Tag Archive | Jody Dallas

‘Today Is A ‘Coming Out’ Day’

*(1970 06 00) Slim at Crater Lake (sitting) 62108991_353447288645822_7445126293500198912_n

‘Today Is A ‘Coming Out’ Day’

(11 Oct 2019)

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I am already ‘Out’.

Lemme share about my experiences.  Maybe someone is new here, hasn’t browsed this ‘Slim and Me’ web-site or social media.  Or maybe you are familiar to my life.  Either way, I’ll try to use a different angle to write about things this time.

I was Out since at least age 3.  Perhaps I did not use Transsexual for my self, but I did know about two people:

 – Uncle Frank (my mother’s younger brother) was in Transition from boy to girl (as my child’s mind perceived it) and 

 – Christine Jorgensen’s name came directed at me during times when my parents were shouting at me about what I was doing (though I don’t recall knowing why her name was mentioned when I was a child at that time ). 

I knew that I am a girl, same as my sister Kathy.  Family frequently referred to Kathy and me as ‘The Twins’.  My only childhood definition of twins at that age was two siblings born at the same time – two girls or two boys, not one of each.  Being called a twin of my sister didn’t help me differentiate from my sister, it brought me to identify same as her.

Oh, family was humoured by me.  I wore Kathy’s clothes and we painted our nails.  Or I put on my teen cousins’ make-up and nail polish during visits to their homes.  The family gushed:

 – ‘Oh, Nickie!  What a cute little girl!’(1927 xx xx) Abie's Irish Rose (book cover - green) 51p7kbWYLGL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_

That name – Nickie.  Here’s probably the first time that I shall have described in my essays how that came.  On the one hand, I hated Nickie because family used it as part of their verbal abuse against me.  Yet I came to want to embrace it when another reality hit.  Our father acquired child custody of Kathy and me following our parents’ divorce; he took us out of Public School and put us into Catholic elementary school.  My name at home, among family, among play friends, officially at Public School was Nickie.  No more Nickie at Catholic school, the nuns would not allow Nickie, the nuns forced me to use Nickolas.  No more Nickie – a name I began observing used by girls, not boys.  I resented the loss, I resented adults and authority denying another element of my girlhood.

Curious, I might not have sought a different name during childhood if the nuns had allowed me to continue using Nickie.  Instead, in my retaliation against authority, I explored innumerable girl’s names throughout 2nd Grade and 3rd Grade.  I decided upon Sharon by late 3rd Grade.  I told my mother first.  It was one Saturday morning during visitation as she cooked breakfast; we had quite a row in the kitchen.  I’ve asked Kathy many times; I’m surprised that Kathy tells me that she didn’t hear us where she was in her bedroom.  Taking it further, I don’t know what would have happened with my decision to keep Sharon – me as namesake for the other Sharon – a few years later.  Or maybe I would not have needed to have made it permanent and changed my name as part of Transition.  Small moments develop into major consequences.

(1969 06 00) Mincemeat and Nick - Grambling Apartment 64597389_2088241518143369_2973098609945346048_nLikely I would have changed my last name in any situation.

Life got difficult as I grew up.  My father was beating me for my Feminine Protesting, my female inclinations, my wearing Kathy’s clothes by the time when I was of older elementary school and high school age.  The worst was February 1971.  My family murdered my Uncle Frank a few months earlier to put an end to his Transition – to be done with him, one way or another.  I feared that this fate was happening to me that Thursday evening.  Crazy thought – I made numerous past suicide attempts and there would be other attempts wanting to end my life in later years, but there that night, that time and place, I really wanted to live, at least survive, somehow.

My teen years were living on that proverbial razor’s edge.  My father and I moved to Greece for two years during my high school.  I promised to control my Feminine Protesting, to cease wearing female attire, to study well; my father allowed me to grow my hair, tried to end his beatings.

(1972 03 00) Slim and Nick at Anatolia CampusI got lucky after I graduated from high school.  Dear Ol’ Dad took his two-years contract to teach at Brasil; I stayed home.  I had a fortuitous encounter with Denise, my next mentor; I promptly began my adult Transition at her encouragement.  That uneasy truce began to crack when my father returned home.  He snooped in my bedroom and through my privacy:

 – he discovered my Library books about Transition – especially Christine Jorgensen’s biography and books about the psychology and the sociology of Transition,

 – he found my correspondences with Transition programs, miscellaneous postal letters with Sharon as the recipient.

He resumed beating me.  What was I to do?  This was the 1970s.  There was no such thing as Domestic Violence as a crime back then.  I could hardly call the police.  Report my father?  The devout leader of our Catholic parish?  The respected Principal of our elementary school?  Police would have arrested me as an abusive son.

What if police did arrest him, prosecute him, sentence him, incarcerate him?  What was I to do still financially dependent upon him?

I finally gained employment and lived on my own.

