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The days fly by, the waves roll in, but freedom has not come
I fear my faith will soon give out, my senses come undone
My role is played, the demon dogs come stealin' o'er land
And foolish I would climb once more a tree too weak to stand
My hope in creating this collection is to spread understanding, but to get to that place requires wading through quite a bit of confusion.  I certainly don't expect that this will come easy.  If that were the case, I probably wouldn't need to assemble the pieces.  It's also getting quite personal, as I try to answer the question, "What does it mean to be transsexual?"  It has to, since I can only relate my own experience with any degree of confidence.

It also seems to be getting more detailed and will soon probably either move slowly or be posted less frequently, depending on how decide to proceed...

This is the eighth installment in a series.
Coming Out...Way Out

In the spring of 1992 I reached an impass in my life.  I could not survive as I was.  For all intents and purposes, there was no path forward for my life path to follow.  At times like these one can think dark thoughts.  It was good that I had visited with Death before, so I could stop and at least consider how my beliefs should inform my choices.  There was a saying we have that applied:  Go with the flow.  It's determining which way the flow is going that is the hard part.  If you fall into a fast-flowing river, trying to swim back to where you fell in can be deadly.  Better to conserve your strength while you let the river current carry you downstream to a safer exit point.  But you can only use this to save yourself if you know the direction of the current.

The way to survive was to jump into the river.  Schism.  Same place.  Same time.  Different point of view.  Different me.  One problem.  I had no doubt I was transsexual.  I knew what I was.  But I had no clue what that meant.  I had no idea how to proceed.  I had no hand to guide me.

Come down off your throne
And leave your body alone
Somebody must change
You are the reason
I've been waiting so long
Somebody holds the key
Well, I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time
Well, I'm wasted and I can't find my way home
My first thought was just to run.  Get out on the road and stick out my thumb.  I had only a vague idea of where I might go.  With no money to speak of, I probably would have chosen Los Angeles, if only because it would be warmer whether to be homeless in.  Homeless nothing new as a concept.  I had been homeless in the Haight.  But I didn't want to spoil any chance I had of ever working again in academia, so I went to speak to the assistant dean first.  My intention was to resign, effective with the end of the semester.  All I told him is that I was having personal problems.  He talked me out of resigning.  I imagine after I came out, he may have regretted doing that.  

I started by telling a few people, slowly and hesitantly.  My wife and her boyfriend.  The colleague I was most friends with (and through him his wife, a feminist with an anit-trans viewpoint).  Another colleague new to the campus who I thought would be sympathetic.  Some students:  a social fringe couple who had been my students and with whom I had become friendly, the brother and sister who were officers in the Lesbian and Gay Student Association on campus of which my daughter had been a founding member.  One of my daughter's lesbian friends from when she was a student at UCA, from whom I obtained invaluable assistance in finding a therapist and a doctor who would treat me.  Actually, the therapist she put me in contact with gave me the information about another therapist.  Both of them figure prominently in my narrative.  Build a support network, a person at a time.  Discard the former friends who are clearly not going to be a part of that network.

It's getting near dawn,
When lights close their tired eyes.
Physically, I had lost about 70 pounds in over a year, almost reaching the weight that I had been unable to get beneath when I rowed lightweight crew.  I shaved off my beard for the first time in decades.  I had my hair trimmed for the first time since I was interviewing for a position in grad school.  I started electrolysis.  I dressed androgynously.  I'm sure that more than a few people on campus suspected I was gay.

I hung out with some of my friends at the concert room of Juanita's in Little Rock with my new friends, where I met and came to appreciate the music of John Kilzer and two members of Rush.  I admit that I got stoned.  A lot.  Sometimes it was needed to get through the nights.  In the daytime I had school.  The classroom had always been my safe space.

Its cold on the shoulder
And you know we get a little older
every day
The time passed way to slowly.  I had told my wife that out of respect for her status as a student at the college, I would try to wait a year.  I tried to find amusements that would help the time pass.  I moved my office from the first to the second floors, ostensibly to have a smoking office, but mostly because I wanted some degree of separation.  But I couldn't do a year.  I barely made it past one month into the semester.

