier than a bedbug, evidently.

Along with spear heading and leading the Birther movement, and claiming that President Obama is not a US citizen and a Radical Muslim (which is he is not - he is a Christian, albeit progressive and pluralist) she also claims such things as a number of homosexuals from Obama's former church have died mysteriously (which has what to do with what???), that a person who was cooperating with the FBI in connection with Obama's passport died mysteriously, "shot in the head" (didn't happen); that a Kenyan birth certificate with the name "Barack Obama" is authentic (and we're coming back to that one, in a moment folks!), that her life and
Orly Taitz
property has been threatened and vandalized by the government, that internment and labor camps are being built for "anti-Obama Dissidents" - they're not - and that Osama bin Laden was killed years ago, with his body kept on ice, and the announcement of his death was timed to divert attention from an upcoming court case she is litigating challenging Obama's citizenship - oh my aching head. Really? Seriously? She also has other theories such as a strain of bird flu deliberately developed to kill people, PayPal attacks, the deletion of her Wikipedia entry (which was right there when I went to look for it) , and Google's flagging her webpage as an attack site and suppressing search results for her name - which is a joke because she's all over the damn internet in all in, oh, about 713,000 results when I last checked. Its called a persecution complex at the least. And by all means - go look at her suppressed, flagged, non-existent Website, please. 

Anyway, she's the lawyer representing the case in Georgia. She's already tried this in Alabama, New Hampshire - both of which were thrown out by the way - as well as litigation for military personal who challenged orders implementing his voluntary deployment to Afghanistan because of his claim that Obama is not a legitimate president and thereby could not order his deployment. She has numerous other cases - all of which have been dismissed and thrown out, and she has been sanctioned and fined 20,000.00 dollars for for deliberate misconduct in court. 
Now, remember the "Kenyan Birth Certificate" I said we'd get back to? Here's the icing on the cake. In 2009 Orly presented a photograph of Barrack Obama's Kenyan Birth Certificate.


This turned out to be a proven forgery of an Australian man's certificate of birth posted on an ancestry research site that was lifted and photo-shopped. It had so many glaring errors on it that it boggles the mind that anyone could take it seriously or think they could prove it genuine - errors such as incorrect ages, questionable birth locale, and unbelievably and most glaringly, the use of the term "Republic of Kenya", when actually at the alleged date of issue on this document, it was actually known as the "Dominion of Kenya" on official documents. Orly Taitz is too smart - one would think - to weaken her position as champion of the Birthers by attempting to present such a weak forgery, particularly when a few minutes of research would have turned up the discrepancies before attempting to go public with it. Evidently intelligence was not enough to prevent out right idiocy on this one. 

Now, having pretty much - I sincerely hope - proven my point on Ms. Taitz, which is that she's approaching delusional in this mess and should not be taken seriously....

Here's where my jaw hit the floor last night and put me into a serious rage. So, we were listening to the radio show last night, found out that Orly Taitz is at it again in Georgia...attempting to legally keep President Obama off the ballot for re-election, and attempts to subpoena him...AND THE JUDGE UPHELD THE SUBPOENA AND ENFORCED IT. 
A lawyer representing President Obama's interests submitted a letter - they probably have a form letter file a mile long by now to deal with Orly - stating that Obama's legitimacy has been clearly proven legally at the highest level, and they would not be responding to this nuisance case, etc. And the Judge upheld the subpoena ruling anyway and filed for Taitz and crew! 

What. The. Hell?!?!

Phoenix, our radio dude went on to point out to his listeners that this could seriously become major trouble, because just as obviously as the President cannot respond to nuisance lawsuits, particularly ones that have about as much legal precedence as a snowball in hell, if the judge upheld the plaintiffs side, it becomes a Civil Rights/States Rights issue and the rallying cry from that could become very ugly indeed. At the very least, if it truly carried all the way through, it would set a precedence of excluding President Obama from the ballot which would spread from state to state in the Deep South and that could result in the government stepping in, civil unrest and possible riot and mayhem. 