My Transition still was not to be discussed.  Or, at least, family spread gossip among themselves making me fair game while they prohibited me from sharing my experiences and progress with them, such as:

 – I yearned to share my Transition advances at Christmas dinner 1979 (that year was one of the most momentous to that time).  This had been the first time in several years that so many of us would be together at one time and place; I so much wanted to share my joy with my family as a family.   Family shut me down.  That gathering was to be the last time when our father, Kathy, and I were together in good cheer.  If I recall correctly, the next time would be when our father was dying a decade later.

 – I showed my Diethylstilbestrol pills to my mother several months later; she laughed at me, she countered that she didn’t consider them real, she blathered to me that they were a trick, that they were candy.(2019 06 08) Inter-sex Don't Need To be Fixed 62175802_335193497131221_9095511818230562816_n

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Our Transition is not always a direct route.  My detour was when doctors diagnosed me Inter-sex (1982) and offered a surgery six months later.  The hospital psychologist was not supportive of my Transition, provided no guidance to me how to explain my Inter-sex to family.

 – My father came cross-country to visit me for Christmas 1982, he saw evidence of my exploratory hospitalisation, and asked for details; I did not know what to say.  My father snooped through my box of medical papers while I was at work.  Not once did he bother to talk with me; instead, he made his own conclusions (wrong as he was).

 – I travelled to visit Cousin Nancy from Texas a few weeks after my surgery.  I hoped that I could have figured things out enough to share with her and her family.  Nope, there was no good time to talk seriously.(1984 06 xx) Grandma Thonus and Me on Mom's Sofa

 – I later tried explaining Inter-sex to cousins Carole and Bev (1993).  I gave an audio cassette tape and diagrams to them, they were from Dr. Paul MacDonald’s Inter-sex lecture to the University of Arizona Medical School (1974).  I hoped that they would comprehend Dr. MacDonald’s explanation of Inter-sex.  They didn’t seem to grasp anything – Carole is a college graduate (I don’t know her degree), Bev is a Pharmacist.

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It’s all well-worn history when I finally managed to achieve full-time in 1985.  I had one interim situation during May when I stayed with my father at the home where I once lived with him during my years as a teenager.  This visit was home base for me to seek and secure my own home before I made my final departure from Utah.  I seriously considered presenting as Sharon during that two weeks or so, but decided that I should wait til I had my own home if this visit went bad.

My father hoped that I still was going through a phase when he invited me to my birthday dinner that July.  Nope.  I already had been living full-time for more than a month, my apartment registration was Sharon, my neighbours (including Clint) knew me as Sharon, my college enrollment and ID was Sharon.  I could not possibly do anything other than what was long overdue. 

(1986 xx xx) Golden Acres - HomeI presented Sharon to my father that evening – permanently, once and for all, no more part-time, no more denying my self to please Dear Ol’ Dad.  The subsequent 18 months was rough – he wanted nothing to do with me, did not communicate with me.  He refused my goodwill offer at his birthday (January 1986).  He was facing his denials.  All my years since the time when I was a toddler apparently did not prepare my father for this inevitability.  I am empathetic.  His wife denied a son to him and now his adopted son denied his son to him.

Our relationship settled into another truce by late-1986 – my father and I came together when the Mets played and won the World Series.  My father was becoming at ease with me, was no longer reticent about being with me in public.  Soon, he would frequently drive to visit with me.  He would pick me up from work, he observed how my co-workers accepted me, he made no slip-ups to them about my past.  We would go grocery shopping together, dine out together.  We were making progress together.  Those were among what few good times we would have.  We had a tumultuous Thanksgiving Day 1988.  He died of cancer the next July.

(1992 02 xx) Amber's DrawingI had one brief visit with Grand-Aunt Lena, Grand-Uncle Vic, Uncle Jack, Uncle Artie, Cousin Amber at their home (1992).  I was on exhibit for them – Look!  It’s Baby Sharon, she walks, she talks, she drinks, she wets.  I felt stiff, unable to relax, under their scrutiny the entire time.  Amber did present her drawing to me.

Last time when I saw Kathy was 1993.  It didn’t go well.  It has been downhill since that time.

Fast forward to family living here in town – Aunt Pat and cousins Bev, Carole, Gail, Jack.  They invited me, then they un-invited me, to Thanksgiving Day 1993.  That was the last time I heard from them til a series of awkward telephone conversations with Bev a few years ago.

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(1972 12 00) Dad - Kathy - Nick (Vienna)For years, my ‘self’ perceived me as Transsexual.  Then came Inter-sex; then came doctors specifying that I am Female XXY.  I studied Transsex and Inter-sex at the University of Utah Medical School and then at the University of Arizona Medical School during the first half of the 1980s.  I had been especially familiar about my Transsex circumstance.  Adding Inter-sex was quite a new dimension to handle, accept, comprehend, alter my self-perceived consciousness.

Living stealth did much to suppress my perspective about Inter-sex more than Transsex.  During these past four decades, I gradually came to embrace my Inter-sex though my more commanding Transsex perspective told me different.  I ponder the reversal when I learned that Inter-sex persons generally remain as Assigned At Birth versus Transsex persons who generally change from their Assigned At Birth.