I made an appointment with the therapist, Kurt Wilhelm, in Little Rock for September 30, which in a grand bit of irony happened to be my father's birthday.  On that day I went to school and taught my classes.  I told the students in my Abstract Algebra class that class was cancelled for the afternoon but that they could stay if they wanted to hear something personal from me.  It was a Wednesday.  They had their first exam scheduled for the following Monday.  I had already distributed a study guide to them.  And now I told them that I was transsexual and would be starting transition right after class and that I didn't know if they would see me again on Friday.  I told them whatever happened, what they needed to do was study for the test, because that was the part that was about their lives.  I apologized to them for any interference with their lives the next few days was going to cause.  Then I walked to the Math Office, discovered that the Chair was not in his office at the time, left a coming out letter on his desk, and went to visit with Kurt.

See what a fool I've been
See what a fool I've been
I haven't lived my dream
The first thing I told Kurt was that I was transsexual (actually, "a transsexual" the time transsexual was a noon to me, .  There was no doubt about that.  What it meant was that I would need to see two therapists for a time before I could have surgery.  I told him that since I had to be there, we might as well put the time to good use working on my other problems.  Mostly he was the guy who was paid to listen to how my week went.  Kurt was a good listener.  Kurt was a Buddhist.  He was dying of AIDS.  After the session I returned home and waited for the other shoe to drop.
I wish I knew how it would feel to be free
I wish I could break all the chains holding me
I wish I could say all the things that I should say
say 'em loud, say 'em clear
for the whole round world to hear.
The shoe tumbled in slow motion.  Nothing happened for over a day.  I later learned that there had been a meeting about me.  Everyone on campus of importance who could possibly be involved in the situation was invited.  Except me, of course.  The shoe made a noise on Friday.  The Chair visited me in my office.  I'll never forget the first words out of his mouth:  "For the good of the team...".  Really.  A sports metaphor.  Great timing.  I went off on him:
    For the good of the team we didn't hire blacks in the 60s because some of the whites who worked here might have been white supremist.  For the good of the team we didn't hire women in the 70s because men thought it was an invasion of their space.  For the good of the team we still don't hire gays in the 80s...and still don't...because it offends some people's religious beliefs.  For the good of the damn team, it's time to start getting rid of the people who tell you that they won't or can't work for us.  It is their damn problem, not ours.

As you can tell, I was more than a little angry.  I was told that I would be responsible for informing all of my colleagues.  I took the cop out way:  I wrote and made copies of a general letter, informing everyone what they could expect, what name I would like to be called, etc.  I put them in mail boxes on Saturday.  I am given to understand I was a major topic of discussion at some of the churches in town.  By Monday there were copies at the desk of the editor of the local newspaper,  The Log Cabin Democrat (ironic, don't you think?).  By later that day there were copies in newsrooms all over the state.  By that afternoon I could have heard about myself on drive-time radio, if I had wanted to listen.  By later in the week I heard from people in almost all the states contiguous to Arkansas (all but Mississippi, I believe).  By the end of the month, I later discovered, one could read about it in the alternative newspapers in California and Washington, DC.

Right to privacy?  What is that exactly?

I was offered the "opportunity" to take the semester off.  I didn't accept it, because I was afraid that I might be accuse of not performing my duties.  I did accept having someone teach one of my classes, since I was owed that from the previous Spring, when I covered for another faculty member, who had episodic problems with John Barleycorn.  I dumped my largest class, one that was in a different building on campus.  I told them it was normally the case that I would have to wait two or three months before I started taking hormones.  The Chair (aka "Them") responded that in exchange they would like me to be evaluated by a psychiatrist.  Ever optimistic, I was persuaded that this would be necessary so that I could take a medical leave, with pay, when the time came to have surgery, sooner if necessary.  I said that I would find one to meet with, but was given a name and told that they would pay for him.