Pepper spray during Occupy Protest
Still with me here? Because we're about to take another turn down how my night went last night. Having heard the above, I became sincerely upset. Um...actually, in a furious rage to be honest. How dare such idiots play this kind of game with political due process in such a serious situation! You think I'm exaggerating? You think Phoenix is exaggerating? Remember, we've just seen the Occupy Movement get gassed, discredited and smashed into the bedrock by what amounts to brownshirt goons - you really think this could be an exaggeration? Let me go one step further. 

I was very upset last night about this whole thing. Sleep kind of went out the window, and I was sort of compulsively patrolling the internet chasing random searches on all this mess. So having thought about the States Rights thing, and gone chasing down several related posts to those things, I went and looked at THE main back history to the whole idea of States rights in America - The American Civil War of 1861–1865. Or as I grew up hearing it referred to - and I am NOT kidding - The War of Northern Aggression. 

Confederate Flag on t
he Capitol Grounds. 
I was raised in the deep South. I am by birth South Carolinian. I grew up with Rebel Battle Flags EVERYWHERE...including the one still flying on the capitol grounds today. I was taught that the Civil War was about STATES RIGHTS...that the Federal Government wanted to take away our freedoms, that slavery was not nearly as bad as it is fictionally portrayed (Really. I was taught that.), that freeing the slaves actually did them harm and that the war was never about slavery - that was just an issue introduced half way through as an emotional rallying cry. The phrase "The south will rise again" was not uncommon, Sherman's name is still hated here, and the phrase "damnyankee" was one word. And the Klu Klux Klan was just there to protect the women and children. All the classic cliches that you think could not be true about Southerners....well. They are. They were. That's what I grew up in and around the first half of my life. How in God's name I escaped being an emotionally blind bigoted bastard I will never know, but thanks be to God - and I MEAN that - somehow I did. I was taught to be proud my state fired the first shot that started the whole freaking blood bath. And it was a blood bath - that war produced about 1,030,000 casualties (3% of the population), including about 620,000 soldier deaths—two-thirds by disease. It accounted for roughly as many American deaths as all American deaths in other U.S. wars combined. Based on 1860 census figures, 8% of all white males in the United States aged 13 to 43 died in the Civil War, including 6% in the North and 18% in the South. (Don't know what the figures would be if other races and women and children were included in that.) 

Its funny how when you're sure of what you think you know, you never really dig in and look at it until something else knocks the blinders off. Now, I was already totally disgusted with the whole "slavery wasn't all that bad, and emancipation actually harmed the slaves" thing...Naive I may be - Stupid I am not. But I did believe that the Civil war was about States Rights, and the evils of the Federal Government.  Its what I was taught in school and at home and at church and rubbed off on me at social gatherings. What else was I to know, when that was all I had ever been taught. Until last night, sore and angry and worried about my country's troubles at the hands of some crack pots and conspiracy theorists, I turned and did some true unbiased digging for the first time ever about the whole States Rights "movement" that arose out of the Civil War.
Rare 1863
photograph of a slave 
Oh, yes, it was about States Rights alright. The right to own slaves and continue the furtherance of slave ownership into newly opened territories of America after slavery had already been declared illegal everywhere except the specific slave states and the actual slave trade coming over seas had been criminalized. And for THIS my ancestors rose and fought one of the bitterest, most brutal wars ever, brother against brother, that generated the hatred, prejudices and resentments that still burn today in the deep south...for the right to own and enslave their fellow human beings. And because of this cultural myth that still is alive and well today - that the Federal Government is out to "get us" Southerners - we're primed for it already. Armed conflict and rebellion is romanticized in the name of that lie still. And when this legal circus that is being driven by the Birther's disproven fraudulent claims  to exclude Obama from the Presidential ballot in the states gets tossed out and quashed like it should be...its not impossible that civil unrest and blood could erupt in the streets.

Oh yes. If this Birther movement to exclude Obama from the ballot continues, with the Occupy debacle behind us - and the Occupy movement will be cranking back up when warm weather gets here, is my bet - it could well explode. I am not being paranoid. You saw the news this summer with the Occupiers being beaten, dragged off, pepper sprayed and gassed. We're poised over the edge. And the Deep South is where this will erupt if it does and we're living smack in the middle of it. God help us.

