Wednesday, December 31, 2008

If You're Happy And You Know It

I have to admit that I've noticed this year passing more than most because I've seen how our granddaughter has grown and changed over the year. (Watch any child and you'll see time passing before your eyes.) She's the delight of my heart, of course.

I don't mind the year passing, perhaps because it's been filled with good memory-making days. Brooke, of course, is first on that list, as are all the silly and fun things Angela and I have managed to get ourselves into. I've never mourned a year. I don't want to go back to any of them, even those I consider "the best." I'm one of those "onward looking" folks who drive others crazy. I like looking back at memories; I have lots of scrapbooks I look through from time to time even. But, they aren't any of the things that keep me going. I'm curious about What Happens Next. I want to know about the next great discovery in science and medicine. I want to see what new things Brooke discovers. We're are expecting a new granddaughter come summer, and I know I'll enjoy great times with her too.

I can't say getting older is any picnic, but it does have it's good things. There is more time to myself, time to try new things and do all those things I wanted to do, or should've done, through the years. I have time to spend with Brooke; I have time to go RVing; I have time to work on a memoir about Angela's transition and a fictional story too. I can sit and read a book, or take a nap, or write to a friend (yes, I still write actual letters as well as email). Most of all though, I can enjoy time with Angela. Although we've been married 42 years, I've wanted to know this new person Angela more and more. She's almost 9 if you count from her SRS (sex reassignment surgery), and you know how 9-year-olds are - a little silly, a little snugly, a little of all sorts of this and that. Well, that's Angela all over. She's into everything, way more than me, so I learn lots of stuff from her. I think I read a lot, but she puts me to shame. I read about a book a week; She's finished three. I read one magazine a week, and she reads three. She knows the news before it's news half the time. Isn't that great? Between Angela and Brooke, I don't have a chance to feel older.

Okay, there are a few more aches and pains around than when I was 20, but So What! I'm healthy, and most important, I'm happy. I love Angela, Audra, Brooke, my puppies, and all the rest of my family. I love to see what Angela and Brooke are going to come up with each day, individually and together. I love seeing Audra grow as a woman and mother, and I enjoy seeing her marriage grow. I love watching my puppies play, although I still miss Kathryn the Great more than I can say (she died in November), I love Snowball's Chance and Cassandra. I just plain love each day. I hope you do too. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My transsexual nurse

It was my turn, I guess. I've always played Nurse Nellie when David/Angela managed to have any of his or her variety of accidents. They ranged from falling off a ladder - once as David and once as Angela; two heart episodes, again one as each; many bangs, bruises, cuts and gashes. I've been the one with the hydrogene peroxide, gauze, ace bandages, neosporine et al. I've also been the one who insisted, "We're going to the hospital on this one."

Yesterday was a gorgeous day, and there was no rain in the forecast for at least two days. It seemed the right day to spray the "No-Vegetation-Forever" weed killer. Our RV parking area was overgrown, and the sprouting vegetation in our driveway was forcing cracks open in the asphalt. So, I got busy. What I didn't do was pay attention to where my head was. Yep, I gave it a solid clunk on the corner of one of the RV room extentions. I assured myself of no serious injuries, and then I made several rude remarks to the offending corner and about my own inattention. I was soon back to work, however, although well away from the RV. Ten minutes passed, and then I noticed something dropping from my nose and then off my chin. I blinked away a bit of dampness on an eyelid, and puzzled, I reached up to see what the heck was going on. My forehead was covered in blood, and it was rapidly dripping down my face. I headed for the woodworking shop where Angela was putting together her latest project for baby Brooke - a desk/toy box arrangement. She took one look at me, grabbed my arm and headed me toward the sink. Due to previous accidents of her own, all the necessities were readily available. After a thorough washing out, hydro-peroxide and etc, she applied pressure to the top of my head and marched me into the house for further aid.