When I arrived to meet with the psychiatrist, I was asked to take a couple of computerized tests, one of which was the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Index.  I don't recall the other.  What would I rather do, play basketball or arrange flowers.  Stereotype much?  I met with the doctor and he looked at the test results.  Then he looked at me and then the results again.  He asked me a few questions. He looked at the results again and then took out a letter he had received from my employers.  I had told him why I thought I was seeing him.  He informed me that from the way that the letter was written, it was apparent that they believed that they had hired him to give medical justification for my termination.  But as far as he could see, I was sane.  He promised me that he would try to help them see the light.  Am I mentally capable of performing my duties, indeed?

During my next visit with Kurt, he gave me the name of a doctor who would be willing to monitor my hormone replacement therapy and general health concerns.  I was in business, as they say.  I was taking estrogen (Estrace) and a testosterone blocker (Aldactone) by the end of October.

Well the good old days may not return
And the rocks might melt, and the sea may burn
I'm learning to fly but I ain't got wings
Comin' down is the hardest thing.

Originally posted to Robyn's Perch on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 03:19 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There will be more... (27+ / 0-) the evening progresses.

    I'll be linking to some of the documents mentioned as I get them fixed up and placed into the comment section.  The story is as above, but putting the documentation here helps gather it together.

    Remember out there, if you ever find yourself in this situation, document everything, you never know when you might need to know exactly what happened, when and why.

    Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 11am EST

    by rserven on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 03:18:17 PM PDT

  •  Hell rserven, (14+ / 0-)

    I don't even own a closet.

    OTOH, I doubt I'll ever be as far out as you.

    In any case, here's a flower for your thread.

    •  Working for a state university... (8+ / 0-)

      ...was going to make it hard enough.  If I would have one word of support the administration, I think things would have been much better.  If they had been willing to tak to me, I would have explained that to them.

      Oh, well.  I'm much better now. ;-)

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 11am EST

      by rserven on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 03:31:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My guess is that some left brain professions (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        are more conservative than others that cater more to the right side which is an interesting irony.

        In the entertainment industry it seems like people got a blank check to be who whomever they wanted to be, back in the bronze age and to a lesser degree that probably applies to any profession involving
        right brain skills.

        Some of the places where I have worked you don't have to be female or transgendered to be accepted in a properly accessorized dress. There is a range of expression from effeminate to transvestite that can be openly GBTL among designers.

        I'm not sure but this probably applies to other industries as well.

        Live Free or Die (-8.88 -9.49) IMPEACH THEN TRY FOR WAR CRIMES

        by rktect on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 04:58:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I only know you through C and J (10+ / 0-)

    and think that you are just perfect the way you are. I thank you for allowing me into your struggles. You are very brave. You truly own who you are, most people can't say that.  Thank you.

    The war is not going as advertised.- John Murtha, -9.00,-7.59

    by Irish Patti on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 03:39:40 PM PDT

  •  September 30, 1992 (7+ / 0-)

    [Note:  As I look back, I notice that I would not use some of the phrasing in this letter if I were to write it today.  It reflects my lack of knowledge about and understanding about what it really means to be transsexual.  Hence it is rather full of cliches.  I didn't know any better.]

    Letter to the Chair:

    Dear Chuck:

    I'm writing this as a letter rather than speaking to you in person because it concerns a personal problem which is difficult for me to speak about to most people.  This problem has raised in my mind many peripheral problems, some of which have troubled me at work and caused my recent "attitude adjustment."  Since resolution of these problems and the original one will concern you in your position of chairman, I will try to explain.  Please read the entire letter before you react to it.

    I am sure that some, or perhaps many, of my colleagues have questioned my recent behavior.  I recently heard that Brenda, for instance, asked Peggy, "What's wrong with [name]?"  This question errs on perhaps two points.  The first concerns the word "wrong."  From my point of view, my life has been "wrong" for the last 33 years and has finally been getting corrected during the last nine months.  It has been unfortunate that this has occurred simultaneously with several different but ultimately related concerns (my concerns with what I perceive to be repression on campus, in Arkansas, and in American society, as well as what I perceive to be an undervaluing of my contributions to the department).

