Tag Archive | Phil Donahue

‘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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‘Thanks For The Memories’

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‘Thanks For The Memories’

*(1969 11) Slim - On My Bed

(04 Dec 17)
(Draft)

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That picture of Slim (above) was taken Thanksgiving Day 1969.  That year would be his first holiday season.

*

What memories do you have, Dear Reader, of special times during these year-end holidays?

Here’s the prologue.  I was raised in the Christian culture, most of my perspectives are ingrained from that perspective.  I did grow up with some Jewish education – my paternal grandparents worked for a Jewish family who rescued them during the First Great Republi-con Depression.  I have made an effort to learn about Kwanzaa.  I am open to any other culture.  After all, we are all human each with our own human experiences of our society; we are one of many.

On a seasonal note, allow me to share events that occurred at this time of the year.

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(1)

I have several memories of childhood holidays with Aunt Pat, Uncle John, and those relatives.  Their family and our family resided within a mile of each other, Aunt Mickey’s home was just down the street; we were the only family who moved West from New Jersey.

These seasons were good and memorable for positive experiences.  The worst of these stands out – it was Thanksgiving Day 1968.

My dad, Kathy, and I went to Aunt Pat and Uncle John’s home to gather with our extended families.

All went well talking and sharing and watching football on the TVs.

Kathy, Cousin Bev, and I went to walk the neighbourhood and get something from the quickie mart down the street.  We snacked on fresh oranges that we picked from the trees along the way.

We three returned some time later – who knows – we weren’t carrying a watch – maybe 30 minutes – maybe 60 minutes.

We saw that there were police cars at their home.  What happened?

Good for us that we missed the disturbance.  One of the guests that day was a man identified to me with the name ‘Hector’ and was an employee of Uncle John’s bail bond business.  He pulled a gun and started firing it at people.  Dunno why, no one gave those details to me.

Hector was a real bad guy; I began to learn that perhaps that side of my family were real bad people.

One year later came terrible news.  Debbie, my childhood neighbour friend, was murdered.  The news reported that she and two friends had been involved with drugs – using, dealing.  The three teen girls were kidnapt and taken to Mexico to be murdered by shooting them with an overdose.  Somehow the two girls with Debbie survived and went for help, but Debbie died.  Hector was the prime suspect.

Another year or so later I asked my dad why Uncle John seemed to have different TVs, stereos, furniture most every time we visited them each week.  My dad gave a cold look at me and sternly told me, ‘Never ask that question again!’.  I did not ask again, but my dad’s non-answer gave me clues to form my own opinion, rightly or wrongly.  My Uncle John ran a bail bond business, he dealt with shadey creeps as Hector, perhaps he was receiving stolen property as payment for bail.

(2)

Christmas 1970:  Radio City Music Hall and the Rockettes.

My dad and I drove cross-country in our camper truck to visit his relatives at New Jersey.

Our travel to New Jersey was uneventfull.

My dad took me to Radio City Music Hall to see the movie (I have no recollection what movie we saw) and the Rockettes’ Christmas Day stage show.

The strongest memory that I have of that day was our bus ride back from New York City.  We were at Port Authority’s bus terminal waiting for our bus when Mother Nature made a very sudden call that could not wait.  I entered  that room alone; I was scared.  My restroom experiences were usually bad and this became one possible addition.  I would have been in big trouble if anyone in that facility did anything to me – my anatomy and my wearing female undies – a girl in the men’s room.  Dunno why my dad allowed me to go alone?

Our drive home from New Jersey was hit by snow storms and blizzards along the way – the first was during our drive through Pennsylvania and another stretching from the Texas panhandle to New Mexico and Northern Arizona:

  • I recall that our gas cap froze shut and prevented us from getting a fill-up one night (New Mexico), we slept with the propane oven for heat
  • The temperature sign at Flagstaff, Arizona, showed ‘-16’ – that is cold.

(3)

Christmas vacation 1972:  Vienna Boys Choir.

My dad, Kathy, and I travelled by train from our home at Maggana, Greece, through Jugoslavia, and to Austria.  We stayed at Pension Bliem, a small guesthouse at Saint Johann im Pangau, during our first days at Austria.  We then travelled by train to Vienna for New Year’s.

My dad took Kathy and me to attend a performance of the Vienna Boys Choir.  We also went to see the Lipizzaner Horse Show.

My greatest memory of this at that time was our dad taking pictures of Kathy and me posing with the boys and getting their autographs.

Another memory would fix within the year.  It happened when my dad and I returned from Greece (Summer 1973) and shared our photography of our travels while staying at his sister’s home.  I recall very clearly my relatives expressing curiosity at the pictures – especially when they saw one with me obtaining autographs from one of the Vienna Boys Choir singers.  My aunt again expressed. ‘Who is that stranger girl in the picture?  Where are pictures of Nickie?’.  That was me in those pictures; I was going through female puberty that changed my male appearance to female.

I never again saw pictures of me in my teen years where I appear female – especially those Vienna Boys Choir pictures.  The rare exceptions include that one picture of Kathy, Slim, and me at Thassos and a picture that Kathy sent to me last year of us at a cafe at Vienna.

(4)

Christmas 1977:  Fiesta Bowl.

My dad and I had been residing at a small New Mexico village along the Continental Divide.

We made plans to travel to visit family and friends here at Arizona.

We learned that the Fiesta Bowl had tickets available for game day on Christmas Day.  We learned why – apparently that year’s game was becoming a dud, few people were buying tickets to that game.  We got free tickets for pretty good seats.  There were plenty of empty seats at that game.  We moved around from place to place throughout the game.(1977 12 30) Stanford Reply (Name Covered)

Yep, must’ve been a turkey of a game.  I can’t tell you who played or which team won.

I would return home to find quite a surprise with the in-coming mail – my letter and package from Stanford University Medical Center arrived.  I prepared my enrollment paperwork and submitted it as quickly as I could.

Wow!  That was 40 years ago.

(5)

Thanksgiving Day 1978.

My dad turned sour what should have been a celebration.

The Forest Service selected me for an appointment.  I would be moving out of town – about 400 miles by road travel.  My dad was angry at me; he accused me of abandoning him throughout the approaching days that included Thanksgiving Day.
Never mind that, at least at that time, I wanted this new job that was to advance my career path.

I learned not long afterward that my dad made plans for himself only to travel to visit his relatives at New Jersey.  Hmm?  What was he having me do alone while he was enjoying his trip had I not gotten hired by the Forest Service?  So much for dear ol’ dad and abandonment.