I guess the final reason for my severe rage was that every single conspiracy theory, crack pot claim, and bitter foul lie about President Obama that Orly Taitz is pushing or has created, I've heard from my father's lips as gospel truth. And he knows, despite my care not to start anything or even get involved in any political discussion with him, he knows that I disagree with him on this subject. And he thinks I am blind to reality and that he knows it all. It hurts. Orly Taitz's single handed insanity has brainwashed my dad into twisted knots of conspiracy theories and hatred and there is nothing I can do about it. Not one thing. I asked my dad what he thought, the day President Obama's birth certificate was released, and he said as far as he was concerned it was a fake, the man was no US citizen, but a Kenyan born Muslim who should be run out of the country and that even if he held Obama's birth certificate in his hand, he still wouldn't believe it, period. And this is why, perhaps I am so blazing mad. These lies have come close to destroying my relationship with my father, and have twisted what should be golden years for him into something filled with fear and hate because he is afraid of change and its easier to hate than think. It breaks my heart and has made me angrier than anything has in a long time. I am trying not to misuse that anger and succumb to hate myself. So I'm venting about it, and trying to wrestle with it and win through to being better than this.

Two final points. Orly Taitz is working on running for Senator for the state of California. Oh no. Hell no! Please God, no. She has to be un-electable. Unfortunately, her being born somewhere other than the USA doesn't preclude her from holding any office except the presidency. How ironic.

Secondly, today in court instead of tossing out the case in Georgia, the court stunningly refused to rule, meaning he did not toss them out on their asses - yet. Instead,they are to present their evidence, and he will make a ruling by February 5th, and where this will lead next, who knows. Hopefully he will toss it out. We'll see. I can't imagine he wouldn't. Here's hoping.

These are my honest thoughts. Perhaps venting here will give me the ability to see clearly and not be so blind furious. Perhaps the future will be better than my fears, will instead, be the future of my hopes. Such are my prayers this night.
May God give us grace. All of us.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King Jr. - the Force of the Soul

I Have a Dream is the 17-minute public speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered on August 28, 1963, in which he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination. The speech, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a defining moment of theAmerican Civil Rights Movement. Delivered to over 200,000 civil rights supporters, the speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address. According to U.S. Representative John Lewis, who also spoke that day as the President of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, "Dr. King had the power, the ability, and the capacity to transform those steps on the Lincoln Memorial into a monumental area that will forever be recognized. By speaking the way he did, he educated, he inspired, he informed not just the people there, but people throughout America and unborn generations."

Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering "I Have a Dream"
at the 1963 Washington D.C. Civil Rights March.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Wonderful Weekend....

This past weekend, Jan. 6th through the 9th, we took off for our yearly music convention in Atlanta GA. There have been 14 GAFilks, since their inception in 1998 and I have attended all but one of them. I met my beloved partner, best friend and wife - Dreamweaver - for the first time ever at the first GAFilk Convention. A brief definition of "Filk"must now occur -  filk is a form of music about science fiction and fantasy subjects created from within science fiction and fantasy fandom, often performed late at night by fans sitting in a rough circle and singing or playing instruments at science fiction conventions, though there are now dedicated filk conventions. Its been around for fifty years at least and the word filking arose as a typo of the word "folk" music in a convention memo. What makes it hard to define is that the songs are not all about Sci-Fi/Fantasy subjects, and may reference things like cats, computers, personal faith, space flight, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Sometimes real folk music gets performed even. The phrase is "Filk is what Filkers do." thereby encompassing a universe of creativity and connections. 

Last Friday we were off to the Filk, and were pulling into Atlanta at about 4:00 PM

Rolling into and through Atlanta....

(And since I was driving - NO, I did not take these pictures.)