I'm happy to report that, outside of a gash about 3/4" long on the top of my head, I'll survive. She wouldn't even let me go back outside. She picked up all my stuff, and then returned to make me a cup of tea and hand me my book. "You're in for the rest of the day," she said. See how lucky I am to have my own T nurse around. She continued to check up on me through the afternoon, touching up any oozing, administering gauze and refilling my tea. What more could a wounded, inattentive person ask for? Yep, this is another Best Thing About Being Married To A Transsexual.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holidays with a Transsexual

Again I know how blessed I am to have a T in the family. She's just plain tops in the kitchen! She can lift the heavy pots that I'd have to struggle with - like the turkey in and out of the oven, quickly and efficiently. She's great at carving it up too. Since I've retired, she's stopped doing all the cooking, which is fair, but she continues to do ALL, and I mean ALL of the clean-up. Now, who could ask for more than that?! But, even given that, she was in and out of the kitchen to help with this and that as I was getting prep done. She also always sets the table when we have company, even when it's just the kids. We had Daniel's folks over Xmas Day evening for dinner, so we had 6 for dinner, so there was plenty of cooking going on.

She's just a treasure with the gathering up of all the discarded wrapping paper and helping with keeping the various piles of gifts organized so we can get pics with each person and their gifts. Then she whips it up into bags so those who are away from their homes can take them easily. She's very organized without being anal about it. It's positively GREAT!

She's a good hostess too. She helped with all the falderal that goes with Xmas with guests. Almost none of that would have happened before the transition. He would have helped with the clean-up, and he'd have been "nice" to the guests, but, as I said above, the transition has made a remarkable difference. It's still fun to watch her interact joyously with folks, even after almost 8 years since the transition (Jan '01). She's also right in there with the kid and all her toys too! What an entertainer she is, and the two of them together are quite an act.

Anyway, I'm blessed to have a T in my life. If you have one, I hope you are equally blessed!
Happy New Years to everyone

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Me? I'm a Straight Lesbian

Okay, I know everyone doesn't agree with me on this, BUT, it is MY OPINION that those who hurl "you've killed my loved one," to anyone who is transitioning, is WRONG about that. The "killing off" of that person is the person doing the killing, not the person who is transitioning. THAT IS DIFFERENT than deciding that one cannot face being viewed as, oh, the horrors of it all, a lesbian! Give me a break. Lesbians are people too! If people could get over labels, most people would get over themselves and their fears of being labeled. Okay, I get it that some folks think they can't have sex unless it's between a man and a woman, including the penetration stuff. I don't think there are that many folks out there that haven't heard of masturbation, sex toys, and all the other ways that one can come to orgasm with the person you love without a penis being involved.

We are often asked, "are you a lesbian now?" by students. My answer is what I titled this piece - "I'm a straight lesbian." That usually gets a laugh, and then Angela and I can talk about labels and how they don't always fit everyone. Labels are okay if you are talking about large groups in general; but when you are talking about specific people, it's usually better to talk about the person and not label them as one thing. Saying that Einstein was only a (pick one) scientist/mathematician/physicist wouldn't exactly fit the bill would it? He was much more. So too are your friends and family. I don't introduce my friends as "this is Josey, she's a heterosexual." I introduce her as my friend, and then I tell more about how special she is. What she does in bed with a partner/lover/spouse NEVER shows up in the conversation. Why should it? Why should anyone care what she does, or what I do, in the bedroom. I don't want to know what my friends, or yours, do in their bedrooms.

I married straight. My spouse became a woman. Now I certainly appear to be a lesbian. But to merely say we are two lesbians negates the 35+ years we were married as husband and wife. David didn't die, and we are still married, and we are still as much in love as we were when we married. David became Angela, took hormones, had some parts rearranged, and now she is who she should have always been. I'm glad I wasn't so worried about being possibly being viewed as a lesbian that I would have lost my spouse, who happens to also be the person I love more than any other.