I spent that holiday season on my own; I enjoyed myself, I played my records.

I savoured the reality that 1979 meant my new freedom to go full steam ahead with transition:

  • my next transition medical appointment would be in early January 1979,
  • my next counselling would be in February 1979,
  • I would begin hormones (Norinyl birth control) shortly thereafter,
  • my counsellor would approve me to proceed with medical treatment,
  • my internist would start me on hormones full time (Diethylstilbestrol).

While Thanksgiving Day 1978 was a disaster, Thanksgiving Day 1979 would be celebration.

(6)

Christmas 1979: Family Dinner

I was completing my first year of employment at the Forest Service.

My dad would be driving 200 miles from his home and I would be driving 200 miles from my home.  We would be visiting family: Kathy who was house-sitting for her employer, my Grand-Aunt, and her son.  My dad and I stayed for a couple days at the home with Kathy.  It was quite a mansion – many bedrooms, other various rooms and parlours, maids quarters, and two Rolls Royce vehicles parked in a three-car garage.  I stayed at the TV room and slept on the sofa.  The bathroom at that room literally had gold faucets.

Memories and excitement flushed in me. I was eager to share my transition advances with family as we gathered together.  My desire was to open about my stealth transition that I had been doing right under everyone’s nose since 1974 – to confirm what I suspected they all knew but were afraid to ask:  my medical approvals, my hormones, my plans coming to fruition.  But I also sensed that this was not a good time to raise contentious issues.  I was more concerned about maintaining family order as the family’s peacemaker.  I felt it was better to withhold this touchy subject in what was otherwise a reasonably decent family gathering.  I suppressed my enthusiasm.  I celebrated in my own quietness.

We all feasted a Christmas Eve dinner.

My dad, Kathy, and I attended Catholic Midnight Mass at a parish church where we previously had been members.  This brought a flood of childhood memories to me that I wanted to share – I imagined what my life would have been had I attended Catholic school as Sharon rather than Nick; I looked for former school-mates to maybe share with them – but I felt pressure to keep these thoughts to myself.

We returned from Midnight Mass, gathered for a short time, then I had to depart for home.  My Christmas Day shift at the radio station would start at 5 am; fortuneately, the roads were not snow-bound and allowed me to make good time.

I had a fun morning playing Christmas music and inserting a few items from the Beatles’ ‘Christmas Album’.

(7)

Christmas Day 1982:  NBA Basketball Game.

My dad came to visit me at Utah.

I did not expect my dad to visit me, so I had to scramble to think of a special present to personally give to him – yet something that did not take up luggage space on his return flight to Arizona.

Events between us were not working to well.  Recalling the time as it happened and looking back now, it comes clearer.  I suspected then that my dad snooped though my belongings while I was at work.  He saw the evidence of my November 1982 hospitalisation, he asked questions, and I evaded him.  Cousin Bev told me two years ago that my dad spread the word throughout family that he suspected that I was hospitalised to have breast enhancement surgery.  My dad’s confused presumption was that I was a M-F trans person who had BA while still presenting as male.  The gatekeepers of Utah denied hormones to me since 1981.  Were my breasts still that noticeable in December 1982?  Of course I did not have BA; I was hospitalised for my inter-sex surgical diagnosis.

First, I took my dad to a special movie.  He complained about the seats during the entire time and thereafter.

I scrambled for another idea.  Again, I did not want my dad to be disappointed in me.  There would be a Christmas Day NBA basketball game – home team Utah Jazz versus dreaded rival Phoenix Suns.  My dad took me to NBA (and professional hockey) games as a child – once or twice each month during their season.  My dad took me to that Fiesta Bowl game for Christmas Day 1977.

My friend Rod, at the radio station, had connections.  He made it all possible with last-minute tickets to the game.  A great big ‘Thank you’ to Rod.

Arguments start, we don’t recall the specifics, we remain heated for days without recalling why we got there.  And so it was my dad.  He invoked some altercation the night before Christmas Day and stayed angry the rest of the time during his visit.

  • We got to the game – he was angry.
  • We got home – he was angry.
  • He departed a few days later before New Year’s Day – he was still angry.

Funny thing.  We called relatives long distance on Christmas night.  They said that they watched the game, the network sports coverage panned the crowd, we were on the TV screen – they told us that they saw my dad angry, the TV crew commented that he must have been a fan unhappy with the Jazz loss.  Nope, not hardly.  If only they knew!

(8)

Thanksgiving Day 1988:  My dad’s last Thanksgiving Day.

My dad called me from his home at 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day; he told me that he wanted to come visit with me and have Thanksgiving dinner with me.  He told me to call a few restaurants and make reservations.  I reminded him of the late hour, that I knew little of restaurants since I lacked the affordability to eat out.

I called several restaurants; some were not accepting reservations, some would be closed by 8 pm, some were already closed.

My father arrived about 8 pm. I told my results to him; he was angry at me – it was my fault that restaurants were closed at that late hour.

We drove around the city and found a Bob’s Big Boy; it was 8:30 pm, they would be open until 9 pm.  The waitress agreed to seat us; she told us that they did have Thanksgiving fixings, she apologised that there remained only left-overs to serve.  No matter, my dad and I ate what perhaps we did not know would be his last Thanksgiving Day meal.

We returned to my home after we dined.  My dad remained angry at me that I was somehow responsible for his calamity of Thanksgiving dinner.  He departed a short time later.  I went to bed sad at the events that ended this day.

(9)

Thanksgiving Day 1993.

I resigned from my state employment as a public assistance case manager at Arizona DES.  My Christian Con-servative supervisor had suspicions about me and threatened ‘I’ll get you!’ to me.

I took that trip to California and Oregon:  visiting Kathy, job-hunting, determining if I wanted to move from Arizona.

I took time to re-acquaint myself with relatives here at Phoenix following my departure from employment as I did job-searches at Phoenix.  Carol and I had become friends, or so I thought.  One day as I was visiting with her, she invited me to Thanksgiving Day celebrations.  It had not been since 1970 when I last joined them in what had been til then our annual dinner.  Carol’s invitation did not last long.  My Aunt Pat returned home and told me, sternly, that I was not welcomed to join with them – she un-invited me.

Her act was not un-expected, but I was dejected nonetheless.

As a repeat of 1978, Thanksgiving would be my own celebration.  This time, I was hired by another state agency effective December 1993.

(10)

Christmas 1998.