    The second has to do with the name [name],  a typically common, if not boring male appellation.  My problem with it is that I believe that I am, and believe that I was born, a transsexual. By this I mean that my mind is that of a female.  Since I was born with a male body, this has presented me with a very difficult row to hoe in life, and the lower middle class values of my "typical" 1950's American family upbringing caused me to try to deny this facet of myself for three‑quarters of my life, i.e. since that point in time when I was "informed" in no uncertain terms that I better "straighten up and fly right."  At that instant, a different personality was created.  Thus was born [name] as a foil to set against the world.  This personality crumbled into dust this past summer.  Dead. Gone.  I'm only left with me, and my social skills are at best rusty and at worst extremely stunted.  As you may have noticed, I tend to lack a degree of tact present in most of our colleagues.  The present state of affairs has left me angry, very angry, at the culture that has put me where I am, and I will continue to speak out in the future about my perceptions of the damaging aspects of this society.

    So, what am I going to do about the present situation?  The only solution I can conceive of is gender correction surgery.  This is what raises the peripheral problems.

    The first is of course a physical problem.  In order to be considered a candidate for the surgery, I must first go through a lot of therapy.  I am presently endeavoring to get this under way, but the choice of a therapist is of utmost importance.  The second step is generally the same and is one that concerns me, you, the rest of the department, the administration, and the students at UCA.  A male candidate for gender reassignment is usually required to live for a year as a woman.  I guess this is an effort to find out if we are truly serious about our decision, as if we hadn't really thought it out.  During this period, candidates usually begin taking hormones to change the configuration of the body.  After all, society tends to judge us by our appearance (If it walks like a duck, etc.).  As you might suppose, I foresee some problem with this "behavior" in my role as a teacher (by the way, it has been me, not [name], who has been teaching in class;  it has been my only outlet).  This is the reason that I have said I may not be here next year.  We transsexuals tend to be extremely unselfish in that we don't want people to be uneasy, to the extent that we usually ruin our own lives.  The reactions of my colleagues, employers, and students concerns me greatly, so I prefer not to place any burden on anyone's shoulders but my own.  Unfortunately, according to the faculty handbook, there does not seem to be a provision for taking a lengthy medical leave from this institution, only for taking academic leave.  This problem begs resolution.

    There is also a problem about the fact that I have tenure at this institution.  Again, I don't want to be here if I'm not wanted, but teaching is my life.  I'm not at all confident of obtaining employment elsewhere in a "new position" environment.  As far as I can discern, again from the faculty handbook, there is no reason the Administration will be able to supply that will support termination of my employment for cause.  I have done nothing outside of the privacy of my own home, and I doubt that I have done anything even there (but I'm not conversant with all laws of the state of Arkansas), that could constitute "grave personal misconduct."  But my pre‑ and post‑surgery existence will undoubtedly be the personification of pornography to some and blasphemy to others.  Some may even turn violence my way.  It has happened before.  Since I intend to continue in my career as a damn good teacher, I need to know the position of all concerned up front.  To protect myself, I'm meeting with a lawyer (Michael Murphy) tomorrow.  Since my sex cannot be used as a determining factor in my hiring or firing, I fail to see how the changing of my sex should affect my position.

    The third problem that arises is monetary.  Gender reassignment is generally not covered by insurance.  I sincerely don't believe this is fair, since the only alternative I have is suicide. (Yes, I have already considered it this year).  This points out the need for therapy obviously, but I truly can only see one future of any length.  To deny surgery to me using the two‑pronged attack that insurance companies usually follow (it is elective surgery, or if not, it is a pre‑existing condition) is to deny me a chance at life.  Since I have always only tried to have "enough" money, I don't know how to raise money sufficient to cover the expense involved (which is considerable).  The option of approaching my family is non‑existent since only my mother‑in‑ law has any money, and Becky will not ask it from her. The only option I can conceive of could possibly be solved by the administration's response to the previous paragraph.

    The final (as yet) problem that has arisen is emotional. Although Becky is vocally supportive of my decision, her actions belie her words.  She acts at every turn to try an isolate me in order to protect her own status in the university community.  We have had several (rather vicious) fights about this and our friendship will probably not last.  There will be times in the near future that I will not be in the best of even my current moods.  I would appreciate anything that you can do to deflect from me anything that does not bear directly on my teaching.

    Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 11am EST

    by rserven on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 03:43:43 PM PDT

  •  I appreciate your story (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lahdee, sobermom, sassy texan, rserven

    I think you are doing some of your best teaching now, and that it is very courageous to describe such a pivotal turn in your life story.  

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 04:23:19 PM PDT

    •  I used to cringe... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sassy texan

      ...when people said I was brave or courageous.  I couldn't see how what I was doing qualified as courageous.  One day I was given an alternate definition that I could accept.  One day I'll find it in this data mine I call my records.  Best as I can recall, it goes something like this:

      Brave is doing things that are so difficult that there is significant doubt about the chances of success to the best of your ability and with dignity when everyone is watching you.

      Well, the original was actually shorter than that, but that's what it meant.

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 11am EST

      by rserven on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 04:36:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  'for the team...' It seems like the team (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, sassy texan, rserven, esquimaux

    always requires the individual to give, in the interest of the team.  A winning team supports the other players, all the players.  Usually, in business, the guy who wants to talk about the team doesn't play anything except golf.  I admire that you came through all this and regret that ignorance of others made it more painful for you.  Also, I like your poems and art work, thank you.

    "From discord find harmony." Einstein

    by Friend of the court on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 04:28:28 PM PDT

    •  Better: (3+ / 0-)

      There is no I in cooperate.

      The "team-player" concept was invented by the good-old-boy class.  Often, it's all they really have going for them.

      I'm glad you like the poetry and art.  When I am writing prose, I can't write poetry or make art, so that's a bit of a problem.  To my way of thinking, this is a remnant of the facade.  The prose is the same skill I used to write my abstract algebra text.  The poetry and the art is part of the former inner me.  The person who communicates at DailyKos is the result of integrating the two.  It takes awhile.  That was 14 years ago. :-)

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 11am EST

      by rserven on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 04:45:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sassy texan, rserven, BeninSC

    really quite powerful.  I'm sorry that more people haven't commented.  I haven't seen the other workshop diaries, although I will go back and read them now, but this one is incredibly powerful.  Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.

    "For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, and the dream shall never die." Ted Kennedy

    by sobermom on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 04:31:29 PM PDT

    •  Thank you for saying so :-) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I don't write for the limelight or immediacy.  I'm a slow-blogger.  I build it a piece at a time, in front of everybody and don't care much when people read it as long as eventually they do. :-)

      In "real life" I do performance art occasionally (like, when anybody asks me to).  In a sense this creation is also performance art, just on a grander scale.

      I have plans that it will eventually in some version become an interactive CD allowing the user at hir leisure to follow threads of poetry, art, and prose that weave their way through all the material.

      The connections here show some of that.  The connection to Kurt Wilhem goes to my person blog Robyn's Perch, where I'm accumulating more of the old prose.

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 11am EST

      by rserven on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 04:57:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  October 3, 1992 (4+ / 0-)

    [Note:  As I look back, I notice that I would not use some of the phrasing in this letter if I were to write it today.  It reflects my lack of knowledge about and understanding about what it really means to be transsexual.  Hence it is rather full of cliches.  I didn't know any better.]

    Dear Colleague:

    Most of you have already noticed some major changes in my personality during the past year or so.  I have overheard comments from some sources that have been nothing more than poor guesses at my condition ("He's gay."  "He's crazy."  "He's got AIDS.")  I would like at this time to explain why this has occurred in my life and what will likely occur in the future.

    Nearly everyone knows or knows of someone that was born with a genetic disorder or defect.  It is my personal belief that I was born with one also, although the medical community really has no clue to what causes my disorder.  I suffer from "gender dysphoria:"  roughly speaking, I born with the wrong physical body for my psychological gender.  In the late '50s I entered puberty and realized that the interior feelings I had didn't coincide with the societal role my body was going to force on me.  My parents, and society at that time, could not or would not accept someone with this problem.  For the next 33 years I had to live a lie:  I had to behave as if my interior self was not in any way at odds with my visible gender.  I played sports, I dated, I did boy/man things.  Later I met Becky and did more man things:  I married and had a daughter.  These last 24 years with Becky have been often painful, sometimes joyful, but ultimately frustrating.  Becky is my best friend.  There were times when she was my only friend.  I regret that I could not be honest with her before we married, but that is the nature of denial, even culturally induced denial.