And this is the view from the 11th floor hotel room we checked into...
Rob, our master of ceremonies...
 Having arrived and checked in, we were downstairs for what has become the tradition of the GAFilk Convention - a New Years celebration and countdown. By virtue of always falling on the second weekend of January, GAFilk is the first filk convention of the year, and possibly the first convention in the Scifi/Fantasy Genre, period, of the New Year, too. So there is a countdown, and champagne and sparkling cider and we begin the Con by singing Auld Lang Syne...ALL the verses, including the unpronounceable Scots dialect ones.
There is a great deal of socializing and hugs and joy as over a hundred people see their best filking friends they only get to see once a year, or happily make first time attendees feel welcome and honored too.

Welcome in a new year of Filking! 

At which point, afterwards the singing begins in
earnest in the first open filk of the con.
 The next day as I came down to the con, I encountered the snake! One of our long-time members has a snake who's been going to the con about as long as I have - a Ball Python named Spot. This however, was not Spot...Spot has a new traveling companion, a much younger and smaller ball python named Saffron...I immediately went to meet the new snake, and got to hold him while his owner visited elsewhere in the filk room.

Me and Saffron, the Ball Python....

Saffron and I visiting - we both dozed a bit for a bit...
I wish at this point to add a wonderful thing that happened. As you see in the picture above, my convention name tag says "Cameron". While Cameron is one of my actual legal names, it is not the uber feminine one I grew up being known by. As I have worked through being a female to male transgender and considering transitioning. I have been using the name Cameron more and more and  it is probably the name I will use as a man, post transition. So, all of these good people I have been attending this convention with for 14 something years all did a double take and said - one by one - " 'Cameron'? Whats up with that?" My answer was to say well there's a long version and a short version answer to that, and the short version is I am a female to male transgender and Cameron is the name I am using as a man."
And without exception, the answer was "Oh cool! OK...Cameron it is." Oh my - what a wonderful group of people - no judgement, total acceptance, no problem! Only one person wanted to ask some questions - and their main point was, "Are you happy?" And when I said yes, they said that was all that mattered! Fandom is a wonderful community of people! 

So, our second day of the convention went on filled with much good music and friendship and are some pictures...
Cat Faber, formerly of the group Echoes Children - she is amazing!

This was the double shot - the sign up for anyone
who wanted to sing two songs back to back...I've done double shots
before myself - but not this year...

Elise Matheson - the Super Secret guest for this year's GAFilk

Brenda Sutton of the group Three Wyrd Sisters in the open filking.

More open Filk...

Elise again - she was wonderful and funny and a very talented blog writer
jewelry artist, singer and story teller - a woman of many talents. 

Open filk at night after the banquet  - this is where we all sit and sing
till the break of day in a Filker's bardic ring! 

Open filk...

Open Filk....

Brenda Sutton performing again...

Bill Sutton, Brenda's husband, who is equally,
amazingly talented...

Mac Carson performing his signature song
"Brother Michael" which gets requested every year!

My was good to be playing again - I've been out of practice
due to school, but by Sunday morning,
I felt like I was back and able to play...

Fiber Geek and Dreamweaver - they have been best friends
since before Dreamweaver and I ever met and
their friendship is utterly precious!
I love them both and I am honored to be in their lives! 

Sunset from our hotel room on Saturday night....

And then...there are the elephants!These are our two elephants who travel with  us - Bronte and  Gabe.
We think they did a lot of filking we didn't know about after we went to sleep.
Turns out Cat Faber travels with elephants too - so they all got to wave at each other. 
 So after a wonderful glorious weekend...the Con came to an end - which always makes us sad...

Closing ceremonies where guests receive hats. 

And Brenda leads the final song, "Strangers No More We Sing" (that she wrote)
which none of us can sing without crying, because it's beautiful,
it perfectly expresses what the con is all about
...and when we sing it, it means the con is over. 
So, the Convention, GAFilk 14 is over. *sigh* Of course, you *KNOW* what this means....don't you? 

We're gonna sing some more! 
That's right - for those who do not have to leave on Sunday and can stay over til Monday, the convention rooms are still ours for one more night, and the Dead Dog Filk begins! And we sing right into the night again!!!! This year, Dreamweaver and I were able to stay for the first time ever through Monday and it was a very good thing we did because the Dead Dog Filk was magical - most of the "professionals" were still there, and brought their instruments back out and some of the most powerful, beautiful music I've ever heard at a GAFilk convention was played that night! And it wasn't just the "Pro's" - everyone still there, including us amateurs were in it - singing, sharing songs, harmonizing, jumping in and playing along. It was the best night of the convention for us!