I attended Christmas Midnight Mass at my former parish where I attended Catholic elementary school.  I was still somewhat Catholic, though lapsing quite fast.

My intent was not entirely for religious purpose, but there could be said that I had some spiritual context.  Part of me wanted to determine whether any of the congregants perceived anything about me – still another test to determine whether I am ‘passing’ or failing.

My familiarity of the church and all the surroundings was certain to solidify to anyone that I had to be another fellow parishioner.  Thus, I supposed that I was not doing well if others made nasty stares at me – that it was because of me, not me doing something out of character with parish customs.  Hey, just because this is church doesn’t say people can’t be cruel.  I was rejected by my parish where I last taught ‘Sunday school’.

I remember that I recognised at least two people:

  • one whom I heard had the nick-name ‘Outer Limits’ (I did not know him, did not know his name, as he was in an older grade than I)
  • Jeanne and I were class-mates from 2nd Grade through 8th Grade.

I tried to say ‘Hello’ to ‘Outer Limits’, ask for his name, wish him ‘Merry Christmas’, maybe finally get to know him as temporary as it would be at such an environment.  Nope, he would not give me the time of day.  Did he recognise me?  He barely would have known me.

Jeanne was another story.  Many of the Mass’s attendees gathered together inside the foyer and talked among themselves, I among them as we greeted each other whether friend or stranger.  I came upon Jeanne, addressed her by name, wished ‘Merry Christmas’ to her, and remained face-to-face within arm’s reach of her for at least one minute.  Jeanne looked at me and acknowledged my presence; I continued looking at her and the others in her group, then I departed to meet others (all strangers).  Not once did Jeanne demonstrate any recognition of who I am, why my presence might be familiar to her, how I knew her name but she did not know my name.  Or maybe she plain plumb forgot that her class-mate Nick existed.

I guess that I struck out what would be my last Christmas Midnight Mass.

(11)

Christmas 1999.

I had simple plans to attend that year’s Christmas Midnight Mass. I just wanted to connect at least to one familiar custom since childhood. I don’t know what were the extent of my beliefs in Catholic dogma nearly 20 years ago, nor do I know if or whether there is a high being; the latter is beyond my pay grade.

I drove to Tucson in my classic 1965 Ford Mustang.  This time I decided that I would push the engine to 75 mph the entire distance; it purred like a kitten all the way.  Wow, I arrived at Tucson in almost no time compared to 55 mph.  I spent Saturday evening and then Sunday working at the TV studio – editing my next ‘Rock Club Rising’ TV show and hanging out with my TCCC friends.  I departed the studio Sunday evening, stopt to fill the tank with gasoline, chatted with the attendant for a few minutes, and made my way home to Phoenix.

I approached the Southern limits of the Phoenix metropolitan environs.  I observed headlights shining on my inside rear-view mirror.  Those lights were quite a distance behind me and the only other traffic my direction at 11 pm.  I scanned the road in front, then back to those headlights in the rear-view mirror.  The lights still appeared distant, yet this second time they shown to be closer than they should have been for a vehicle travelling at an average speed.  No matter, I figured; I’m driving in the ‘slow’ lane where I belong and they should be driving in the ‘fast’ lane where they belong.  The third time was not the charm; I looked at the lights in the rear-view mirror, they were right there at my tail.

The driver hit me the first time.  The Mustang wanted to fish-tail.  I had training, I knew how to control a car in such a situation.  I held the steering as best as I could.  The Mustang waivered two cycles – back and forth, back and forth.  He hit me the second time – this time at the passenger side rear corner, this time while my Mustang faced toward the desert.

The Mustang hit a mound of dirt about eight yards across, flipt up, rolled over, and crash-landed flat on the roof of the car.  The smashed car then rolled twice and settled right-side-up on the shreds that were once tires and wheels.  Making my initial assessment of my injuries, I rose as far as I could, as high as I could from my crouched position across the front seats within the confines of this flattened vehicle.

I tried peering from inside the car through what meager opening existed where what was once the windshield barely a few minutes earlier.  I observed two men approaching – each with lights and each talking to someone on their cellular telephones.  One shined his light into my car and exclaimed, ‘There’s one dead inside here’ while I observed the other who waved his light toward a tree and stated, ‘I think I see a dead body in the tree’.

The fire department, or whomever they were, came to my Mustang; I repeated to them that I feel multiple injuries, that I lost my eyeglasses from the collision and can’t see too well.  They opened the driver’s side door to lift me out and set me on the stretcher, wheeled me to the side of the road, and began snipping off my clothes to expose my body’s nakedness to the cold air.  I was shivering; EMTs denied my pleading for a sheet or something to cover me.

I expected that it would be best to explain to the EMTs that I am Transsexual in case they did not comprehend what inter-sex looks like.  Instead, the EMTs gathered, ‘Come here!  Take a look at the Tranny!’.  Damn them all!

Another EMT stuck me with needles to do at least six blood draws.  They accused me of drunk driving, drugged driving, sleeping at the wheel, anything and everything.  I countered that I was hit from behind – twice – by a large vehicle.

Para-medics flew me to the hospital via life-flight helicopter.  The ER doctors stuck 12 staples in my head to hold it together; I can still feel that scar.

I called my Uncle Artie who collected a few items from my car – clothes so that I could get dressed – and drove me home Monday afternoon.

I spent that first week in extreme pain.  I ate tangerines from my tangerine tree; they tasted sweet, better than anything else.

I am still recovering from that cold December night.

(12)

Thanksgiving Day 2008.

What a lonely day that would begin a string of lonely years and depression.

I had been removed from my job the prior August 2008 on the accusation that being transsexual makes me ‘mentally unfit’ to be a State of Arizona employee.  I would be on my own to fight their charges:

  • Of more than 100 offices where I sought legal help, not one lawyer accepted to take my case.
  • Not one federal or state agency charged with EEOC or discrimination issues defended my position.
  • I had no family or friends come to me support.

I expected to somehow recover my employment status; I had no idea that my plight would be permanent.

I went to the grocery store unsure what I was going to do other than browse the aisles in quiet solitude.  I came upon a few items for sale at the discount shelf.  I recall that I bought a container of turkey dressing. returned to my car, ate that in silence, then cried.  With no sense of what more to do and no where to go, I drove to Tucson to wander that familiar city, then I returned home to cry again.

(13)

Holiday season 2014.

I was experiencing my most recent period of major depression that began some time during late-2013 and persisted until some time early-2015.