 – What if I knew about my Inter-sex during childhood?

 – What if doctors and family offered the opportunity to me to have Transitioned during childhood?

 – How different would I have perceived, accepted my anatomical anomaly if I knew as early as my childhood that I am Inter-sex?

 – What difference would have been my decisions during childhood?

 – What if I did not Transition, whether as a child or as an adult?

 – What if I declined my two ‘sex change’ surgeries and instead embraced what I called my ‘Half-and-Half’ and ‘50/50’ Inter-sex anatomy?

My anatomy has always been my ‘normal’ despite competing forces:

– My Transsex drive told me to make my anatomy biologically ‘normal’ to be acceptable to CisHet normative standards.

– My Inter-sex drive told me that I AM ‘normal’. 

No regrets.  Just questions.

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I won’t belabour the point that two employers (Forest Service, State of Arizona) fired me because I am Transsexual two decades apart (1983, 2008).  You can read those details already written and posted at several essays here in social media and at my web-site.  Lemme make reference to this point that losing two careers was a life-altering situation leading to a drastic difference in my financial condition.  

– The Forest Service put me on track for promotion at least to grade GS-11.  My income at that grade would have led to an accumulated life-time income exceeding $2 million, maybe as much as $3 million.   Maybe I could have made GS-12?  GS-13?   SES?

 – Or take the difference in earnings between a woman and a man – that’s 60¢ for the woman to a Dollar for the man.  My prime earnings time frame as an adult man was less than a decade.  My earnings years as a woman spanned more than two decades, would have been more if not hindered, then derailed, by my last employer.

 – What if I waited to Transition male-to-female after my lucrative career of 30 or 40 years?  Many (most) people do that – they take full advantage of their pre-Transition Male Privilege throughout their lifetime; they avoid incurring this combination financial penalty being a woman, being Transsex / Inter-sex, being a Trans woman.

That income disparity means the diminution of life accommodations in home, transportation, comfort, travel, investments, retirement.

I lost one home, two cars, most of my personal possessions because of my Transition.  I live in a humble home needing multiple repairs beyond my means, my car remains un-repaired, my diet is from the grocery discard rack.

Thus, Dear Reader, is one aspect of my fiscal cost of Transition.  You need to know this if you are Transitioning young – that Transition from male to female incurs the difference between financial ease versus financial desperation.

I am fortunate.  I know several Trans friends – both personally and throughout social media – who are far worse than my condition.

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I invariably read social media from many of you.  I enjoy learning from you.

Many of you and I are from a similar age group born during the 1950s. Many of you report having severe experiences of anatomical frustration throughout your childhood, knowing that you are a girl, afraid to reveal your thoughts to family, punished because of your behaviour. You describe minimal knowledge about Transsexualism til adulthood – 30s, 40s, 50s – you marry, have children, make a good career, establish a solid circle of friends, yet you are gripped by fear of disclosing your life-long secret to family and friends. You report your access to Trans resources is quite different from mine.

I was fortunate when it came to Trans; whereas, I lost the family, friends, career.(2019 06 07) Christine Jorgensen 61957188_297225101160272_6758831003961131008_n

 – Christine Jorgensen was a common reference in my household, maybe because her home and our home were within the same metropolitan area rather than cross-country.  Where your parents might only have received publicity of national distribution, living locally probably provided frequent daily publicity leading to daily conversation at home.

 – Uncle Frank was in Transition during the 1960s.  Sorry, I don’t know what was or would have been his female appellation, so I stay with what I do have for consistency.  Having one Trans family member was a clear bonus for my own Transition, even though I have only one specific memory of him – watching my father and him arguing at our front door til the city police came to arrest him.  His influence throughout the 1960s passed to me when I eavesdropped hushed conversation among the grown-ups.

 – My next mentor was Denise.  Our first meeting was totally serendipitous, a misidentification on my part.  Our second meeting was equally at random.  I’m not one to intrude into the privacy of others, so I didn’t want to push myself into her life.(1977 12 30) Stanford Reply (Name Covered)

 – Linda was a co-worker where I was employed as a civilian at a military base.  She was an electronics engineer auditor who made her two-weeks TDY to our Directorate facility.  I was one of three office clerks for the civilian head and his staff of both civilian and military.  Linda and I had our own work responsibilities and schedules that did not match.  We decided that socialising at lunch breaks together might not be a good idea.  She invited me to spend an evening after work with her, she was a font of knowledge who shared as much as she could with me, she provided additional resources for me.

 – Stanford University Medical Center’s ‘Gender Dysphoria Program’ was one of a handful of Transition programs during the 1970s.  Denise made a referral to get me enrolled (1977).

 – Janus Information Facility was a resource agency that Linda told me about.  They provided literature that I could send to family and friends, they provided psychological assessments of my status, they provided lists of potential counselling and medical services to contact.(1978 07 00) Information for the Family (Janus) (Cover)

These were opportunities that blessed my path.  How could I not succeed!

