Monday, October 27, 2008

Why does this have to be so hard?: April 11, 2008

I’ve asked that of myself many times in my lifetime. And as I meet others that have traveled down (or starting their travels) this road, I also see them struggle to gain what they have dreamed of all their lives. Do we make it harder than it has to be? I have to wondered sometimes. There are times when I feel like I’m on top of the world, but out of nowhere something happens, or something is said that knocks me down a few levels. There is so many thoughts and emotions going through my head right now, I hope I can contain them all while I’m writing.

I was touched the other day when I watched Lori D’s latest Vblog. I sat there a cried with her, I couldn’t believe it hit me so, but it did. It just got me thinking and asking myself why it is so hard to live this life. Why can’t we just live our lives as the person we believe our selves to be and not be afraid of what others may say or do to us. Most of the stuff I can take, but there are still things that concern me such as the violence many of our brothers and sister have had to go through just because they tried to live their life as themselves.

I seem to be at a cross road right now, and find that it is getting to hard to contain these feelings anymore. It’s getting to the point that I’ve just about blurted it out at work that I’m transsexual. I see others that are out and living their lives as women and it just makes me want it even more. I’m not ready to go fulltime, at least I don’t think I am. But I still find myself ready to jump to that level before I think I’m ready. What is happening to me? I know who I am, but no one else really knows anything about who I really am and what makes me tick. There is very few that get close, but even they may not realize that there is a lot more to me than what they have seen. For example, Steph has seen me dressed and it didn’t seem to bother her, at least on the outside. But she has not had a chance to really get to know Michelle. The things I’ve wanted all my life. We have talked many times about transition and going fulltime, but I wonder sometimes if she really understands what that would mean for her and what it would do to our relationship, if anything. I’ve shared many things with her over the years and she has still been open with anything I’ve talked about so far, except SRS. I think that makes her nervous. She made a comment the other day that she worries that some of the things I’ve talked about (SRS, I guess any of the surgeries) make her uncomfortable. She worries that something may happen and that I could be disfigured for life. Sometimes I feel like I’ve standing at a cross road, just waiting to cross the road, but afraid of what the other side might bring to the table. Beside just getting across the road, there seems to be some obstacles that may come down either the left or right side and side swipe me into the gutter. My mother always said to look left and right before crossing the road, but I’ve been standing there for so long that I’m not sure how to proceed.

I’ve spent the last 2 months by myself and it gave me even more time to reflect on my life and really look at what I feel I need to do. But like Lori, during this time I found it even more confirming that this is the real me and the person that I seem to be during the day (the husband, father and male worker) have been the masks that just got me by in life. But I have not been true to myself or anyone else and I’m getting so tired of this duality that its making it even more difficult to get by each day. Yes Lori, why does this have to be so hard? I know part of it is how society looks at transsexuals. Yes I’ve got the laughs and the snickers, and little do a lot of these people know that those snickers do hurt. What, we have to develop a heart of stone just to survive as TS! I don’t think that is right, and I don’t want to be that way anymore. I’ve spent too many years with a heart of stone. Letting a VERY select few get past or even nudge the stone to the side. I want to be able to feel all my emotions freely and not have to keep them tucked away for only me to see and feel. Yes it can be hard to deal with society as a TS, but I’m finding it so much harder to not deal with it and keep it to myself.

Lori, you have it so right that we need to stick together and give each other a hand. This life can be difficult at times with all the discoveries we have to go through to even get to a point of self acceptance. So many of us (including me) have had to deal the confusion (Why do I feel this way?), what the teen years due to the body, the self doubt and the guilt of hiding these things all through your life. But there are many wonderful things that can happen also during this time. If you can give yourself a chance to see those things, but they sometimes get smothered by all the doubts that I carried with me all these years. One of the biggest things that has changed in me was when I finally accept me for me and not that shell of a person I have always been. There has been several other discoveries I’ve made over the years that have brought me to where I am today. I think that while we all have so much in common, we can help each other in so many ways. I hope that everyone (Lori, you can always call me) can find a support network to help them through their journey. It can do wonders for both you and the supporter, so reach out.