Thieves burglarised and ransacked my home when I went away.  They stole irreplaceable personal possessions from me:  50 years of my photography, videos, and mementos of my two TV shows (‘Rock Club Rising’ and ‘Dick’s Automotive’).  They stole valuable ‘stuff’ accumulated throughout my lifetime:  my collection of books and phonograph records valued at more than $500.000.  I was un-insured because I could no longer afford that expence.  This event of its entirety was one price of many that I paid for being Trans.

My stress was destroying my physical health and mental well-being.

I was alone.

Then, suddenly, came a squirrel scampering across my backyard lawn while I ate my Thanksgiving Day meal from a jar.  I tossed a cranberry to it as my way to share what was my meager bounty that year.

(14)

Christmas Day 2015.

Alana invited me to spend the day and have dinner with her.  This would be the first time anyone asked me to join them.

Alana thought that I ditched on her; I was a bit late because I got lost on my way to her home.

I brought food to add to our meal.  I felt disappointed when Alana expressed distaste for my contribution.  I did not know it at that time that she has food complications and what I innocently brought to our table was among her complications.

We had a good time.

Alana showed her picture collection and railroadiana to me.  We shared about our travelling to Thailand.  We watched a few DVDs of my ‘Rock Club Rising’ show.

I had no idea one year earlier in 2014 how my life would change in 2015.

Kapung Khaf, Alana.

(15)

Thanksgiving Day 2016.

Alana and I spent a crazy day together.

We had no idea that many restaurants would be closed all day that day.

We first went to our fave Souper Salad salad bar – it was closed.

She thought maybe Denny’s had good dinner service.  We went to one Denny’s, ordered their Thanksgiving Day meal, and were utterly disappointed at the table scraps that they served.

Still wanting to celebrate with a meal, we found a fast-food hamburger restaurant that was opened and serving.  We ordered burgers and fries and ate them in her car as we talked and reminisced.

Kapung Khaf!

*(1927 xx xx) Abie's Irish Rose (book cover - green) 51p7kbWYLGL._SX346_BO1,204,203,200_

What are your fave holiday plays, movies, entertainment?

Anne Nichols wrote her play ‘Abie’s Irish Rose’ in the immediate post-WW1 era.  The story begins when a Catholic nurse brings an injured Jewish soldier to health at a battlefield hospital, they return home to marry, but their fathers hold their own feuds against the couple, their marriage, and against the notion of any marriage between Christian and Jewish.  The play closes with both families coming together during the holiday season when the couple celebrate the births of their twin children, each father melting at their expanding family.

In its time, this play was both

  • (1) the longest-running play on Broadway and
  • (2) the longest-running touring play

from the 1920s to the 1960s; it was also adapted to both radio and television series.  Nichols’ composition is deemed the foundation of innumerable plots repeating her story-line about over-coming bigotry and prejudice, of inter-racial inter-marriage, in plays, movies, and TV shows.

In a strange way, the original ‘Godfather’ movie is a holiday season movie to me.  Events occur at Christmas time:  Michael and Kaye have their tryst, Don Corleone schemes his take-over but gets shot for it, Luca swims with the fishes, Tom gets kidnapt while Christmas shopping, Michael proves his mettle.

‘Home Alone’ was cutesy in its way; I don’t think I could ever want to watch it again considering present politics.

The first version of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ that I saw was the 1977 Marlo Thomas version.  I don’t see that version on TV anymore; I can watch it on my VHS tape.  Likely the James Stewart version will make its rounds any day now and be repeated til Christmas Day.

>

Allow me to share my Marlo Thomas story.

I attended a taping of the ‘Donahue’ talk show when he came to Salt Lake City (September 1981).  I received tickets to two shows; I chose to attend when Don Wildmon was scheduled to be the guest, but he ditched and we got Linda Gray and Larry Hagman instead – two very personable people.  I am not a ‘Dallas’ fan, never saw that show, but did recall Gray from ‘All That Glitters’ (Gray portrayed the first regular Transsexual character on American TV) and Hagman from ‘I Dream of Jeanie’.  I got a chance to talk to them and obtain their autographs during a commercial break.

We in the audience asked questions to Phil both before and after the taping.  Phil invited the audience to join in line where he signed his autograph, spoke to each of us, thanked us as we departed.

The exit line was long – a few thousand people – so I decided to wander around backstage.  I immediately, surprisingly, found Marlo Thomas.  I introduced myself to her; she invited me to stay and talk.  I told her that I like her version of the movie and that I remember her from her TV series that we watched.  I excused myself maybe 30 minutes later.

I re-joined the line that was at the last few people.  I was the last person in line so I spoke with Phil longer than the others, thanked him for his show though he had different guests than scheduled, he signed my tickets, and I departed.

*

Thank you, Dear Reader, for joining me on my latest trip down memory lane.  I could share stories about other years, but I shall not bore you with every year.

You can think about your own days past and your own days future.  Share with those whom you love in your life.

Please return for another essay.

*

 

‘In My Life …’

*

You have read me posting comments here at my web-site regarding many public and private people in my life.

Allow for an extended accounting all in one place.  I identify private persons only by a first name; maybe they will recognise themselves if they happen upon this humble web-site.

  • ‘All the world’s a stage, we are all merely players.’

These are among the influential dramatis personae of my life:

*

Christine Jorgensen:  She became well-known as a pioneer beginning when she travelled to Denmark during the early 1950s. Both my father and Christine were born within months of each other during the late-1920s – my dad in New Jersey, she in New York.  Both served basic training in the military at the same base at the same time.  Did they meet or get to know each other?  My father repeatedly invoked her name to me during my childhood and teen years in times of my feminine protesting tantrums.  I was with my dad during his final weeks and asked him about Christine when her death preceded my father’s own death; he turned his head to the wall and said nothing to me.  My father left to me in his will a curious small wooden box that contained a few news articles about my Uncle Frank, my mother’s younger brother – my father had Frank arrested while he was in M-F transition during the 1950s and 1960s.  Family advised me that Uncle Frank and his wife were murdered to appear as suicide knowing the police would not bother investigating those crimes.  With those news articles in that box was a hand-written piece of paper with the name ‘Jorgensen’ and an address and telephone number to that name.  How and why would my father have come about the name. address, and telephone number of someone named Jorgensen and kept it together with news articles of his brother-in-law Frank?  My connection to Christine through my father is as yet neither proven nor dis-proven; rather it is an un-solved mystery with answers that passed with my dad’s death in 1989.  Or else it could be another hoax committed against me.