Some of the incredible music we heard at the Dead Dog Filk....

Which just kept getting better and better....

And better!!!! 

FiberGeek and her grandson listening to the music!
We finally gave up and packed it in and went to bed all tired and happy, remembering of course that we had a drive back in the morning  Our Godson, Fiber Geek's grandson was a perfect example to us of how to end the con - of course, he has two speeds - full tilt boogie and crashed out sound asleep. 

Our God-son...the Next Generation of Filk!

And then we packed up, packed out and said our farewells to our friends with many, many hugs (and some tears!) and drove home after four days of wonderful music and friendship! It must be said that we came home to a house in perfect shape and our animals calm, well cared for and happy to see us, due to the efforts of our friend Miles who took over animal sitting our brood while we were gone. And having our furbabies calm and happy and well cared for - we can give no higher praise to our friend! He made the trip possible!
The only, single complaint I had about the whole weekend was (of course) that the hotel bed was evidently a stack of cinder blocks cunningly disguised as a bed with sheets and blankets! Ugh - I was so glad to get home to my nice warm water bed with my cats! And my kitten Thor - the kitten without fear, as Miles calls him - was glad to see me too! 

Thor asleep on my chest the night we got home - purring away!
He and I were so glad to see each other! 
So GAFilk is done for the year - we have the memories of good friends, good fun, great music and the knowledge that this time next year, we will once more head out - off to the filk! 

Strangers No More

Copyright ©1987 by Brenda Sinclair Sutton- All Rights Reserved

Plans are made, pennies pinched,
Time goes creeping by,
Bags and instruments are packed,
Our bosses shake their heads and sigh.
We're going for a weekend,
We'll drive or fly or crawl
To the oddest burgs and ballrooms
Where we answer to the call (of)

One voice singing, one hand strumming,
Slowly building note by note there starts a quiet humming,
Lyrics brush the memory, somebody starts a drone,
The basses fill the bottom in, there sounds a baritone.
Layer upon layer swells with alto and contralto,
The melody enhanced by soaring tenor and soprano.
Strangers no more we sing, and sing, and sing, and sing!
Strangers no more we sing, and sing, and sing, and sing!

She drives a truck, he computes
That one teaches school.
The only rule among us is, "There really are no rules."
Some like ose, some fantasy,
Some science fiction strong.
The one thing that unites us is
Our love of harmony and song (with)


Some folks fit in easily, no matter where they are.
Others stand off from the rest and pin their hopes on stars.
We each spent some time drifting in a crowded world, alone
But now we pack our bags and songs,
And skip off to our monthly home (where)

Strangers no more we sing, and sing, and sing, and sing!
Strangers no more we sing, and sing, and sing, and sing!

Well, it's been too long. How's your life?
A kiss, a hug, a back gets rubbed
By one of every five I see.
You read my shirt. I read your badge.
We sit and trade a song.
I may not know you Friday night,
But we're good friends when Sunday's gone (with)

Chorus twice.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Day, 2012 - Transitions and Changes....

This New Year's Day,2012, will begin the third year that I've been "Out" on this blog as transgender - FTM - Female to Male. There have been some changes since I made that post in July of 2009, some of them that are pretty significant. I went back and re-read that post, "Pardon Me, Your Umbrella is Leaking", and the changes are leaping out at me. I am the kind of person who has come to understand that changes are always with us, that change should be expected, that (in the words of Kiya Heartwood of the music group Wishing Chair) "...the only gospel that I know is things are gonna change." 

Otherwise, after re-reading what I wrote back then, now would be the perfect occasion for eating crow. 

Mostly, I stand by what I wrote in that blog post. Its still very relevant, and very important. Nor do I feel the need to go back and edit it. The thoughts I had back then were where I stood at the time, at the beginning of figuring out somethings that were of absolute, ultimate importance in my life. I don't need to change the past to acknowledge the present. But I do need, I think, to revisit it in order to see the nature of those changes and what they mean in terms of where I am now. 