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Each of us eventually finds our way, finds success in our own strength.  We come to our own breaking point when we realise that we are a better person living who we are rather than living who others demand.  Perhaps this is another reason for antagonism from the Cis Community.  We might perceive that we failed, but it is in our strength that we succeeded. 

Our failure was that we could no longer live a facade, our strength was that we can succeed when we live as our truth.  Most of the world lives in their failure, jealous of the rest of us who succeed when we live true to our selves – ‘A free fish doesn’t know what it is to be a hooked fish’.

Nor is there failure trying to live suppressing our Trans.  One famous Trans woman talked about how she tried sports, she tried the military, she tried being the ‘lady’s man’ – failure, yes, because she was none of that.  As she put it humourously about her efforts to ‘be a man’, she had to settle finding her success being ‘super water boy on the football team’ because she failed doing what she was not.  Success was when she found herself through her strength – her Transition.

Innumerable encounters that I had with Cis people growing up and as an adult eventually involved some degree of Cis aggression against me.  I can see where it scares the Trans child, left alone, left without family and other support structures.  Gawd, I grew up scared!  Perhaps it was humanity’s internal compass telling me right from wrong because somehow, within me, I had a strength, a sense that taking my stand was me being stronger than any bully. 

As I alluded in my essay, it was likely that many (most?) of today’s Out Trans Community may not have perceived or were not aware of Trans persons when they were children and during their younger adult life.  There were few counted actual Trans people by the end of the 1970s reported among the medical community – I have found reliable sources reporting from 1000 to 3000; certainly that fails to include children and adult Trans people living on the streets beyond the realm of official numbers.  Today is drastically different.  We can read social media at least by one Trans woman or another on any given day who is reporting that she is beginning her Transition, beginning her hormones, having one surgery or another – quite different compared to the 1970s, 1960s, 1950s, etc.

Yes – there were the occasional references and inferences in American media.  I saw an episode of the 1950s’ ‘Burns and Allen’ in syndication a few years ago cracking a joke about a sex change for one of the characters, the popularity of ‘Some Like It Hot’ and ‘Myra Breckinridge’ during the 1950s and 1960s, ‘M*A*S*H’ (and Klinger), ‘Soap’ (and Jody), and Tom Snyder during the 1970s.  Their frequent context was Trans as an oddity rather than Trans as our humanity.

There was good news during the 1970s and the 1980s.  Publicity began to present more Trans people in a positive context.  Robert Reed portrayed a character in Transition in 1975’s two-part ‘The Fourth Sex’ episode of ‘Medical Center’.  Then more public presentation among the daytime TV talk circuit – Dina Shore, Merv Griffin, Phil Donahue, Sally Jessy Raphael, Jane Whitney, Joan Rivers, Jenny Jones, Geraldo Rivera.  These talk shows finally presented us as normal people, not a punchline in a stand-up routine or a gag in a TV comedy.  Unfortunately, by the 1990s, Jerry Springer made Trans into freaks and objects.

We going public were still relatively few, aware of the hazard that publicity destroyed one’s life and career.  Allow me to identify Maria; she was on a few of those named talk shows, we became pen-pals for a few years.  She reported to me that she lost everything for being public.  She cautioned me to remain stealth.  Maria, I really want to hear from you, hoping that you have been able to do well.

We are still experiencing being Society’s pejorative.  There is the ignorance of many who have little education about Trans.  Then, there are the pernicious others who know exactly what they are doing to destroy us; I’m still amazed at their weakness and hypocrisy.  Pat Robertson had positive support for Trans people as recently as 2013 when I heard him discuss the topic on his TV show; something between then and recent led him to turn on Our Community.  He embodies that failure, that lack of strength in truth.

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Summary:

And so goes today’s Out Day reminiscences.  Those experiences have been among my Trans experiences.

(2019 06 10) We treat you life family 62440894_825818261130533_1994170594186231808_nFamily can read this essay.  Perhaps you can put these events together in your Ah-Ha moment of recollection.  Or spread gossip among yourselves.  Or not.  I have no expectation that any of you will ever correspond with me.

Kathy, 

Jack, 

Gail, 

Carole, 

Bev, 

Donna, 

Cousin Nancy from West Virginia, 

Cousin Nancy from Texas, 

Amber, 

Mike, 

Rachael, 

PJ, 

Uncle Jack.

I certainly don’t expect you or any other family to bother about this.  After all, Bev, you accuse me of hiding in your bushes, waiting to attack you, because I am a ‘Monster’ (as you call me).

Please.  Gossip amongst yourselves.  Or not.

Kapung Khaf!

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Thank you to all who are responding positively to this essay.