Billie Tipton:  He was another famous transsexual from the 1950s who also died not much earlier in 1989 as my dad.  He was a Jazz musician pianist and a performing artist’s manager. I have no known connection to him. Here my wonder is whether I heard his music growing up.  My mother had a collection of many phonograph records of his music genre; I constantly listened to those records as a small child.

Sharon Tate:  You already know that I take my name from Sharon Tate.  I decided on Sharon some time when I was eight or nine years old (1965).  My mom and I were alone while she was preparing Saturday breakfast.  Our conversation began as a low-key event in the course of my persistent feminine protesting tantrums.  I told my mom that I thought Sharon would be a nice name – that I wanted to be called Sharon.  My mom sniped back, ‘Sharon is a girl’s name.  You don’t want a girl’s name!’  ‘No, Mom!  My name IS Sharon!’ I insisted.  Our argument went nowhere.  I am inclined to nightmares depicting violence perhaps having been beaten and abused by family most of my life; Madi knows this first-hand.  I had a bad nightmare during early Summer 1969.  Someone named Sharon was murdered in this nightmare; I presumed that I was the victim and took this as a message that either my spirit or my body was being killed.  You know the reality.  Sharon Tate was among the murdered in a vicious crime during August 1969.  I had minimal knowledge of Sharon Tate until then; I decided I must carry Sharon in her remembrance.  Sharon Tate is in the news again – her murderer demands freedom.  No!  Those criminals must remain where they are – behind prison walls until the day they die.

Denise C:  She was a brief encounter on two occasions during the mid-1970s.  I knew only that she was who she told me – a real-life M-F transsexual.  I learned from her about the Stanford University transition program.  I contacted Stanford in 1977 and – as ‘they’ say – the rest is my history (maybe I, too, could have written ‘herstory’ but that was a worn and tired word-play by the 1970s, don’tcha know).  Denise is her private name as I knew her; she uses a ‘stage name’ for her public performing as a songwriter and musician.  I respect her privacy and shall hold myself to it.  Far greater than anything is the fact that she was my mentor; she meant almost everything to activate my transition.  Who knows where I’d be without her?  She may not realise her positive influence on me.  I tried calling her in 1978 to let her know all was well, but felt my presence might be an intrusion into her life.  That’s as much the story of my life – I shall never intrude upon another’s life.

Patti Smith:  There were a few years of my early transition that bring strong focus in my memory – 1977, 1978, 1979.  These years marked the beginning of the heart of my long-running transition.  I experienced strong emotions during those years and those emotions remain fixed.  Allow me to share that music caught and preserved my emotions.  There were two songs from Patti that make my focus:

  • ‘Privilege’:  I have a version of this song from a decade earlier that was little more than rote production.  Smith put her emotion to this version and made it personal for my struggles.  This song rescued me from my thoughts of suicide in the midst of my early transition days (https://youtu.be/u-7fibt4DU8).

Genya Ravan:  She is a Shoah hero; I am a humble student of the Shoah.  She brings it back – ‘Urban Desire’ (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8umFHHqNNfmuCc_HkcZRG_bbQEhiV-9L).

Ellie Wiesel:  I attended the ‘Seeds of World Conflict’ course at University of Utah (Autumn quarter 1983).  Mr. Wiesel was one of the presenters.  Wow!  What an opportunity to meet this man.  I had been a ‘student of the Shoah’ since my early high school years.  I would later complete another course in the Shoah at Grand Canyon University.

  • ‘Indifference is the greatest sin.  Hatred is a disease.  You must speak, you must take sides, neutrality helps the oppressor.’

Maria Masters:  I watched many of the interview shows during the 1980s:  Phil Donahue, Sally Jessy Raphael, Geraldo Rivera, Jenny Jones, Joan Rivers, etc.  These shows frequently included a panel of guests.  Maria was one M-F who made the talk-show circuit rounds.  She invited people in the audience to write to her; I took her up on her invitation.  We maintained a pen-pal correspondence for more than a year or two then lost contact with each other.  She held one insistent warning to me and others – be carefull about going public because you will lose your privacy.  I did not know the term ‘stealth’ but her admonishment kept me in stealth all these intervening years.  Here’s to you Maria hoping you are doing well now.

Dr. Chettawut Tulayaphanich:  He is considered among the world’s top three best GCS / SRS surgeons.  It has been(2016 02 xx) Dr Chettawut Thank You Card (cover) an honour that Dr. Chettawut has allowed me to know him beginning with our correspondences last June 2015.  Many of you have met Dr. Chettawut, many will meet him one day as their surgeon.  I hope he will bring peace to your life.  I have been floating a trial balloon to organise a re-union of Dr. Chettawut patients – perhaps a week or two next year around January or February when the weather is not quite as humid and rainy as other times during the year.  Baan Siri Cottages could be a good place for all to stay – a homecoming residence to the many who stayed there for their services with Dr. Chettawut.  Baan Siri has a large restaurant that can be booked for events.  Baan Siri is close to the airport, close to rail terminals (Hua Mak and Phetchaburi stations) and bus, close to Dr. Chettawut’s clinic.  Is this pie in the sky or is it possible?  It is for you alumnae to decide.   Sahwdee Kah and Kapung Kah!

Here is a Google Maps URL to see the ‘street view’ of Dr. Chettawut’s clinic at Bangkok (dated November 2014):

Here is a Google Maps URL to see both Dr. Chettawut’s Clinic and the Baan Siri Cottages – less than 10 miles apart.

Here is the Google Maps URL for the Baan Siri (Bangkok Rama) Hotel at Phatthanakarn Road:

*

Timmy G:  He was a neighbour from across the street where my family resided at Windsor Avenue when I was a small child.  He and his family moved to a ranch; I read a few years later that he won a championship in competition in youth ranching.  Way to go, Timmy!

Debbie T:  She was another neighbour from across the street where my family resided at Windsor Avenue.  Sadly, she got involved with illicit drugs during her teen years.  As I recall the events, a drug dealer named Hector kidnapt Debbie and two of her friends, drove them to Mexico, injected them with an overdose of drugs, and left the three for dead.  Debbie succumbed to the overdose; her two friends survived and reported the crime to American authorities.  The strange connection in this is that I also knew Hector when he caused an uproar at Thanksgiving Day dinner the year earlier.  Did you remember that, Bev?

