‘TDOR, Uncle Frank, And Cousin Steve’
(20 Nov 17)
The annual ‘Trans Day of Remembrance’ is 20 November.
The world community calls attention to the fact that there exist people in their cause of hate who choose to murder too many Trans persons among our Trans community.
We seek the time when this commemoration no longer requires current recognition, but only for the past – that the world community no longer targets members of the Trans community for assault and murder.
TDOR has been happening for many years,
yet there I was myself, you know me, the news junkie, having little knowledge that TDOR existed before last year. Both national network news and local news make scant mention of it, if at all. If all members of our own Trans community don’t know of TDOR, then how can we expect non-members to be aware! Let’s see about whether and how much the national and local news report this year’s events. (Up-date 21 Nov 17: ‘Cronkite News’ was the only local coverage for this market – they interviewed one of our members.)
This will be only my second attendance at TDOR. I barely knew of this event until last year though I have been transsexual my entire life. I submit that my lack of awareness is because of said paucity of the publicity distributed among the population in general – the world beyond the Trans community has no concern for our well-being, therefore no concern for those whom they murder and no concern to publicise the slaughter of our Trans community members.
One of the elements that really bothers me during the reading of these names is the number of ‘Name Unknown’.
- How can that be?
- How can a family or social circle allow someone of their own to be murdered as ‘Name Unknown’?
- How can a legal system and news process be satisfied that they have done their job concluding with ‘Name Unknown’?!
I can’t imagine the cruelty in the finality being solely identified as ‘Name Unknown’. I dread that thought, that people I know – family or friend – could be so callous as to not care for me, my whereabouts, my safety, my life that they would not bother to report my absence and search for my remains if dead. That anyone is allowed to be ‘Name Unknown’ is appalling. May I request of our Trans community that, from now on, anyone who is left as ‘Name Unknown’ be given a name by which we remember their lives. It is the least we can do.
The sole local news coverage in this metropolitan region was ‘Cronkite News’ shown on a variety of local PBS TV stations nationwide. Absent were the network affiliates of ABC (KNXV), CBS (KPHO), Fox (KSAZ), and NBC (KPNX). (Up-date 21 Nov 17: Nor did I see any coverage on any network news program either leading to this day, yesterday or the day after; I did not watch every minute of every broadcast, but surely there must have been some mention in light of all these accusations flying through our nation. For shame!)
This Editor shall elaborate here that this commemoration strikes home personally (see: ‘In My Life …’, 19 Apr 16).
My Uncle Frank was in transition during the 1960s.
He travelled cross-country to visit our family sometime during the early 1960s (when my family was still intact). I recall Uncle Frank at our front door; my dad had him arrested when he arrived at our home dressed in female attire.
Uncle Frank’s name was not to be spoken in our home, his existence was to be denied, all while growing up. Kathy still refuses to acknowledge Uncle Frank and Cousin Steve as recent as today. ‘Names Unknown’ to her.
The records show that Uncle Frank died in 1970. My family plotted his murder; they made it appear as suicide. In those days, the local police were more than happy to not bother to investigate the ‘suicide’ of a ‘pervert’. The story that my family told to me was that he jumpt to his death from his bedroom window. As how I knew it, Uncle Frank, his wife, and his three children resided in a typical split-level New Jersey home – a fall from a bedroom window might stub your toe or break an arm if you land most awkwardly, but it is hardly lethal.
My family told me that Uncle Frank’s wife died soon after – supposedly despondent at her husband’s demise, she also took that same ‘suicide’ tumble from their bedroom window. This was another improbability.
The deaths of the two adults orphaned their three children. My family told me that the two daughters went to live with their paternal grandparents and that Cousin Stevie was sent into the state system – foster care and / or adoption.
As I recall, the last I may have heard from or seen Cousin Stevie was mid-1971 before my dad and I travelled to our two years at Greece. I have a specific memory of talking about Cousin Steve in the car of my father’s older brother and his wife. From them is where I got the story of the whereabouts of Cousin Steve in placement with the State of New Jersey. I have a recollection visiting the two-story home of my maternal grandparents and seeing my female cousins making their new home at that location. My imperfect memory senses that Cousin Steve and I might have also met there our last time when we saw each other, but he was treated as though he was not wanted at this home. My father told me to forget about Cousin Steve, Kathy tells me to forget Cousin Steve – put them in the ‘Name Unknown’ list – but I never have forgotten Cousin Steve and never will forget Cousin Steve.