Thank you to all the Resources whose work contributed to this article.(2015 08 20) Decide to be a Girl11046480_376569759191961_3227315234969587031_n

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Additional Resources:

Itali Marlowe – 20th Trans person murdered this year – murdered because she is Trans:
(https://www.out.com/transgender/2019/10/09/itali-marlowe-20th-trans-person-killed-2019)
(https://transgriot.blogspot.com/2019/10/number-21-rest-in-power-itali-marlowe.html?m=1)

Nope – I was not confused.  I knew at least by the age of 3 – ‘I’m a girl! I proclaimed to family.  I didn’t necessarily know that that made me Transsexual.  Uncle Frank, who began Transition when I was age 4, made Transsexuality a normal concept at home.(https://www.refinery29.com/en-ca/gender-identity-isnt-too-confusing-for-your-toddler)

The Birth Certificate fight continues at Utah.(https://fox13now.com/2019/10/10/utah-supreme-court-orders-state-to-weigh-in-on-transgender-birth-certificate-issue/)

Trevor Project’s LGBT Handbook for Youth. (https://www.advocate.com/youth/2019/10/09/trevor-project-releases-coming-out-handbook-lgbtq-youth?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=youth)

AMA support for LGBT Rights.(https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/population-care/why-ama-s-standing-lgbtq-rights-supreme-court)

Stealth at work.(https://www.marketwatch.com/story/half-of-lgbtq-americans-are-not-out-to-co-workers-2018-06-27)

It’s no surprise that an anti-LGBT Republi-con is charged with child porn and sexual abuse.(https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/09/republican-state-senator-charged-possessing-child-porn-sexual-abuse-minor/)

The USA Supreme Court wants to tell Trans persons what public restroom to use.(https://news.yahoo.com/us-supreme-court-just-sent-134534353.html)

The 2020 Election is important for Our LGBT Community.(https://www-m.cnn.com/2019/10/10/opinions/2020-election-importance-lgbtq-david/index.html)

Poland right-wing attacks against LGBT.(https://slate.trib.al/VYhadkH)

TERF Lesbian opposes LGBT and Trans Civil Rights at Supreme Court demonstration.(https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2019/10/09/lesbian-activist-linda-bellos-supreme-court-against-trans-rights/)

Transgender youth activist.(https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/transgender-activist-lashes-scott-morrison-over-gender-whisperers-comment-20191007-p52ya8.html)

Australian Trans Community seeks health care coverage by Medicare.(https://www.outinperth.com/renewed-calls-for-medicare-to-cover-gender-reassignment-surgery/)

Surgery leads to improved mental health.(https://abcn.ws/33g6fEV)

Adult support helps Trans youth overcome suicidal thoughts.(https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/07/just-one-supportive-adult-cuts-chance-lgbtq-youth-will-attempt-suicide-40/)

A preview of the USA Supreme Court presentation.(https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/supreme-court-gay-rights-workplace-equality-895565/)

Transcript of oral arguments in Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC.

(Supremecourt.gov)

#SCOTUS 

#OurDayInCourt 

(https://t.co/tFYo0qpyqU)

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Thank you to all the resoources who make this web-site and page possible.

Please return for another essay.

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‘Dancing On The Astral Plane’

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‘Dancing On The Astral Plane’

*(1973 04 xx) Xanthi Easter Pageant 1

(04 Jan 18)
(Draft)

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Welcome, Yassou, and Wai, Dear Reader.

It’s time for another episode.

This starts with a lead to another brief philosophical comment about how life’s twists and turns can have major and minor effects upon who we are, where we go, and who we bring with us during our lives.

Through all the bad that I have described here at this site, I consider that I had it good and that I made it good.  In fact, I thank my lucky stars and accept the blessing from whatever there may be of higher power.  There are too many of our community whose families send them out to be abused, to commit suicide, to be murdered.  They are the ones I keep in mind in my life and ask you to do the same.

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Dear Reader, you have read here at this site that I resided at Greece for two years – 1971 to 1973 during my 10th Grade and 11th Grade.  I attended Pinewood International School of Thessaloniki (also known as ‘TIHI’).  Pinewood’s main campus when I attended was co-located at Pylaia, Greece, with Anatolia College .  Pinewood has since moved to another community in metropolitan Thessaloniki.

Lemme tell you about two neighbouring towns near Pylaia and at the same time share how our English language is filled with wonderfull Greek etymologies.(1971 09 xx) Mount Olympos - View From My Window at Compton Hall

  • Panorama.  Yep, so named for its panoramic view of Mount Olympos.
  • Hortiatis.  Ever hear of the ‘Greek Salad’?  How about the ‘Village Salad’ or ‘Hortiatiki Salad’?  Yep – so named for its creation at Hortiatis, much as we take for granted the ‘Sandwich’ so named by the Earl of Sandwich.

(1971 10 xx) Mount Olympos - The SummitCool, huh!

>

Anatolia College is a famed Greek school for the best of their nation’s students.  Non-local students reside at the school dormitories.  They had a pretty good library in both Greek and English language books.

(1972 03 00) Slim and Nick at Anatolia CampusI attended 10th Grade at Pinewood’s Anatolia College campus at Pylaia.  My dad, Slim, and I resided at Compton Hall; my dad was the dormitory supervisor for the Pinewood boys.

