Sunday, October 26, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
The 4 male to female transsexuals in the list are Rebecca Heineman, author of Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate and Dragon Wars, Audrey Tang, known for the Pugs Perl 6 compiler, Sophie Wilson, designer of the instruction set for the Acorn RISC Machine, and Danielle Bunten Berry, known for the M.U.L.E. multiplayer video game written in 1983.
Special Note to Those Thinking About a Sex Change, by Danielle Berry
Compiled from a number of emails I sent in response to requests for input from those considering their own change.
Don't do it! That's my advice. This is the most awful, most expensive, most painful, most disruptive thing you could ever do. Don't do it unless there is no other alternative. You may think your life is tough but unless it's a choice between suicide and a sex-change it will only get worse. And the costs keep coming. You lose control over most aspects of your life, become a second class citizen and all so you can wear women's clothes and feel cuter than you do now. Don't do it is all I've got to say.
That's advice I wish someone had given me. I had the sex change, I "pass" fine, my career is good but you can't imagine the number of times I've wished I could go back and see if there was another way. Despite following the rules and being as honest as I could with the medical folks at each stage, nobody stopped me and said "Are you honest to God absolutely sure this is the ONLY path for you?!" To the contrary, the voices were all cheerfully supportive of my decision. I was fortunate that the web didn't exist then - there are too damn many cheerleaders ready to reassure themselves of their own decision by parading their "successful" surgeries and encouraging others.
I can speak the transgender party line that I was a female trapped in a male body and I remember feeling this way since I was 4. But, it's never that easy if you look at it sincerely and without preconception. There's little question that a mid-life crisis, a divorce and a cancer scare were involved in at least the timing of my sex-change decision. To be completely honest at this point (3 yrs post-op) is not easy, however, I'm not sure I would do it again. I'm now concerned that much of what I took as a gender dysfunction might have been nothing more than a neurotic sexual obsession. I was a cross-dresser for all of my sexual life and had always fantasized going fem as an ultimate turn-on. Ironically, when I began hormone treatment my libido went away. However, I mistook that relief from sexual obsession for validation of my gender change. Then in the final bit of irony, after surgery my new genitals were non-orgasmic (like 80% of my TG sisters).
So, needless to say, my life as a woman is not an ultimate turn-on. And what did it all cost? Over $30,000 and the loss of most of my relationships to family and friends. And the costs don't end. Every relationship I make now and in the future has to come to terms with the sex-change. And I'm not the only one who suffers. I hate the impact this will have on my kids and their future.
Anyway, I'm making it sound awful and it's not. There are some perks but the important things like being comfortable with myself and having a true love in my life don't seem like they were contingent on the change. Being my "real self" could have included having a penis and including more femininity in whatever forms made sense. I didn't know that until too late and now I have to make the best of the life I've stumbled into. I just wish I would have tried more options before I jumped off the precipice. I miss my easy access to my kids (unlike many TS's I didn't completely lose access to them though), I miss my family and old friends (I know they "shouldn't" have abandoned me but lots of folks aren't as open minded as they "should" be ... I still miss them) and finally, I hate the disconnect with my past (there's just no way to integrate the two unrelated lives). There's any number of ways to express your gender and sexuality and the only one I tried was the big one. I'll never know if I could have found a compromise that might have worked a lot better than the "one size fits all" sex-change. Please, check it out yourself before you do likewise.
It all scares the hell out of me. Another reason to go slow.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The kids had a great time, just like they would at any wedding of their teacher.
Make sure you watch the video!
Class surprises lesbian teacher on wedding day
Jill Tucker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, October 11, 2008
A group of San Francisco first-graders took an unusual field trip to City Hall on Friday to toss rose petals on their just-married lesbian teacher - putting the public school children at the center of a fierce election battle over the fate of same-sex marriage.
The 18 Creative Arts Charter School students took a Muni bus and walked a block at noon to toss rose petals and blow bubbles on their just-married teacher Erin Carder and her wife Kerri McCoy, giggling and squealing as they mobbed their teacher with hugs.
Mayor Gavin Newsom, a friend of a friend, officiated.
A parent came up with the idea for the field trip - a surprise for the teacher on her wedding day.
"She's such a dedicated teacher," said the school's interim director Liz Jaroslow.
But there was a question of justifying the field trip academically. Jaroflow decided she could.
"It really is what we call a teachable moment," Jaroflow said, noting the historic significance of same-sex marriage and related civil rights issues. "I think I'm well within the parameters."
Nonetheless, the excursion offers Proposition 8 proponents fresh ammunition for their efforts to outlaw gay marriage in California, offering a real-life incident that echoes their recent television and radio ads.
"It's just utterly unreasonable that a public school field trip would be to a same-sex wedding," said Chip White, press secretary for the Yes on 8 campaign. "This is overt indoctrination of children who are too young to have an understanding of its purpose."
The trip illustrates the message promoted by the campaign in recent days, namely that unless Prop. 8 passes on Nov. 4, children will learn about same-sex marriage in school.
"It shows that not only can it happen, but it has already happened," White said.
California Education Code permits school districts to offer comprehensive sex education, but if they do, they have to "teach respect for marriage and committed relationships."
Parents can excuse their child from all or part of the instruction.
On Friday, McCoy and Carder, both in white, held hands on Newsom's office balcony overlooking the rotunda and recited their vows.
"With this ring, I thee wed!" Carder said, shouting the last word for emphasis.
After traditional photos, the two walked out City Hall's main doors where the students were lined up down the steps with bags of pink rose petals and bottles of bubbles hanging from their necks. McCoy, a conferences services coordinator, was in on the surprise and beamed as the children swarmed around Carder.
The two said they have participated in the campaign against Proposition 8 and planned to travel around San Francisco on Friday afternoon in a motorized trolley car with "Just Married" and "Vote No on 8" banners.
The two met on a dance floor two years ago.
"This is one girl I can honestly say deserves happiness, and it came in the form of Kerri," said Carder's friend Dani Starelli.
Creative Arts administrators and parents acknowledged that the field trip might be controversial, but they didn't see the big deal. Same-sex marriage is legal, they noted.
"How many days in school are they going to remember?" asked parent Marc Lipsett. "This is a day they'll definitely remember."
Carder's students said they were happy to see their new teacher married.
"She's a really nice teacher. She's the best," said 6-year-old Chava Novogrodsky-Godt, wearing a "No on 8" button on her shirt. "I want her to have a good wedding."
Chava's mothers said they are getting married in two weeks.
The students' parents are planning to make a video with the children describing what marriage is to them.
Marriage, 6-year-old Nolan Alexander said Friday, is "people falling in love."
It means, he added, "You stay with someone the rest of your life."
As is the case with all field trips, parents had to give their permission and could choose to opt out of the trip. Two families did. Those children spent the duration of the 90-minute field trip back at school with another first-grade class, the interim director said.
"As far as I'm concerned, it's not controversial for me," Jaroflow said. "It's certainly an issue I would be willing to put my job on the line for."
E-mail Jill Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, October 13, 2008
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This is one transwoman's list of "safe" places to go in Nashville.
Let me know if I missed any, and I will add them.