The change in perspective comes, of course, at the end of the blog, where I make a very definitive statement that "...since I am already sure that transitioning is not the answer for me...". That has changed and is changing daily. I'm pretty sure I will be physically transitioning to male at this point. I have a lot of thoughts and questions still, that I intend to spend some serious time on, before I take such drastic step. But I am of an entirely different mind here on this, than when I wrote that blog post several years back. And I want to stop and think out loud here about it for a bit.  

I think one of the factors that influenced the "I am not going to transition" stance I took was fear, pure and simple - fear of a number of things. The first part of that fear was that I was at the very beginning of acknowledging something that had been in existence for me my entire life - something that I had never had words for. "Tomboy" covered it fairly well when I was a child, mostly...until that became socially unacceptable when I moved into my teens. At that point I was expected to stop being such a "boy" and grow up and be a young lady. Not to put too fine a point on that, it was hell. I wrote in that first blog post that I felt that for the first part of my life that my culture and society denied "what I am by making me try to present as a feminine heterosexual woman (and I did try, people, for 36 years of my life I tried!)". There is close to half a lifetime of serious, real pain behind those words. Of a daily effort that deep inside, I loathed every minute, and trying to do so made me loathe myself. So, at age 36, when I came "Out" as a lesbian - a butch one - that seemed to settle me into a comfortable identity, a place where I could be me. It fit, supposedly. Only, it didn't. Not totally. There was still this sense of missing a step, that jarring sense of "not quite". I still did not have the language, the words, the necessary information to make sense of just why things still didn't work in my life. Oh, I was happy enough, much happier than I ever was attempting to fit the "binary heteronormative" mode of being a woman. And yet...I still wasn't there, wasn't at home within myself. I knew there was still something more that was not right, even if it remained a vague unease, a discomfort that would not pass and grew more profound as time went on. So, when I made that final realization, with the sound of a key turning in a lock, that I was transgender, it was a pretty terrifying place to be. I had to take every assumption I'd ever had (again) and re-think everything I ever thought I knew (AGAIN!) and start all over. How many times have I had to do this? Far too many - and it never ever gets any easier. Stating then that I was just never going to transition was a safer place to stand, when starting out to contemplate the complete change of everything I ever thought I knew - and then tearing it all down. 

The second part of that fear was for my relationship with my partner - my wife, Dreamweaver. And for her, as well. This is not a journey I am on alone. She is very much hostage to any decision I would ever make about this and she has had her own journey thus far. She too, started out in a fearful place. She has had a lifetime of dealing with men who have been abusers and who have damaged her and scarred her - she had found a very safe haven in being with a woman, in her lesbian identity, in feeling safe and secure in our love. And oh, gee, whoops, um...I'm a guy? Oh no, no, no. Talk about my world going upside down? This totally blew her's apart! And the track record of relationships surviving one partner transitioning is very poor - most of the time they break up. The idea of this fundamental shift tearing Dreamweaver and myself apart was perhaps the most terrifying fear I've ever had. And she felt it too, perhaps worse than I did. We didn't have one identity crisis - we had two. Mine - and hers. 

Its a very understandable, gut wrenching fear - for both of us. But I should have trusted us. I should have trusted her. She has walked every step of this journey, mine and hers, right next to me. And she has made it very clear that she's with me to the end of my days, irregardless of who or what I am. She has managed to work her way from moments of being horrified over the changes this forced upon her, to utterly supporting my need to transition, and that is a distance of near infinity to walk for her. And she has done so with immense amazing courage. Not, of course, that its all resolved and just fine now...I suspect that we have many more twists and turns on this road of transformation together, and a lot of them will be very, very hard. But I trust her. I trust us. Whatever the future, I know that I can trust that there will be an "us" that will last til death do us part - and beyond, if God or the Gods are kind. 

