’To The Contrary’
(14 Sep 2019)
This week’s episode of PBS ‘To the Contrary’ is an interview with Dr. Michele Angello.
As ‘they’ say – Check local listings. ‘To the Contrary’ is broadcast on PBS World usually:
– at least twice on Saturdays (7am and 5pm Arizona time),
– Sundays (6.30am and 2pm Arizona time), and
– once or twice weekdays (Wednesday at 1pm Arizona time).
Here’s the episode on YouTube:
Dr. Angello has researched and written about the Trans and Inter-sex child.
Good presentation here. This is quite informative in a positive way. I especially appreciate how Dr. Angello explained the Trans child’s predicament:
– ‘Some children come out and it’s definitively their identity and it stays static for the rest of their lives.’
– ‘Kids can be certain of their identity.’
– ‘I say to parents, ‘When did you know that you weren’t Trans?’.’
– ‘Parents need to be supportive. Love your child no matter the outcome. Let them explore.’
– ‘Love your child unconditionally.’
– ‘Allow your child to gender themselves, they’ll tell you how they identify.’
– ‘Suicide attempt rates for Trans children is 41% – it’s bullying and harassment, it’s that they can’t use the bathroom, or ‘my family doesn’t accept me’, or ‘my religion doesn’t accept me, God doesn’t accept me’.’
– ‘Folks with an opposite belief system ramp up their hate against Trans. We’re still getting a lot of backlash.’
If only my family was this open and accepting and my medical care was that available six decades ago when I came out to them as Transsexual at age 3. Eh, Kathy?
You who are familiar with me know that I am both Transsexual and Inter-sex (Female XXY).
If you are new, here’s a summary of my Trans / Inter-sex life:
– I was an out Transsexual child by age 3 (1959),
– I began my M-F Transition at age 18 (1974),
– Denise, my mentor, helpt me enroll at Stanford University Medical Center’s ‘Gender Dysphoria Program’ at age 21 (1977),
– My physicians first diagnosed me as Inter-sex (Female XXY) at age 26 (1982),
– I am okay to say that I had a uterectomy (1982) and two Trans-related surgeries (1983, 2016),
– I’ve been full-time since age 28 (1985),
– Two employers (Forest Service, State of Arizona) two decades apart (1983, 2008) fired me on their accusation that I am F-M Transsexual.
– I produced two TV shows during the 1990s:
– – ‘Dick’s Automative’ (about electric cars) and
– – ‘Rock Club Rising’ (live on tape music) (https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/music/eat-the-document-6421801).
Dr. Angello commented about trouble that Society is imposing upon the Trans person who has need of public facilities.
Why must Society be cruel and fickle?
The Public School I attended for Kindergarten and 1st Grade made no objection to me using the girl’s restroom though I attended school as a ‘boy’ (1961 – 1963). The only time I got in trouble was when our teacher scolded my girl friend and me for making wet toilet paper wads and throwing them at the ceiling inside the girl’s restroom when I was in 1st Grade. No school officer or teacher reprimanded me when I otherwise used the girls’ restroom (the boys’ restroom stunk).
I did experience one complication inside one of the men’s restrooms at work (1985) when I was in full-blown Male Fail. My employer (USDA Forest Service) was in the midst of firing me on their accusation that I am a woman who was working there as a man, yet they required me to continue to present as male at work. One day, a man entered the men’s restroom as I was washing my hands. We looked at each other. He made a sudden startled jump backward while asking to perhaps no one specifically,
– ‘Is this the men’s room?’.
I dug down deep for the best possible male falsetto that I could muster, but the most that I could mumble was a feeble ‘Yes’. I finished and was gone.
Okay, on the serious side.
So far, so good.
The concept and acceptance of Passing may have changed through the decades. After all, we who better appear Female to Society’s expected standards of Femininity are considered Passing and less likely to be subjected to Society’s anti-Trans wrath.
Passing was one requirement for surgery for we who were enrolled in the Stanford University Medical Center’s ‘Gender Dysphoria Program’.
Nowadays, we Trans persons are public in far greater numbers than the 1970s when Stanford issued their Guidelines. More Trans people means far wider expression of one’s Trans-ness.
Me ‘Passing’? Dunno. I am me, take me as the woman whom I am.
The very first time when people mis-gendered me was during my teen years residing at Greece and travelling through Europe and Asia:
– Men in Turkey grabbed my behind – that act of criminal assault committed by men of misogyny. I was frozen. I did not know what to do, what to say, whether to scream. My father was with me, I tried to express my anguish and fears to him, but he did nothing; maybe there was nothing that he could do. This was my father again teaching me about misogyny and patriarchy. This was my father trying to use these assaults as a way to convince me to not Transition, that somehow I would no longer be a girl because criminals assaulted my intimacy.
– My own family mis-gendered me – whether for real or to demean me. My father and I shared photography of our travels and experiences of Greece and Europe. He was showing pictures of us to family gatherings. I could observe that these relatives were puzzled by the images. Eventually, my Aunt Olga queried:
– – ‘All these pictures. There are pictures of a stranger girl in many of them. But where’s Nickie?’
– The most memorable mis-gendered photograph was my picture with the boys of the Vienna Boys Choir while obtaining their autographs. I clearly remember how much my appearance was more a teenage girl than a teenage boy. Indeed, ‘Where’s Nickie?’! I have not seen any of those photographs since perhaps 1974. I suspect that my father did not want to share those pictures because of this mis-gendered identification. Further, my father’s older sister and her husband threw away my father’s entire collection of photography when he died. My father kept all his photography (and most of mine) stored with them since the time when my father and I moved to Greece (1971). That destruction was my family expressing their complete and absolute hate toward me.