I frequently ponder the circumstance that perhaps Cousin Steve’s family could not bear with him as he was also going through his own childhood transsexualism as mine. His grandparents refused him, his aunts and uncles refused him.
I presented at other posts at this web-site that my dad frequently whined that he wanted to adopt more children than me. My question persists:
- ‘Then why did you not also adopt Cousin Steve?’.
If it was because the laws of that time prohibited a single father from adopting, then certainly my mother who was re-married could have adopted Cousin Steve.
No matter. I doubt my father’s resolve because he used his threats to return me to the system to try to keep me in line; a lot that did, eh.
Allow me, Dear Reader, to pose to you my continued effort to seek the truth, to learn whether what my family told me is true or merely family fable.
My Uncle Frank was born Franklin Thonus at Passaic County, New Jersey. He died in 1970.
I have used the Internet to conduct several records searches for the news accounts, obituary, or police reports of Uncle Frank. Those sources lead me through multiple pages of gibberish, but never any actual results. Those sources always demand payment to use their site to collect any meaningfull information. Rip-off!
My Cousin Stevie was born Steve Thonus at Passaic County, New Jersey. His current age would be in the late-50s.
I likewise have used the Internet to do numerous name searches for Steve. There are many people with that name and close age. The problem is that these sites also lead me through several pages and end with a demand that I pay money to them for some vague proposition that they will finally provide that last nugget. No way do I fall for those web scams!
Maybe in the parlour game, people connect to Kevin Bacon within their proverbial six degrees of separation. With that in mind, maybe someone coming upon this site or through this tag will either be Cousin Steve or know him and will bring him in contact with me at this site.
Beware! you trolls of fraudulent purpose. I, of course, hold specific details that only the real Cousin Steve can confirm. Anyone either claiming to present leads to Cousin Steve or claiming to be him will be required to undergo a grueling interrogation; I shall weed out you phonies in less than a handfull of questions.
I sent a brief text to Kathy today. I reminded her that today is TDOR. I commented upon the death of our Uncle Frank. I asked her – for the umpteenth time – the whereabouts of Cousin Steve.
I doubt that she will soften her heart at this latest summons.
She replied to my text with, ‘I have no idea what a t’dor is.’ (sic).
Aw, c’mon now, Kathy, you can do better than that!
You tell me that you have been a nurse since the 1970s – a career of scientific enquiry. Can’t you take 10 seconds to browse your computer for TDOR and learn something? Why can’t you learn to spell the acronym better? I guess it figures. There was never a newspaper, never a radio, never a television for the news during the few times when I visited Kathy at her home. How can one live in a world of seven billion people and not open yourself to some of them? In this larger political scheme of things, Democracy demands that ‘informed electorate’; no wonder this one-time great American nation that began its move to Democracy as recently as the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s gave way to the collapse that began during the 1980s.
Kathy made no comment responding to my questions regarding both Uncle Frank and Cousin Steve.
This year’s TDOR commemoration now also comes personal to my own existance.
I wrote in my prior blog that I was assaulted and attacked by a criminal (‘Why Not Treat Us As Human’, 16 Nov 17).
- Maybe he was a typical patriarchal male misogynist?
- Maybe he discerned something about me being transsexual?
He did taunt my sexual identity.
- Why did he consider me transsexual?
- Why does he hold animosity toward the Trans community?
- How is he influenced by these current politics of Crooked Drumpf?
If I should perish due to my injuries, then I become another person whose name is added to this list. This is not a position that I thought I would find myself at this time of my life.
I was an out transsexual child during the 1950s and 1960s when that whole idea was rare for adults, let alone for children. I was among the one-in-a-million with the other transsexuals in this country by the time I reached adult age. Some sources put the number at only 1000 cases in America by the end of 1970s.