And of course, there is the fear of societal judgement, by friends and family - all too often these kinds of life altering decisions result in the loss of friends and family. One of the things that others have said to me, is of course, the classic "If they can't accept you as you are and love you no matter what, then they weren't your friend, anyway." There is a bitter measure of truth in this. But there is also something missing in that statement too. We are all interconnected in our web of relationships and big changes cause growing pains on both sides. I have written here many times of my strained relationship with my father, 84 years of age, who simply cannot ever accept me being gay or transgendered. It doesn't mean he doesn't love me, or that he should be callously dismissed as not being a worthy parent or friend. It does mean that I have to think about where he comes from, his back ground, his era growing up, his paradigms and how the world that was then, formed and shaped him. That I have to realize that he is what he is, and that any ability to shift and change that radically in his thinking is truly beyond him, because of who and what he is. And my coming Out to him as either gay or transgender, would tear his world apart. My being gay identified is something that he and I can just barely manage in the most all out case of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" you've ever seen. He ain't gonna ask, and I ain't gonna tell. And we go on loving each other. Love is not the problem. Or, perhaps the problem is that in his aging and his growing fears and cantankerousness as a man in the end of his life, his love is deep and profound...and conditional. He never has been capable of "unconditional love". Only the profoundly good boundaries and caution we have always maintained of our differences have carried us this far.

But as a transitioned FtM???? Dad would be face to face with changes in me that no amount of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" could ever cover. Testosterone produces profound changes - my face structure will shift subtly, my voice will drop permanently to a male register, I will more then likely grow a beard, I will put on muscle, "top surgery" will configure my chest and upper body structure to short, he would be irrevocably faced with the fact that his "daughter" is actually his son. And the fifty years of relationship that I have built with him give me no hope that he has the ability, the mental flexibility to make that shift. He's just not wired for it. Terrifying? You bet! Terrifying enough, that in initially realizing that I am a transgendered man, that my first reaction would be "There's just no way I could ever transition."

The final point of hesitation, that made me go, "Transitioning is not my path" is the fear of some of those above mentioned changes. Testosterone changes more than the outside physical appearance. It changes everything - mood shifts, how one processes emotion, how one thinks. I'm still wrestling that one. Would I still be "me" when it is over? What would that metaphysical place of "I" be, afterwards. Would I still be who and what I am now - and make no mistake, as much as I hate this body I'm in, there are parts of me I value profoundly, and fear and wonder how they would change, on this journey. That, I am still wrestling with, make no mistake. I'll have to get back to you on that one!

So...what has shifted or changed, that in a matter of a few years, I have moved from "never going to transition" to "yes, I will eventually transition". I don't know if its a case of I've "changed", I think its more of a case of that pressure that I have always carried within me of not being right, of not being who and what I am suppose to be having now found its definition, its voice, its narrative, its self awareness and understanding. And its like once that door is opened, there is no going back.

I mention in that first post back then that I avoid mirrors like the plague, especially full mirrors that force me to look and see the female body that I wear. Its more than that - FAR more then that, I just couldn't even begin to find the words for the complexity of it, for the full experience of it. If I don't think about it, my body persists in "feeling" male. Its like I walk within a ghostly form of a man, that the aspects of being female jar and grate on daily. I have good days and bad days. My menstrual cycle and recurring period are consistently among the bad days - really bad days. I loathe and hate my body with a passion during those weeks, furious with the constant obnoxious reminder that my body persists in being female - what an odd way to put it, I suppose. Maybe time will give me better words as I work this out.

 I despise my breasts, and dress to conceal and minimize them as much as possible. Binding them is the next step for a more complete presentation of being male and is something that so far I have grimly resisted - and Dreamweaver agrees with me on this. Because it feels like once I take that step and start binding, the uncontrollable avalanche will start - and once started, it will not be turned aside, and I'm not there yet. Showering is a nightmare. I'm a very clean person - I hate being dirty. But I also despise the utter forced, inescapable intimacy of being confronted with my naked female body when I shower. It totally blows any ability to see or feel anything but the agonizing dichotomy of being a man, and still having to touch and clean and totally, bitterly, unwillingly acknowledge that the form and shape I wear are wrong!