We Anatolia College campus residents awoke school days hearing the Greek National Anthem harkening the College’s students.  My memory is humoured when I recall that next came the sound of an alarm clock ringing through the campus PA system to summon Anatolia students to their First Period classes.

One of Anatolia College’s teachers owned a collection of American silent films; frequently, on Saturday evenings, he gave a showing of them to we dorm and campus residents; this was an opportunity for both the Anatolia and the Pinewood communities to interact with each other.  We Anatolia campus students also had a recreation room in the basement of Compton Hall: ping pong, billiards, TV.

My dad and I ate many of our meals at the campus cafeterias.  The names of all the Greek foods may have faded from my memory, but oh how I appreciate the great cooks and cafeteria employees as I came to love their fresh home-made Greek cooking.  Yum!  The cooks made breakfast for us before school, they made lunch mid-day, they served afternoon ‘snack’ to us around 4 pm after school, Greeks eat dinner late – around 8 pm or 9 pm.  We campus students ate at either the boys dorm or the girls dorm; that exchange was fun because we Pinewood students got to know all the Greek Anatolia students, we got to learn our languages, we got to learn about each other – both boys and girls.

There were approximately 60-some students attending Pinewood’s high school; there were only eight 12th Grade students that school year.

I took the usual classes including:  Physical Science, Geometry, Western History, Physical Education, English, French, Speech and Drama.

Our Speech and Drama teacher produced ‘Blithe Spirit’ for our Spring play.  I was under-study for the Dr. Bradford character, played the bird calls, and was the table-tapping; I was also among the stage crew.  I made an audio cassette recording of this.

Pinewood otherwise had no formal inter-school sports competitions as are common in American school systems.  I played on Pinewood’s basketball team.  Our basketball team played groups from the local ‘XAN’ (Greece’s YMCA).  No, I was not star player, but I did score a few points during a tournament that our Pinewood team played at Athens (Spring 1972).

(1972 02 xx) MUN duane-dave-nickAs I reported elsewhere at this web-site, Pinewood’s teachers and School Board selected me to participate as a member of our school’s International Model United Nations delegation representing Czechoslovakia during my first school year.  Our history teacher and we three students (Dave, Duane, and me) did extra studies after school – we worked on Czech history and politics so that we would be prepared to participate at the IMUN held at den Haag, Nederlands (February 1972).

I participated in our annual Pinewood field day; I placed among top three in two long-distance track events:  2nd Place in the 1500 meter run and 3rd Place in the 800 meter run.

We played softball during PE throughout our Spring season.  Many of our non-American Pinewood students enjoyed the sport, some played quite well.

>

I attended 11th Grade at the Dasahori campus.

Or at least I shall use that word ‘campus’ loosely – affectionately – about Dasahori.  Our Dasahori school was located at the now former Voice of America transmitter site at Dasahori. Greece – midway between Thessaloniki, Greece, and Istanbul, Turkey.  That Google Maps satellite view is Dasahori.  The Greek village is to the right, what remains of the VOA site’s residences is to the upper left, that clearing just below was the location of our school inside the VOA warehouse.

Our Dasahori main school room was a partitioned corner of the VOA warehouse.  One space was our classroom.  Another space was our recreation room to use when the weather was cold – we had a ping pong table, we made up our own rules for ‘Twister’, we listened to tapes of VOA’s music shows.

Our Dasahori campus also had two travel trailers: one was used for a second classroom and the other was our ‘Library’.  We older students – 5th grade through 8th Grade and me of 11th Grade – did most of our schooling at the warehouse classroom; my father was the primary teacher for we older students.  The younger students used one trailer as their primary classroom; they had their own teacher.  We mixed things up during the day when we older students attended Greek and French lessons after lunch break.  Our Greek ‘alfaveterion’ textbook was much the same as the American ‘Dick and Jane’ reading books (I still have mine – it’s in storage).

My 11th Grade curriculum came from the University of Nebraska’s home schooling program and was locally supervised by both my dad and Pinewood’s High School teachers.  Among my classes were: Chemistry, American History, Algebra, English, French, Greek, Photography, Psychology.  I travelled to the main Pinewood campus at the end of each school quarter to meet with the teachers, take exams, socialise with the older high school students.

I made friends with Brad, Keith, Dave, Brendan at Dasaori that school year.  Brendan lived at Xanthi (the relatively ‘big city’ about a 30 minutes drive to the North of Dasahori), so I usually saw him only during the school day.  We others frequently found ‘boys’ stuff’ to do after school:  explore the area, go to the beach, ride bicycles (Dave let me ride his ‘chopper’ bicycle), dig ‘fort’ holes and tunnels.  Brad and I listened to BBC on the short wave radio; Kathy brought Mexican food to share dinner between our two families.

Brad’s father was my Photography teacher that school year.  He taught photographic skills and styles and darkroom techniques to me.  I still have my developing tank, though I have not used it since the late-1970s.