Jeff Z:  We grew up together beginning 3rd Grade.  His family was a second family to me for many years – even after high school.  We were friends through Boy Scouts together, we tented together when our Troop went camping during school year weekends, we were team-mates during Morse code competition at that Boy Scout Jamboree (1971).  During sleep-overs at his home, we frequently slept in an alcove on the roof – adventurous kids, we were; looking at the on-line mapping web-site, I found his home where he and I played together, that house is now being re-constructed, our alcove is gone.  I lived with Jeff during the last two weeks before my dad, Slim, and I moved to Greece (1971); I lived with Jeff when my dad, Slim, and I returned from Greece (1973).  I visited Jeff the next Summer when my dad was on his way to Brasil (1974):  we went boating and swimming at the lake with other former class-mates, his mom (a nurse) took care of me when I incurred heat stroke, Jeff confided in me of some personal experiences that Summer, but I feared returning the favour.  Our homes were 200 miles apart during those years after Greece.  I travelled to visit Jeff and his family as however and whenever I could throughout the years; Jeff came to visit me when I lived at Williams while working for the Forest Service, I was awkward as a host.  Jeff spent Summer 1983 working for a law firm at Salt Lake City; we visited a few times, that was the last time we saw each other.  I tried to correspond with Jeff at various times since then – e-mails during 1990s; I presented myself to him as only Sharon in my e-mails, I didn’t tell him that I was Nick, I recounted to him the many events that we shared throughout our years of friendship, events that only he and I knew.  Dunno if he figured it out; likely, he never replied to me.  I moved to Phoenix in 1993; I was up for my experiment for Jeff who worked at that Phoenix high rise on Central / Osborn that was designed to appear as a keypunch card.  He’s the guy I went to wait for at the lobby (January 1994).  I was determined to know if Jeff could recognise me after our many years of separation – he didn’t.  Or maybe he did and he chose to ignore me, chose to keep walking.

Dawn F:  She was a 4th Grade class-mate and probably my first girl best friend.  My sister unrelentingly teased me about her.

Debbie E:  We were friends and class-mates during 5th Grade; she sat in front of me along the left-most aisle.  We blew fuzzies.  ‘Buggy!’

April F:  We were class-mates during 8th Grade.  She is of note to me for the way she styled her hair.  She had a haircut short for a girl, shorter than mine for a Catholic school boy, yet had a way to style her hair in a very feminine manner that I copied at home when I dressed in my sister’s clothes after school.

Steve T:  He is the son of Uncle Frank.  Orphaned with his two sisters, his family sent him to the foster care and adoption system never to be heard from since 1970 while their grandparents took custody of both his sisters.  My father and other family refuse to answer my questions about Steve.  Kathy, Jean, Nancy – I dare you to come clean about cousin Steve.  Beverly, how dare you claim you never heard of your own cousin Steve!  Family told me to forget about Steve; nope, I think about Steve every day and ponder how life has been for him.

Laurel J:  She was my 10th Grade English teacher.  We also became friends that year and for many years later.  I wrote about Laurel in my ‘Pescadero’ post.  I had an opportunity to visit her at her home at up-state Pescadero one Summer.  I nearly confided my personal secret to her but chickened out when she saw some incriminating papers fall from my high school yearbook and gave a strange expression to me that I was not certain whether she was re-assuring or supporting.  I did come out to her a few years later.  She visited with me briefly during my time at Utah (1982).  We talked for many, many hours during her two-day stay.  She thought she could convince me to cease my transition.  She frequently told me, ‘Nick, you are an attractive man; you can have any woman you want.’  I have no acceptance that I was an ‘attractive man’ when I perceived that my male appearance was ugly.  Laurel was among the first friends whom I informed of my successfull transition to female full-time and forever (1985).  We eventually lost contact with each other.

Mary C:  We were 10th Grade class-mates (1971 – 1972 school year).  We danced at the prom that school year; I crashed at her residence at the American Farm School following that prom.  We remained in contact through letters and cassette tape recordings.  She was one of the first friends to whom I confided my secret (1978).  She initially supported me.  Suddenly, after three decades of friendship, she sent an e-mail to me calling me vile names and telling me to not bother writing to her again (2002).  An earlier e-mail from her accomplished one vital result – cover for my change.  A co-worker asked me to teach her about Internet e-mail.  I happened to open a new e-mail from Mary; she referred to me in my female persona during our high school days.  What a gift from her!

Mary G:  She was in 11th Grade the year of my 10th Grade; she asked me to be her prom date that school year.  We ate our dinner and spent time talking; we had a few dances.  I felt bad that I also turned my attention to Mary C. at that same prom.  It took one year for me to correct my error; I did so at the prom when she was in 12th Grade and I was in 11th Grade that following year.  School teachers pressed me to ask Lee Anne to the prom when I was in 11th Grade – she wanted to attend, she was hot wanting me to ask her to be my date, few boys asked her, she passed on them and waited for me to ask her; I agreed to it.  Recall that, to many class-mates and teachers, they curiously considered me a catch and in demand as the Dasahori student when I attended an American international school at Pylaia, Greece (1971 – 1973).  Through the course of that prom night, I found it easy to let Lee Anne go when she wanted to dance and socialise with other school-mates; her departure allowed the opportunity for me to re-settle for a make-up night with this Mary.  We had a great time talking and dancing.  Did she realise how close I came confiding with her that night?

Clinton D:  This is how small a world we live in.  School-mate brothers from Pinewood School (Pylaia, Greece) once were school-mates with Clinton (Albuquerque, New Mexico).  Here we were, Clint and I, a chance meeting at the school bus stop talking as we waited and discovering our common past.  Small world, indeed.  We became friends in our own right beginning 12th Grade.  I stayed with him as he prepared for duty with the Navy – stationed at Yokosuka, Japan, where his mother’s family resided.  We kept in contact throughout his service – letters and cassette audio tapes.  He stayed at my home when he got his discharge; we had a celebration with Vicki H, a mutual friend from high school.  It was during Clint’s stay at my home that we discovered he was rendered ill from Agent Orange – I rescued him from a series of brain seizures that began shortly after his discharge.  Clint and I enjoyed travelling together, sky-diving, music (The Beatles), and talking politics.  Oh, boy!  I made my move from Utah to Tucson (1985) and was about to tell him when he interrupted me with his good news – his marriage was the next week and he wanted me to stand as his ‘Best Man’.  My news would have to wait until after that week.  He initially seemed accepting of me as did his wife; she knew me the preceding several years so it was not as if we were strangers.  At some time a month or two later, Clint’s wife told me that he would not be allowed to visit with me – that it is Japanese custom for a man to depart from all women he knew before marriage and that included me.  Good news in that she considered me female.  Then our relationship soured when Clint took a violent turn siccing four of his buddies on me – all former college football players.  I was fortuneate that my car started quickly allowing me to make a fast getaway that Sunday morning.  Clinton and my dad ganged up against me (November 1985) trying to physically intimidate me to not change;  they had no idea it was a fait accompli – or maybe they wanted me to change from female to male.  Clinton and his wife eventually moved cross-country.  I wrote and re-wrote an anniversary card last year – it was difficult to put to words what we both missed these past 30-some years.