I was called a lesbian when I was younger because I stood up for homosexual friends, one of those times was just months before I married David. Those folks were wrong then, but I didn't care. "Sticks and Stones my break my bones, but words can never harm me" is something we all learned when we were kids. I still believe it's so. My lesbian and gay friends are as dear to me as my heterosexual friends, and I don't give a fig what any of them do in their bedrooms. I don't introduce them as my lesbian or heterosexual friends, I introduce them as my friends. I also don't care if folks consider me a lesbian, because that doesn't begin to define me.

I'm sorry if your spouses can't see their way clear to get over the fact that others might view them as lesbians. I'm sorry that the only way they think they can have a "marriage" is to have penetrative sex with a man. That's THEIR choice though, not the Ts.

We used to be afraid to tell anyone there was CANCER in the family! We used to be afraid to let our children play with a kid who's parents were divorced. We were afraid to have someone of another race move into the neighborhood. Very few women worked. Now, wearing pink to support cancer research is popular, and everyone talks about it, openly! Now, more than half of marriages fail, and one parent families are the NORM; noone worries if their kids play together anymore! Diversity rules in neighborhoods, schools, and the workplace now. Women are half the workforce. Aren't all these changes better? I think they are.

Don't be afraid to stand up and say, Gays are people too, and I'm proud to be part of an accepting family. If you are worried, have qualms, or are afraid about having a T or a gay in your family - get yourself to a PFLAG meeting! That's Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (plus Ts and Bis and Questioning, and all the other letters in the alphabet!)

If you are afraid of what people might think - think of those who wouldn't stand up against the holocaust! "They came for my friends and I wouldn't stand up against them; they came for my neighbors, and I wouldn't stand up against them; when they came for me, there was no one left to stand up for me." Think about it.

There are still pictures of David in our house; there are also pictures of Angela in our house. We still talk of David, and we still use he and him when we talk of those times. David never died, he's part of Angela, he's part of our family, and he's part of us. Now she's Angela and we use she and her. We don't worry if someone sees us as lesbians, or as just a couple. We're still married, we're still spouses, and most important, we're still in love with the same person we origionally married more than 42 years ago.

I know this isn't the way it works for some folks, and I understand; but I hope, someday, it will be that way for everyone who wants it to be.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Same person, different package - there is no death

People change. Children grow from infants - to preschoolers - to teens - and to adults. Parents age and often become dependent, and the person who transitions changes outward appearance as well as assuming more outward traits of their new gender. All of those things are real, and they are natural. Many people say the person transitioning has killed their daddy, or their mother, sibling or their spouse. THAT IS NOT SO! Did I say that loud enough? If every child, spouse or sibling that screamed "you've killed my Daddy/Mommy/Spouse/Brother/Sister" at the transitioning person had their heads screwed on right, they would realize that it is THEY that have "killed" their loved one.

Okay, think about it. When your kids grew up, did you stop loving them? They certainly aren't in the same package they arrived in, not by a long shot. As they grew, their personalities changed; did you stop loving them then? When they became adults, they changed more, as they took on adult responsibilities. Did you stop loving them then? No, because they were still the same person in a different package.
Has your spouse changed from that romantic person you dated? Do they still dress up every day, or is it blue jeans and a shirt?What? There are no more high heels, no vests and ties? Do you two still hang on every word the other speaks? Do little presents happen every week? Do you still go out on dates regularly? Adults change too - same person, differnt package.
So, why do some think that it isn't okay for the transitioning person to change - even dramatically - even into another gender?
It's their choice if they kill off the transitioning person.
Oh yes, there are certainly adjustments to be made, especially for a spouse, but look at it this way. Let's suppose the transitioning person had had a stroke or was in an accident. What if they were suddenly debilitated in some way. Would all of the friends and family think of the person as having died? NO! Would they think the person dead to them because of this dramatic change? NO! In fact, friends and family would EXPECT the spouse to stay and take care of the newly debilitated spouse; children would adjust to Daddy or Mommy: Siblings would adjust to this changed Brother or Sister that's now in a wheelchair, or blind, or whatever else might've been the result of the stroke or accident. But, when a person changes gender, some families fall apart.