(1973 02 xx) Kathy-Nick-Slim at ThasosThe Pinewood teachers and School Board again selected me to attend the school year’s International Model United Nations at den Haag, Nederlands.  Randy and I represented Sri Lanka; other groups of Pinewood students represented India and Italy, if I recall correctly.

I attended Pinewood’s Prom (May 1973).   Though I invited LeeAnne F as my date, she wanted to hang out with other school-mates.  That was good for me because I got to spend my time with Mary G, my Prom date from the previous school year.  Mary and I caught up on old times.

Anyway.

My Dasahori school-mate Brad recently created a great Facebook site for we ‘Dasahori Kids’.

Pinewood also recently began a new alum site for we former Pinewood and Dasahori school students.

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I have led a not quite perfect life.  Some of us are able to put their disruptions aside; maybe not me.  My family and my personal quagmire overwhelmed my ability to consider much else.  Yet, for me, this inter-sexed transsexual element of my life has been quite a learning experience.

My memory is far more clogged with my messy adolescent life.  In it, I have many fond recollections of my two years at Greece.

My 11th Grade Psychology course spent one week teaching us that transsexualism is a ‘perversion’.  I knew that I am not a ‘pervert’, but that was the accepted ‘fact’ in 1973; those were the times as were also my family’s attitude about me.

The biggest point of fate to me was how my family and I were entrenched in our own positions.  My father made me ‘present’ to the world as Nick, a boy, while I was Sharon, a girl.  Maybe they did not know what to do with their teen-aged ‘boy’ whose anatomy was developing into female.  I made my life and social contacts on that imposed male role, rather than my innate female persona.  I knew what I needed.

I write as point of comparison that my peers at Pinewood and Dasahori tended to socialise and explore.  I tend to be introverted, keep to myself, limit my external opportunities.

My Pinewood and Dasahori school-mates recall their abundant experiences and memories of Greece; many school-mates also knew the locals.  I was there one year at Pylaia and one year at Dasahori, I lived my daily life among my school-mates, yet I barely knew them as well as they knew their school-mates and each other.

I as Nick made male friends rather than as Sharon making female friends.

My first friend when my dad and I arrived at Thessaloniki was our landlord’s daughter at our Harilau apartment – I apologise for my failure to recall your name.  She and I are the same age, she spoke English well enough for us to get to know each other those first couple weeks, we shared listening to Rock music.  Had my dad and I remained there and not moved to the Pinewood / Anatolia campus, how different would we have become friends had I been ‘presenting’ as a girl rather than as a boy?

Moving to the Pinewood campus, there became even the simple difference of who I befriended at the boys’ dorm rather than at the girls’ dorm:

  • I as Nick would have been out of place had I spent my social time at the girls’ dorm.
  • I as Sharon would have been out of place had I spent my social time at the boys’ dorm.

My first friend at the dorm was Eddie.  We did things our first few weeks that no teen boy and girl would have done together at our age.  Would we have become friends had I appeared presenting to him as a girl rather than as a boy?

As a boy at Pinewood, I made friends with Eddie, Miro, Jack, Anthony, Tom, Tim, Randy rather than as a girl with Mamiko, Mary G, Mary C, Maria, Liliarty.

As a boy at Dasahori, Nick knew Brad, Dave, Keith, Brendan.  Sharon would have known Susie, Angelina, Sarah, Toni, Jenny, Beth.

(1973 06 xx) Maggana - Town SquareI withdrew from knowing my Maggana ‘Upper Form’ Greek peers who attended school weekdays at Xanthi.  Steffi (our landlord’s eldest daughter) and I are the same age, but we had no friendship as did my sister Kathy with Steffi.  Would Steffi and I have made a friendship if I were Sharon, not Nick?

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Can you see where I’m going with my theoretical philosophy?

I’ve come to learn that there are other Trans people who also fill with this ‘What if’ had we lived differently.

We – my school-mates from Pinewood and Dasahori – may not have known much of each other in the same ways had I been Sharon, instead of Nick, at Pinewood and Dasahori.  We would have missed the events that we shared – playing softball, participating in school plays, digging holes, riding bikes, listening to music, going to movies, dancing at the disco.

  • Would I have played on the Pinewood basketball team?
  • Would I have played softball with my Pinewood male classmates?
  • Would I have played Dr. Bradford in ‘Blithe Spirit’?
  • Would I have been selected to the IMUN either year let alone both years?  How would I have been partnered both years?

No complaints here, that’s the way it was as I accept it, then and now.

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This quandary barely skims the surface.  This accounts for only two teen years of my younger age.  As I wrote in my earlier essay about the people in my life (‘In My Life …’ 19 Apr 2016), I likely would have had friendships with the girls had I been Sharon, rather than with the boys as I was as Nick.  But the full story means that I would have missed the wonderfull life experiences with the boys as they were in my actual life.