Lisa C:  She was my girl friend from the mid-1970s.  We attended high school not quite knowing each other – she a 10th Grader on Yearbook staff and I a 12th Grader in the Photography class; I have no specific recall of her during that school year though we surely would have met doing projects or discussing lay-out.  We became friends the next school year – she in 11th Grade and I a student of the local community college attending classes held at the high school.  We re-acquainted in a curious way that I shall retain as our secret.  We found each other to have the same circle of friends; one would not make it much further in his life – he would perish in a car crash on Charleston Road (1975).  Lisa continued seeing me while I still appeared ambiguous (to 1978); the next time she saw me was when I finished my ‘male fail’ and delayed completing my transition for a week or so (1985).  Recall I was not quite steady presenting to my father though the time would occur within the month.  Lisa and I met at the end of the school day where she worked at the local high school (1985); my appearance was obviously female as you can see in my 1985 college ID photograph, but I had to present as male to her and my dad in this circumstance.  Lisa and I instantly recognised each other though we had been seven years apart.  It was gratifying seeing her but I could not tell her in that environment.  Years passed; my dad acted as go-between shuttling messages and ‘Hello’ notes between us – until my dad fell terminally ill at school during one of his lessons (1989).  I called and commiserated with Lisa several times during those subsequent months; I identified myself to her as Sharon, not Nick, and she comprehended.  Again, my father’s illness and his passing was not the time to discuss my specifics.  A few years later, I moved 250 miles distant and I found myself an opportunity to travel to take care of business near where she resided and worked.  We missed meeting each other at her mom’s home.  This was the occasion when Lisa’s mom and I chatted for a while; I felt bad not explaining to her mom who seemed confused of this woman in her presence reminiscing about events in her daughter’s life when she was dating Nick.  I have written, re-written, and delayed mailing letters to Lisa; I occasionally travel to her community on business.  We both have moved on in our lives yet I want to see her at least one last time without being an intrusion into her life. Part of my hesitance is my fear that she may react negatively.

Linda:  As a preface, my profuse apologies to you for I do not recall if this is your name; it is the name as fixed in my memory.  We met when you came to the military base where I was employed as a civilian (1978).  You were there for your two-week TDY assignment to conduct your periodic audit of our Directorate’s activities.  The employees gathered at the Director’s Office to await your appearance while you were speaking to the Director; it was a sad spectacle and I felt your pain knowing that could as much have been mine at any time in the past or future (and it would be).  I made eye contact with you during our office introductions – I wanted you to know that I am with you, even today.  You were gentle with me as I trembled speaking to you in private the first time; we shared a great evening later that first week.  I promptly made contact with Janus exactly as you advised; the results are recorded in this site.

Terry S:  We became co-workers at our Forest Service employment (1981 – 1985).  She had a series of boyfriends, but I was there for her as we gradually became friends.  I could be her dutifull male friend who helpt her move from one apartment to another, helpt install her washer / dryer set, go shopping with her and her daughter Sonja, or just came to visit with her at home sipping coffee and talking for hours at a time.  We had one rough event that made me feel bad what she did but we got over it and no hard feelings were the agreed result (1983).  She was a smoker at a time when smoking was allowed indoors at work.  One day she brought her pack of cigarettes and ash-tray to my desk when I was teaching her work tasks.  I asked her to please not smoke at my desk; she took offence at my request and filed a formal grievance against me.  My low point came during a visit and coffee at her home (1985).  She began looking at me – studying my appearance.  Mid-sentence during conversation she asked me why I had no hair on my arms or face.  What could I say to her?  I was nearing the end of transition but not willing to spill the beans on my privacy; I could not take the chance that she would repeat my situation at work.  I am so sorry, Terry, that I felt cornered and had to lie to you.

Dr. Charles R:  I departed on my Forest Service transfer to Utah (1980).  I would be off meds from the time of my last prescription before the move (1980) until I met Dr. Charles during an out-of-state business trip (1983).  He readily accepted me into his practise and granted prescriptions for me – 6.5 mg purple Premarin to re-start and gradually easing to generic estrogen at 2.5 mg per day through the next decade.  I learned and used phyto-estrogens during the intervening years of 1981 and 1982 from the Salt Lake City 9th and 9th herb store; I have no scientific way to know whether phyto-estrogens worked as a substitute.  Dr. Charles was quite pleased when I presented to him as Sharon (1985); I proved that I made successfull progress during those the years and was secure having completed transition to female full-time forever.

Betty:  She was one co-worker at my Forest Service location who was truly supportive of me defending myself against their retaliation.  She knew my feminist politics outside my job certainly contributed to being targeted by agency management appointed by an extremely anti-feminist president.  She frequently clipt news articles for me; I have one framed and in a place of honour at home.  We enjoyed working jigsaw puzzles together during break-time and lunch-time.

Debbie E:  We became friends through our membership and activities with a civics organisation located at Utah.  She frequently invited me to Fridays and weekends at her home.  I’d bring my VCR; we’d watch movies, other times I set up my VCR for her daughter to watch movies in her room while Debbie and I talked politics.  We saw ABC’s ‘The Day After’ event on TV together.  Debbie brought me to read Mary Daly’s ‘Gyn-Ecology’.  I invited Debbie to join me to attend the ‘Seeds of World Conflict’ classes at University of Utah (1983).  Debbie introduced me to Sonia Johnson; I filmed some of her presidential campaign activities (1984).  I wanted to tell Debbie about my self.  She seemed a good try considering her feminist leanings.  I sensed an under-current, however.  I had no knowledge of the term TERF at that time in the past, but it was what I suspected of her – correctly or not – that eventually convinced me she was not a good tell.  I’ll not know the accuracy of that decision unless we meet again.