    The older generations of my family have passed on and I no longer feel the oppressive burden of trying to please them.  I must now try to please myself in the time I have left.  I wish to be comfortable with myself in my remaining years.  Therefore I plan to undergo hormonal therapy and have gender reassignment surgery to become physically female.

    Some of you will be terribly uncomfortable with this decision. You may not be able to accommodate it into your world view, religion, or philosophy.  I don't wish to impose my problems on any of you.  At the same time, I live to teach.  I happen to believe that I'm a damn good teacher.  Teaching is my means of affecting the lives of others.  I don't want to give up this career.  The chances of obtaining employment elsewhere in a "new" position seem remote while I'm going through this process.  It is a very expensive process (the major surgical procedure costs $10,000 to $12,000 and it is not likely to be covered by insurance).  So I have to work.  Since I have tenure here, I'll work here unless or until other arrangements are made with the administration.  Since all my friends live in this area, I don't choose to leave it at this time.

    Please try to understand that gender and sex are not the same thing.  This has nothing to do with homosexuality (although that community has been supportive of me), nothing to do with pornography (although much of the information I can get on the subject has been classified as such), nothing to do with perversion.  I have a medical problem that is going to be corrected.  If any of you want to talk about this, feel free to drop by and see me.

                                      (signed {new name])

    To my female colleagues:  One of the steps in the overall process is that I must live for a year "as a woman."  If anyone can explain what that means in today's society, I would be interested in hearing your views.

    Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 11am EST

    by rserven on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 04:38:09 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for sharing your story, rserven (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, sassy texan, rserven

    Perhaps those of us that haven't had to face your situation, or anything like it, have the most to learn from it.  I know that for my part, without such an inescapable necessity to take action, I put up with "for the good of the team" far longer than I should have.  But to act "for the good of the team" is to put aside what is true.  The battle for truth is often painful; always worthwhile.

    •  Wise words... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, Liberal Protestant

      ...I always remember that I am a teacher.  I know that the hardest material has to be presented multiple times and in multiple different contexts and from multiple difflerent view points.  The reason we need to do that is because that's how people eventually "get it".  It's hard work, but necessary to keep doing precisely because it is hard.

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 11am EST

      by rserven on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 05:34:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, rserven

    I run into you often in your fantastic teacher's lounge and try to always catch this diary series as well. I have never commented in it though - because they usually leave me lost in thought. This diary had the same affect but I wanted you to know I was reading and learning. I have learned a lot about a lot of stuff but I especially want to thank you for what I have learned about myself. So, thanks :)

    Proud member of the women's studies crowd and a damn hippie!

    by sassy texan on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 05:12:43 PM PDT

    •  Learning about ourselves... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sobermom, sassy texan a worthy undertaking. :-)  I haven't even had a minute to think about teacher's lounge yet this week.  I was hoping a topic would present itself in tomorrow's Women's Studies meeting.

      My other task for this evening is to come up with a definition of "full global citizenship" for the meeting.  I suppose I could expand that into an essay.

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 11am EST

      by rserven on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 05:38:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  October 2, 1992 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, BeninSC

    I quote my source, which is me in this case:

    Chuck told me that THEY had had a meeting...THEM consisting of him, my dean, the president of the university, the school attorney, and the head of personnel (it would have included the VP for academic affairs, but he was out of town).  We immediate thought was:  "Why didn't WE have a meeting?"  Chuck told me he was to be the conduit for any communication between me and THEM.

    He voiced the "concerns" of those at the meeting:

    "How does 'he' know?"
    Gee, Chuck.  How do you know who you are?  That seems to be one of the central questions of philosophy for the past couple of millennia.

    "If 'he' wears a dress to class, he's out of here." ‑‑President
    Oh, how wonderfully enlightened!  Well, Chuck, I don't currently have any dresses appropriate for the classroom and the weather, but I'll let you know when I do.