I make no presumptions about any one else’s life experiences. I am expressing for myself.  Maybe you got all your friendships and no looking back to wonder any ‘What ifs’.  I have so many.  Oh, I do not stay awake every night stressed by every little event.  I merely allow my thoughts to wander where they please at this life lived – for better, for worse.

Through all the bad, I had it good and made it good.

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Dunno?

What is the solution?

Why need there be any?

Why couldn’t I have befriended both girls and boys equally?

(2015 08 20) Decide to be a Girl11046480_376569759191961_3227315234969587031_nI want to consider that I would have had better friendships without this messy transsexual and inter-sex thing that complicated my life.

Do you think that I awoke one morning at age 3 and said to myself:

  • ‘Gee, I wanna grow up and be inter-sex and transsexual, I wanna endure all the hardship and pain.’?

When did you, Dear Reader, decide during your childhood that you are a girl?  Are a boy?  During your adulthood that you are a woman?  Are a man?

For me, I made no decision; my childhood self-identity knew that I am a girl since the beginning of my memory at age 3; I knew that I am a woman as I reached my adult years.

My family forced this girl to be raised as Nickie / Nick and to live as a boy even when I began female puberty during 9th Grade and filled out bras naturally.  I was not Kathy’s weird brother trying to wear her clothes; it turns out that I was a girl trying, wanting to be her younger sister.

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Did you watch the 1970s TV show ‘Soap’?  It aired on ABC network beginning September 1977.

I have made scattered references to that show here at this web-site.

One of the characters of ‘Soap’ was Jody Dallas (played by Billy Crystal).  Jody was introduced as a homosexual Gay man wanting a sex change operation to be female for his boyfriend.  That was quite an extreme character for those days.

I do not know what knowledge those story writers had of transsexualism in 1977 as they developed that plot-line.  As for Crystal’s character Jody Dallas:

  • What did Crystal know about Transsexualism?
  • What did he learn?

I knew then in 1977 that they were so wrong about it – whether they realised that fact or not – that they were perpetuating an egregious error about transsexualism:

  • No gay man wants a sex change operation that eliminates his manhood.

But there they were, a large segment of American psychiatry and psychology of that time into the 1970s who persisted that transsexuals were homosexual males who had a desire to conform to society, to be in a monogamous heterosexual relationship with their male partner, to not live as an outcast in a scandalous homosexual relationship.

I had to make my own insistence to my counselors throughout my years:

  • that I am not a Gay male,
  • that their theory is bogus.

I surely had the nerve!  Not ‘balls’, mine were ovaries.

It is better common understanding nowadays that no Gay male wants to remove his penis – the anatomical organ that provides sexual pleasure for himself and his Gay partner.

‘What Sex Am I’ (cablecast on HBO – April 1985) delves into this serious error of the medical profession of that time.

(1978 07 00) Information for the Family (Janus) (Cover)The people from both Stanford and Janus who managed the heart of my transition – the people I knew – were among the production and advisory personnel to that documentary working to set things correctly:

  • it goes against it all to administer a sex change for a Gay male.

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Who says that channel surfing is a waste of time?  It pays off for me.

I discovered by randomly surfing that ‘Soap’ is making the syndication rounds again.  I caught it early Tuesday morning while browsing (Antenna TV – 2 am MST here at Arizona, check local listings).

It seems, as I recall of the series, that I missed the first episode in this current syndication re-play.

Episode #2 was when Jody told his parents that he wants his sex change operation.

Antenna TV probably began running it on Monday night; I found ‘Soap’ also airing at 8.30 pm (again – MST Arizona time, check your local listings).

If you can’t watch it at their broadcast times, well then, ‘use your brain’ as Kathy writes and set your VCR, DVR, or whatever you can.

(1977 12 30) Stanford Reply (Name Covered)>

Wow!

Another sign of my 40th Anniversary.

I can’t express in words what this show means to me – the memories that it triggers of my past.  I know that you know, Dear Reader, those who travel this journey:  You ‘get it’.  We all ‘get it’.

My dad had fits when I watched ‘Soap’.  He had nothing good to say about it.  He, in fact, participated in the Catholic Church’s efforts to ban ‘Soap’ from TV.

When I moved to Utah (October 1980), I learned that the ABC affiliate station refused to broadcast ‘Soap’ during the prior three seasons; the 1980 season was their first time that they would carry it.  They delayed its broadcast to run at midnight (yes, I stayed up late to watch each episode).

Curious.  When ‘Soap’ went into syndication in 1983, the local network affiliate station ran full episodes after their 10 pm newscast.  No one from the TV viewership complained.  I seem to recall that it got higher ratings than the late network shows – ‘Nightline’ and ‘Tonight Show’.

So there!  So much for that Catholic Church boycott.  What hypocrites!

*(1970 06) Slim - Crater Lake (sitting - portrait)

Looks like I had another one in me, eh.

Thank you to the web-sites that provided their references to make this essay

Thank you, Valerie June, for today’s music:

Thank you for visiting, Dear Reader.

Please return for the next episode of …

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