One lesson of its own is that of people perceiving a Trans woman as a woman regardless of how we ‘Pass’. People were mis-gendering me as a woman during my years of part-time. There I was, especially once I hit full-blown Male Fail – presenting as my male ‘before’, perceived as a woman by the public, ‘Passing’ as a woman.
No one has ever bothered me or confronted me about my presence using the women’s restroom going back four decades in time and travelling throughout the USA and three other nations.
I never thought about being denied using a public restroom and that using the women’s restroom could create trouble until I first noticed this becoming a sudden political issue in Houston in 2015.
Now I attend to my business wary of any potential complication, I enter and use the facilities with caution.
Society has become determined to put us under attack for our existence.
It’s not enough to have legal ID nowadays. It’s not safe if some authority imposes their Panty Patrol. No person should be subjected to strip search to use public accommodations.
Here’s an article about TERFs that came to my Facebook feed:
I searched the Internet in curiosity. Looks like the book is here:
‘GYN / ECOLOGY: The MetaEthics of Radical Feminism’ by Mary Daly
Debbie E. referred this book to me during the early-1980s. I need to read this again with a perspective of these four decades passed.
Transition comes in stages. We adjust our attitude about life, our selves, others.
I submit that it is our maturity that brings us through our stages of Transition.
We begin our Transition abhorring every bit about our ‘before’. We act stridently with our insistence.
Eventually, depending upon the individual, we come around – we lighten up about ourselves and about others, we come to understand the important things in life, we realise the truths in that saying:
– ‘Allow me the capacity to change what I can change, accept what I can’t change, and the wisdom to know the difference.’
These are examples of what I learned to accept because I can’t change other people regarding the sensitive issue of one’s name and pronouns:
– My father never – NEVER – addressed me as Sharon to the day when he died 30 years ago, though I declared my name at age 8, went through Transition, advanced to full-time.
– One aunt, who had not seen me in several years, called me Nick the only time we met personally 30 years ago at my father’s death. I did not take offence because of the circumstances. Besides, correcting her would have been pointless for me, and I kinda felt nostalgic about it.
– On the other hand, my mother, my sister, other family did use Sharon, but they speak it with disgust toward me.
I deal with those situations. It matters little what others do when I do not allow their deliberate insults to affect me and I accept their mistakes made in honesty
I learned to embrace my ‘before’ – Nick is NOT ‘dead’, he will always be part of Sharon. So when people do refer to me in my ‘before’, I think of my efforts that brought me to today.
You can thank Alan Hart as the mark of the beginning of the current era of Trans in 1918.
I agree with the thought that coming out nowadays is easier because of the availability of information, resources, social media compared to past years and decades.
Unlike many of my contemporaries who describe the absence of information and resources about Transsexualism, I had the benefit of innumerable advantages throughout my childhood, teens, and early adulthood during the 1950s, the 1960s, the 1970s. Those opportunities enabled me to be out as a child by age 3 and to Transition at age 18. I consider these key:
– Christine Jorgensen and her family was from New York City, my family was from suburban New Jersey; my family continued to reside at metropolitan New York City during my first years of childhood (1950s). I have described previously that my father’s DD-214 records that he served in the military at the same time and same duty station as then-George. Her name was frequently among family comment and among public notoriety. My father regularly invoked her name (both George and Christine) whenever he scolded me for anything that I did that was Transsexual. Was it personal? Was it through the public common? Or was it both?
– My mother’s younger brother – my Uncle Frank – was Transsexual, was in M-F Transition during the 1960s. Likewise, my father invoked Uncle Frank anytime my female tendencies surfaced. I clearly remember when family gossip was filled with self-congratulations when they had Uncle Frank murdered (1970). Now his murder became a more severe, very real threat hung over my every effort – especially during times when my father and I experienced heated arguments when I went into my Feminine Protesting tantrums or when he beat me because I was wearing Kathy’s clothes.
– One vital element would be my serendipitous encounter with Denise, my next mentor (1974). She gave that critical spark of initiative to me precisely when I needed it. She would get me enrolled in Stanford’s ‘Gender Dysphoria Program’ (1977).
– I claim no personal association with Renee Richards. We are contemporaries in our own Transition at about the same time, that’s about it. I can say that I followed her early tennis career, her legal battles. Her successes inspired me to continue.
– Another opportunity was Linda, my co-worker and mentor. She taught to me innumerable practical tasks that I needed to accomplish throughout my Transition. She connected me with the Janus Information Facility (Reed Erickson Education Foundation) of Galveston. Through these resources I changed my legal ID, driver’s licence, Social Security Account identification. I located the counselling required to continue my Transition.
How many Trans people of our generation can count maybe one or two items similar to my list? How many Trans people of our generation can count more experiences?
I took good advantage of the abundance that came my way. I am forever grateful for their contribution to my success.
As I frequently ponder to myself and with my trusted friends:
– Where would I be without these great people and resources who came into my life at the critical times when they did?
It’s easy to comprehend that I would have been nowhere in Transition if this assistance was absent from my life.
I ‘knew exactly who I was’ by age 3, never wavered, and received help that brought me to where I am with no serious regrets other than wishing that Transition could have been better done during my childhood.
Take away those opportunities and my life would be totally different.
It would have been likely that I would have been a late-Transitioner as many are during the recent decade.
Please take advantage of these Additional Resources:
WPATH Standards of Care Version 7 free download at: (https://www.wpath.org/publications/soc)
UCSF guidelines: (https://transcare.ucsf.edu/guidelines)