My dad and I were in the midst of one of our many crises by the time I got to 9th Grade. I was changing to Kathy’s clothes every day after school. Maybe our neighbours observed me walking Slim while dressed in her clothes and they told my dad? My dad repeated to me during that fatefull school year that Uncle Frank was among the reasons why he needed to take me away from those bad influences of my mom, her family, Uncle Frank’s transition. My dad threatened me to the same fate as Uncle Frank. My dad took me to Greece.
Maybe my family murdered Uncle Frank on their impulse to retaliate against him for influencing me?
Think of the possibilities if Uncle Frank remained alive. We would have corresponded, met each other, compared notes. My ‘feminine protesting’ tantrums might have brought me to flat-out demand to transition to female during either 9th Grade or 10th Grade with Uncle Frank’s help. My body naturally feminised during those years, I would have passed female, I would have received the medical care necessary.
Maybe Uncle Frank influenced me?
I was openly female-identified to my family throughout my childhood – a transsexual child – six decades ago, or thereabouts. I can barely perceive male. I can barely recall male. I can’t see my life as male.
When I turned age 18 is when I count beginning my transition. That was four decades ago, or thereabouts. That was as young as legally possible in those days. The medical system denied to me my right to my hormones until February 1979 – at age 22 and one-half; I went to full-time hormones shortly after turning age 23 by late-summer 1979. That seems almost ‘yesterday’ to me.
You who join us on this path – whether Trans yourself or a devoted SOFFA – know and share our mutual understanding. You’re doing this, too. You get it.
Youth and body type have their advantages; I had one of those – youth. I feminised during my teens that surely upset my family who imposed their male upon me. Starting young means that you have endured less ‘testosterone poisoning’. I wish that others could have had my fortuitous opportunities to transition young if that is what they wanted. I hold no regrets other than what I now see through 20 / 20 hindsight that I could have done better.
Recall my chronology (in brief):
- 1974: Met Denise, my mentor, in stealth (my first transsexual, other than Uncle Frank)
- 1977: My mentor Denise referred me to Stanford University Medical Center; I began my correspondences with Stanford
- 1978: My first transsexual medical appointment to attain approval to Stanford; corresponded with Janus Information Facility; name and sex changed at Social Security Administration; my first counselling
- 1979: Accepted for regular counselling and approved to transition, accepted for transition medical care, began hormones (Norinyl, Diethylstilbestrol)
- 1980: Legal name and sex change, began full-time female (uni-sex styled) attire
- 1981: Denied continued hormone treatment and counselling by the gatekeeper medical community of Utah
- 1982: Inter-sex diagnosis – genetic female
- 1983: Restored to transition hormones (Premarin); first surgery; employer changed my official appointment designation to female
- 1984: Male-fail mis-gendering
- 1985: Female full-time forever.
I would say that such a life seems almost un-believable, some crazy plot in a fictional novel, if I had not lived it. Yet here I am. It is believable. I have been living it, I bear the scars from it – then and now. My ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures and my Stanford papers are about my only evidence for me to document that I previously presented male, that I rode this journey. I compare both – Nick and Sharon – knowing that that is really me in transition. Me male to me female.
I can recall each day of freedom when I first began full-time. I arrived home – alone – to my apartment at the conclusion of a busy day, threw myself on my bed, and let out a quiet cheer.
- ‘Yes! I did it!’
How I wanted to share my enthusiasm with family and friends, but I had none. My family and my ‘friends’ rejected me. Among my feelings of great joy was great hurt that my people abandoned me – their deep abandonment continues today.
Nevertheless, without them, I counted my days; those days became weeks, weeks became months, months became years. Now I am fortunate to count decades.
You in transition comprehend this mutual experience. If only we could bottle our exhilaration to taste its sweetness throughout life and share it among those we love and appreciate.
I prefer to participate with the SOFFAs at one support group. I enthusiastically support the newbies and present my self to them a hopefull future.
We, through the time of my era, were generally obliged to participate in transition programs; they were usually sponsored by a university medical center. Transition programs (mine was Stanford) impressed upon us the importance of blending into society – ‘strealth’ as they now call it. We old-timers set the opportunity for you Trans children of today who become celebrities because you are Trans.