    "Wouldn't immediate medical leave be in order?"
    Well, Chuck, I don't have any medical needs as of yet.  I'm not even on hormones right now.  I'll let you know when I can use it. Besides, couldn't that be interpreted as abandoning my classes and give THEM an excuse to terminate my tenure?

    "Why couldn't you just be gay?"
    No answer...just a disbelieving stare.

    Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 11am EST

    by rserven on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 05:24:44 PM PDT

  •  Keeps getting more intense (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sobermom, rserven

    But I'm sure it was!

    Thanks for this incredible series, rserven. I appreciate it more with each new chapter.

    "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT

    by BeninSC on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 05:30:28 PM PDT

  •  Mmm, this is the only MEDICAL condition in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rserven, TransAmerican

    which one must go to a psychiatrist to be diagnosed and  the surgical "treatment" and hormones which is a sure fire cure, isn't covered by insurance (for most people.)

    I know a few folks who nearly went bankrupt, selling their homes/cars, working 2 and 3 jobs, raiding their kids' college funds for surgery. One guy I knew was fired for taking too much time off after his surgery when there were complications.

    Why? It is political. Withholding of insurance for certain groups because of the protests of far right religious nuts and ignorant bigots is not only vile discrimination but criminal.
    Of course, the insurance companies don't care, they save by not paying for the surgeries and hormones.

    Excellent diary. The descriptions of your journey are so rich!

    Proud Commie or Frustrated Capitalist?

    by vassmer on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 05:38:07 PM PDT

    •  Thank you for your comments... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...about the state of insurance and medical coverage.  I actually managed to win one round in the battle against the insurer for my group, not that I got any help from the person who was supposed to be on my side in our interaction (our Human Services director).  I managed to get a ruling that they had to pay for my therapy, hormones and other medication during transition.


      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 11am EST

      by rserven on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 05:56:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I notice how often you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    punctuate these reflections with some piece of music or other that has apparently stuck with you through the years. These echoes . . . .

    One of today's had particular resonance with me. Can you guess which one?

    I've always loved that.

  •  Thank you for continuing to teach us (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have read these diaries and wish I could reach out through the internet to give you a hug. How eloquently you have shared your struggles with us!

  •  Once again (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    thank you for posting this series.

    What a strange and disturbing world it is that we are so insistent on building closets and boxes to put people in and separate them from us, rather than knocking on doors to get to know our neighbors, and building bridges to those who live on islands.  

    People are always trying to diagnose one another, label one another, put 'them' in a place where 'they' won't bother 'us'.  Perish the thought that someone's sanctimonious self-assurance would be troubled, or a preconception overturned.  

    In my talks on learning disabilities, I often say that the only thing I have a 100 % diagnosis of is being Peter.  I'm very glad to have the chance to get to know someone who is 100 % Robyn.

    Republicans worry about our souls and their bellies. Democrats worry about their souls and our bellies

    by plf515 on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 07:32:33 PM PDT

    •  Thank you, Peter :-) (0+ / 0-)

      The next part of the story, when I get to it this weekend, has a working title of "Repercussions".  Or "Aftermath".  Something like that.

      Being relegated to the borderlands of humanity, I found some amazing people, however quirky they might be.  Most of them were extremely talented in their own peculiar ways.  They should get part of the credit for me being able to share my writings, and being able to call some of those scribblings poetry.

      The so-called normal people took a collective step back away from me and many of them decided to practice the most ignorant punishment available, in my opinon, called shunning.  Even a condemned murderer gets to make a last statement.

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 11am EST

      by rserven on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 08:14:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I had missed ths earlier (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but glad I found it again.  i am a trans guy.  Just started transitioning, it's super scary.  You are very brave, and wholly admirable.  If you ever want to talk, and I would like to,

    •  Nice to meet you... (0+ / 0-)

      ...I am behind in my email at present because of the writing I have been doing, but I will try to remember.

      There is another transman who has stopped by from time to time, LoosCanN.  See here.

      Teacher's Lounge opens each Saturday, sometime between 10am and 11am EST

      by rserven on Wed Jul 05, 2006 at 09:08:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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