I have days where I am mostly OK. The bathroom mirror shows only my face. I can avoid looking down at myself as I dress or undress, and the moment passes...and then I'll have days, sometimes for no obvious reason, where it doesn't matter what I wear, or what I do, I want to violently claw my own body off me - its not mine! And in those minutes I utterly hate it. I understand what sometimes drives some transgenders to cutting as a release valve for these feelings of utter alienation from their bodies...I've never done it, but oh, I can see the temptation of it, the need for it, the release of it! My voice doesn't sound right to me when I speak. And my utter fury of being constantly, instantly interpreted as a "woman" by everyone I meet and therefore instantly in their minds processed into a certain role, a certain "thing" that they may treat in certain ways is a daily agony. It doesn't matter that I'm dressing in every way possible I can to signal Male, man, masculine...hellooooo? Don't you people get it?!? I am not allowed the right to define my own self, to be what I am unless I totally transform everything, utterly and permanently into something they can perceive on a shallow surface level based on their brainless cultural programming.

Oh, yes. Its become very painfully obvious, day by day, struggle by struggle, that I will eventually be transitioning. Why not now? Why not just go ahead and go for it? Oh, there are several good, and probably the make or break one, is very simple. Money. Transitioning is not cheap. And we are in that lovely euphemistic place of being  the "working poor", stone broke and working paycheck to small art job, to student loan and hanging on grimly between, fighting for gas money and food and bills. It wouldn't matter how READY I am; I cannot afford it at this time. Not yet. Someday that will change, perhaps soon even, as we are working on changing that through painfully saved and invested funds.

Another point in this time frame is that we are planning on moving out of state, at some point, when I finish school. The logical point in time to seriously pursue transitioning is after that move, and it is not impossible that this may fall after my dad passes - not something, mind you, that I want to have happen, or even want to think about. But time is passing and he is showing signs of aging and slowing and I am afraid he and I are
moving into the end of his life and our time together. Which is an agonizing and horrible thought...and its is also a very guiltily liberating thought. But even beyond that, getting out of this area, steeped in conservative fundamentalism and narrow bigotry and homophobia is a very smart move in considering transitioning. Fear of physical danger is actually not high on my list - but I'd be a fool to not see its there either. Moving is also a ways off, both because of finishing school and because of money, again.

And the final point is, that despite this growing internal volcano of pressure, I still have a lot of questions that I want answers too, both mine and Dreamweaver's questions. And I intend, before I put the match to the gunpowder on this, to seek out a therapist with experience in working with transgender issues for both of us, and there will be some serious work done on issues of self, and relationship and what and how and why. And I am not just talking about snagging a therapist to sign the papers blindly to get me past the gatekeepers to get testosterone and surgery - I'm talking about doing real inner work and processing, so that when I take those steps, I will be doing so informed, centered and profoundly ready, secure that Dreamweaver and I will weather what is to come.

So, where my journey has taken me so far? First of all, acknowledge that wherever I am right now, change is inevitable. That what is true today, may undergo a strange and deep sea change in the journey of life and to not let what I firmly believe to be unchangeable throw me when it turns out that the opposite is true. Secondly, I know now that it is very likely that transitioning is going to be a step that I will take. That I am getting on top of my fears...and that, bad or good days not withstanding, I have the strength to do this a step at a time, and do it right. And I know that Dreamweaver is right there with me. And that together, she and I can weather anything.

I will close this with a precious moment that occurred a few months ago...I was getting dressed and grumping my way into my sports bra, that always painful moment of having to acknowledge that yes, these breasts are here, and I have to deal with them. And Dreamweaver, who the year before was horrified over "losing" her lesbian identity if I became a male, thus making her in the eyes of society a straight woman, looked at me all of a sudden and said, "Well, if they're not yours, you shouldn't have to wear them!" See why I love this woman?

She put her finger on it, right there. This body is not mine. And I don't have to spend the rest of my life caught between what I am not, and what I am, and society's judgement of it. This is where I am today. And I most certainly have more exploration and growth ahead, and more words to write as I seek to express what is going on inside of me.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, as the poem says...I left the divergence back there quite awhile ago...

...and the road I'm on is good.