Lee Anne W: She was the impetus for the civics group in which I participated for nearly four years.  I made speeches at public events as a member; I produced a film journal of the group’s activities.  She owned two Lhasa Apso dogs; I got to care for them for a week or so when she went out of town.  She remains politically active in Utah politics; I wrote to her puzzled that she now runs as a Republican.

Timothy H:  We met at a protest against the Mormons, their opposition to the ERA and Constitutional rights for women, and their intrusion of religion into politics (1983).  He was from Spanish Fork but then residing at Salt Lake City with his wife who accepted him as homosexual.  I did not know he was homosexual at first; he managed to tell me about himself though I could not muster the fortitude to tell him about myself.  I presented to him as a heterosexual male; he never made any pass at me – at least none that I recognised and none any way similar to co-worker Steve from my Forest Service job (1980).  I felt safe hanging out with Tim and his group of homosexual male friends many Fridays or Saturdays at ‘Gay’ Dee’s.  One day we were sitting on his sofa watching a movie.  He went to grab something and noticed my hands.  He held his hand palm-to-palm to my hand and remarked, ‘You have feminine hands.’  Another time we were ‘rasslin’ on his bed; totally innocent as far as I was concerned, ‘guy stuff’, I guess.  His knee landed between my legs where he expected something was there and profusely apologised.  Then he noticed there was no ‘there’ there.  This time he asked me, ‘Are you a woman?’  I felt trapt again and made some lame answer.  We enjoyed listening to Plague of Locust’s ‘Utah, Gateway to Nevada’ album and book from Cosmic Aeroplane.  Tim introduced me to his Lesbian friends, Carol and her wife (sorry, I do not recall her wife’s name).  We became our own foursome.  We shared a going away potluck dinner for me when I departed Utah (1985).  Tim was on my short list of telephone calls that I made during mid-1985 when I revealed my self.  He exclaimed, ‘I knew!  I was right!’ when I told him of my completed transition.  As with my friends from my past, we lost contact.  Hey, Tim, are you still there?  Does anyone still go to ‘Gay’ Dee’s at downtown Salt Lake City?  Tell them ‘Hello’ for me.

Nancy T:  She is more than a sister to me though she is the daughter of my mother’s older brother and his wife.  If you read my ‘Not the Mommy’ post (among others), then you read that I wrote how it could be possible that we are sisters – stranger events are true.  Her family and my family encouraged us to become pen-pals and write to each other; we did so throughout our lives as our families travelled the world and we compared our adventures.  She was the first relative I wanted to visit post my 1983 operation; I secured plans to travel to her location at Parachute, Colorado, for Memorial Day weekend.  I arrived exhausted from the drive yet eager with excitement and wanting to tell her in my enthusiasm; we did not seem to get quiet time to be alone.  Her parents wanted to drive me around the area for a tour of that part of the state.  Then I realised that it might be carefull for me to delay telling Nancy.  She recently converted from Catholic to Seventh Day Adventist; maybe she took a turn into conservatism that had a sharp disagreement about my self.  Nancy invited me to her wedding the next year – an all expences paid trip.  That environment was certainly not the time and place for me to impose my situation upon her – it was her moment, not mine.  I made a film of her wedding; I hope she enjoyed it.  My life and inclination had never been a family secret, what with my open outbursts of feminine protesting throughout my childhood and teen years.  My mom and sister knew all the details of my estrogen prescriptions, though they were in denial and thought those pills were fakes.  Nancy sent a letter to me and enclosed a brochure from her church (1986).  That brochure was a lecture that it was going against her church’s deity for me to change my sex.  Hmm?  Since I am female, was erroneously assigned at birth as male and raised as a boy, and restored my sex to female as a young adult, it seems muddled what sex she was telling me to remain.  Since I am female, then I suppose this brochure meant that I should not change to male; okee-dokee, I’ll stay female.  I had not heard from her since 1986.  I did an Internet search for her last year.  I located a woman with her same name (maiden and married names), same birth information, same personal history, same work history.  Eureka! I thought – I found Nancy.  I sent e-mails to that Nancy.  She returned no reply to me.  One day a few months later I found a brief statement at her Facebook page saying that she is not cousin Nancy and to not bother her.  Oh well.

Connie (‘CJ’) B:  She and I met during an accounting class at college.  We participated in a class work group and became friends; we eventually became more than friends, at least as I perceived our relationship.  She dated me and dined me in her effort to develop our relationship.  I knew her being Lesbian but I had a difficult time coming out to her about my own Lesbian orientation as well as my medical past.  I knew I had female anatomy but I had no confidence that she or any other female would accept me.

Eddie:  We met outside Gibson’s one night before a rock show (1994).  We each chatted our interest in community television.  I had been developing a ‘live on stage’ recorded TV show.  Eddie told me that he produced videos for his band, that most bands were okay being taped for a TV show and the public exposure it would bring.  This was years before YouTube and other Internet video web-sites; a time when few people had video cameras.  I had a slow start getting bands to approve being on my show (‘Rock Club Rising’; you can read about it in ‘Eat the Document’ published by ‘Phoenix New Times’, http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/music/eat-the-document-6421801).  As time 2015-xx-xx-dreamy-morning-frontprogressed, my music show gathered as a snowball and bands eagerly arranged for me to video record them; Eddie’s band was among the frequent regulars.  One day before a performance, Eddie outright asked me if I am M-F transsexual.  I could not take the chance of my being outed; I lied to him, as sorry as I was to do that.  Okay, Eddie, here you know; technically I did not lie, my past is complicated.  As I explained in my ‘Victor / Victoria’ post, there was a time in my life when I was a female pretending to be a male who was living as a woman pretending to be a man.

Alana J:  Wow!  Your autobiography and mine are quite similar; we walked much of the same path but at different times.  We discussed this a few weeks ago.  You can read Alana’s autobiography, ‘Dreamy Morning’ (ISBN 9781515207405).  She poured her heart and soul into her story; it deserves to be read.  Browse her web-sites:

  • ‘DreamyMorning.com’.

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Sahwdee Kah!  May the Friendly Baan Siri Dragon welcome your return down the path in good will and good health, one and all.

 

 

 

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There you go, Dear Reader. I have bored you with another long treatment of my life.  That’s okay.  Writing is good therapy and I enjoyed this walk down my own memory lane.

I withheld comment on the many people of our community with whom I have had contact this past year.  We are a small group and I currently choose not to single out those who may know each other.  It is a way in which I respect your privacy and do not intrude into your personal life; don’tcha know.  You will let me know you are ready to be open to be noted when and where.

Until we meet again … Kapung Kah.

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