Finance matters – some of us had to search for coins in the seat cushions while others got it paid by their parents. I was lucky to have had a good job that provided sufficient income and decent health insurance. It also helpt that the ‘EXCLUSIONS’ section continually became irrelevant to me as I legally changed my name and sex, my medical record reported me as female, and my employer changed my designation from male to female.
In this season of Thanksgiving, I am forever gratefull for the bounty that came my way.
My transsexual perspectives of 40-some years ago are different than those of current Trans people – whether they are transitioning late in their life or are Trans children. Not all have an easy transition – then and now. We of my era could be subjected to ridicule, yet curiously, the general public paid little attention to our presence. We went through our process with a society different than today’s.
We Trans must manage our own before we can expect the outside world to respect us. There had been a movement toward openness, but I fear that those now in charge of our American government and their regressive political climate are imposing changes for the worse. Some members of our Trans community brought this upon us much the same way Jews of Hitler’s Judenrate, Judischen Altesterrat, and Schutzstaffel chose to collaborate with NAZIs. That era of NAZI-ism and Fascism persisted from the 1920s to the 1940s; on that timeline, we shall experience this in America until the 2030s – or later – when you continue doing nothing – when you persist colluding with the enemy. Follow Hans von Dach Bern into total resistance.
I feel conflicted.
You have seen here, Dear Reader, that Brad welcomed me into the fold of our ‘Dasahori Kids’ Facebook page.
I am now also accepted to my ‘Pinewood School Alumni’ Facebook page.
I present myself to the Pinewood School Alumni web-site only as Sharon; I make no mention that my past identity to them was once Nick. I am not hiding my past; rather, I see no point forcing any agenda, I shall not deny my past if anyone asks. Actually, I posted a picture from my school days, I mentioned the years when I attended, that my dad was a teacher, I identified where I resided on the school campus, I listed a few of my school activities, I mentioned school-mates in my social circle. I also make reference both to the ‘Dasahori Kids’ site and to my own web-site. Certainly people can do an Internet search. Anyone who knows those ‘clues’ knows who I was.
As yet, the only alum who have corresponded with me did not know me personally during my two years at Pinewood. I first wrote to the sister of a school-mate who was my prom date, then I wrote to the sister of my team-mate for the 1973 International Model United Nations. I await posts from people who knew me directly. According to the latest list as of when I last browsed that site, there are only a few who did know Nick and they have yet to read my entries.
Has anyone otherwise realised that I was Nick?
Maybe I have been too circumspect?
No problem. I can write a post to answer questions and come clean in short order.
It is getting into cold and flu season here in the US of A.
Allow me to recommend soup to fend off illness and ease your pain.
- Chop and cut some garlic (good to prevent those sick days), carrots, red potatoes, red onions, celery. Spice as desired with any or all of: rosemary, fennel, cumin, tumeric, curry, chili powder, cayenne. Why not add chicken. Cook them in your slow cooker. There you have it – fresh chicken soup, the universal cure; better than canned chemicals.
Serve this with some grated cheese on top.
Add a dollop of yoghourt and wrap it in a flour tortilla as a combo vegetable and chicken burrito. A kinda vegetarian gyro to our Greek cuisine.
Sad notes to report.
Malcolm Young (64), guitarist for AC/DC, died of complications from Alzheimer’s.
For those about to rock – we salute you and thank you for all the great music.
We also learned that 1970s teen heart-throb David Cassidy (67), of ‘Partridge Family’ fame, is hospitalised and suffering from total organ failure. He awaits a possible liver transplant.
You made us happy.
(Up-date 22 Nov 17: David Cassidy succumbed to his illness.)
I saw it on the over-night news as I was fading back to sleep.
You know, Dear Reader, the story of my name and how I came to be Sharon (see: ‘In My Life …’, 19 Apr 16).
My friend put it well – Sharon Tate is smiling at final justice come her way.
A great big Kapung Khaf thank you to ‘T-Central’ for picking up this web-site in their reference:
Take a browse at ‘T-Central’ for their diverse writing.
Kapung khaf, thank you, Dear Reader, for bearing with me on this personal journey today.
Please return for another post at a future date.