Here's my take: they never loved the PERSON. They only loved the "being a couple," having the money, having the just-like-everyone-else person.

Angela and I have been blessed, we are still together (42+ years), our families accept us (except for one sister out of 6 siblings), and most of those who were our true friends are still with us (yes, we lost a few in the transition - their loss, in my opinion).

Angela is the same person; she's just wrapped up in a different package. She's so much happier, and that makes happy. She's so much more outgoing(less inhibited), and that's a plus for me. She's certainly freer with herself to me, our daughter, our family and our friends. I love it. I think I'm the one that is blessed.

One bit of advice to the transitioning person: go slow and follow the Harry Benjamin Standards. You won't regret it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How'd a week get by while I wasn't looking?

Okay, it's December, and the days whiz by. I know that; gads, I can't believe a whole year has zipped by me, much less a week! BUT, I do TRY to not let so many days get by me between posts.

I admit to being worse since Kathryn died. I miss her so much. It's been a month and 4 days right now. She died in my arms at 11:35 p.m. I hate it. That's not to take away the fact that I love our other two dogs, but Kathryn was special. We all have those special pets, and she was one. So, I get lost sometimes, just thinking about her and missing her. Angela has been a sympathetic comfort as she misses her too.

I like winter, but I don't like damp cold, and that's what we've had of late. I get house bound and that means lots of reading and snuggling in. Now, when we lived in snow country, I liked to walk in the snow (No, I didn't like driving on ice at all!), even when there was a blizzard out. We lived in South Dakota, and I grew up in Ohio and Kansas. Angela grew up near Buffalo, and she thrives in winter weather. That means she is always up for raking leaves, trimming trees, and all that outdoor stuff. Good thing, or I'd stay indoors for half our winter months. She takes the baby out to play in the leaves. I go out and take pictures, then return to snuggle in with my book. I love her to death.

We've been RVing too - and it was cold at Duncan Mills (near the coast along the Russian River). We had dirty dog feet problems, but we overcame them with love and patience. Bless Angela's heart. Since we've been back, she jury rigged an extension on our outdoor RV hose so we can wash the dogs feet outside in warm water (we've been using a pan of warm water). She also made a duck board so they won't be standing in mud. Now, that's not only helpful, but above and beyond the call of duty! See what I mean about the bennies of being married to a T.

So, that's how the time gets by me. I'm just blessed with an understanding T that I love to death!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Grandkid and a T

What a combo those two are! They are always up to something, and there is no telling what it might be. They are both inventive, and most of the time, they are inventing ways to get in my hair. By the time I have one area tidied up, another has been turned into a disaster area. I will say this much, though, when it's all over, Angela is as often as not, the final official tidier-up of the area. I guess I fell like I've been running interference all day, so she gets the final put everything in its place detail. They are particularly good at blocks. I find little stacks of them everywhere. Books too, seem to be in piles here and there. I am noticing that te baby is playing by herself more and more. Angela is always hovering nearby if I'm not in the room. That's a good thing. Now that we have the tree up, it's best to not let her out of sight, even for a minute. We've told her it's like the TV - look but don't touch - but, we know how much temptation is in view. So far, and it's been three days, there has only been one ball removed, and that was because she bumped it. No, there are no icicles this year. Safety first. Anyway, if you have a grandchild, a T is the perfect sitter. You see, she gets to experiece all that girlie growing up through the eyes of the child. It's a joy to watch them both go through all the discoveries as they happen. As it happened, Angela, as David, was off fight a war, so she, as he, also missed much of the growing up of our daughter. Now, she can experience it for the first time. What a treat for me.!