I hope that you all find happiness in your life.
Hugs Michelle Lee

How to handle the question of religion?:April 14, 2008

Well, this past Saturday the Trans/Partner group that I’ve been attending had another meeting, and we were out all day shopping for a dress for my daughter. And I suggested that we go after doing some shopping. I went to the Transgender T Project (trans photo project) committee meeting before the regular meeting and my daughter joined later for the regular meeting. She showed up on time and I felt great having them there as I wanted to introduce her to a few friends of mine. It was great, Steph did her best to use the proper pronouns. What was great about that was I never asked her to, she took it a pond herself to do this J . I was feeling great at that point, and an ½ hour into the meeting the partners split up and went to another room for their own meeting. Well, we had a nice meeting and when they came back I noticed that Steph had a tissue in her hand rolled up (looked like it was used). I meant to ask her about it on the way home, but we got talking about other things and it slipped my mind until we got ready for bed. I asked her if everything was alright today at the meeting and she said it was, but she did cry a little. She asked how to handle the trans issues and her religion. She was brought up in a Catholic house and had always been very close to god, and I believe this had caused her a lot of issues in the beginning. She said that she asked how to handle this because she believed the bible says that being trans, gay or lesbian was not right. I forgot what she said the group told her, but I tried to explain how I felt about it. I told her that I felt that me being transsexual could not be a sin since I have felt this way since I was so young and that I felt I was born this way. I went on to explain how there are many birth defects (not sure if I feel comfortable calling it a birth defect, but it will do for now) in life and I could not see how god could turn his head on someone that had one. I used intersexed individuals as one example, and went on to explain what that meant (to make sure she understood).

We talked last night tell 2am about all this. She still seems to be behind me, but I was wondering if anyone has had to deal with the question of religion and being trans with anyone and how they have dealt with it and explained it to the other person. I guess I am just looking for some advice for the future, in case the subject comes up again as it may when I begin to come out to her cousins and aunts. It looks to me like she has gotten past that question, but I thought if I could reassure her in some other way it may help her along even more. Please help with that question, any advice would be appreciated.

I also talked with my daughter some more today and asked her if she has talked to any of her friends about the trans issues. I heard a rumor she was afraid I didn’t want her to tell any of her friends. She told me so far she has only talked to her boyfriend (gee whiz that sound so weird to hear me saying boyfriend when I talk about my daughter, lol). He was ok with it as he knew of several trans kids in his school. I thought that was awesome, because I have been trying to hide my chest when he has been over, lol. Sine I didn’t know she talked to him and as ok with it, I didn’t want to disturb their relationship until she was ready. I was glad to hear that she talked to him about it. I also told her that if she felt she wanted to talk to any of her other friends about it, that I didn’t mind and I’d rather her talk to someone (if not me) then keep it all inside. It’s good to talk about these issues. A few years ago, I think I would have told her not to say anything, but I believe I’m ready to step out of my comfort zone now and start reaching out to others and hope that they will learn something and try to make it a positive experience for them.

Well its been an interesting week with the move and all the talks I’ve had with Vicky and Stephanie. I’m just glad to be home and I hope the positive things keep happening between us. Well, I’ll close for now, I hope you all have a great week. I hope to do another Vblog soon, so keep an eye out ;).

Hugs Michelle

Doing my part for the community. Please see the following if you live in the Tri-State New York area:

The Loft LGBT Community Services center is overseeing a multi-media exhibit called ‘The T Project’ that seeks to answer the question of who comprises the “T” in the LGBT Community. By utilizing photographs, written word and video, we are setting out to counter the media’s often lurid and sensationalist portrayals of transgender individuals. ‘The T Project’ will present framed black-and-white photos of transgender individuals in various forms of mainstream life – with parents, spouses/partners, children, at work, in religious service, etc., - with accompanying testimonials from family members, friends, employers, etc. it is our hope to show the communities we live in just who we really are – their neighbors, co-workers, students and teachers, friends and family.

With a scheduled September, 2008 roll-out, the exhibit will then travel to a number of highly visible trans/LGBT friendly venues in Westchester Co and neighboring counties, residing for public viewing at various locales before moving on to it next destination. Initially the project is slated to run through the end of the calendar year, although that may change according to need.

We are currently seeking participants who would be comfortable participating in such a project and could contribute an accompanying written piece, and photographers willing to work within the project’s framework. (Please note: The T Project has no monetary-compensation component, although all photographers will receive public credit for their work.) Subjects under the age of 18 would require to have a legal guardian sign a photo release form as provided be the Loft.

Please feel free to contact Stephanie Bonvissuto or Ms. Shelly Abbott, head of the Creation committee, via The Loft’s Helpline at 914-948-4922 x14, or at, for official criteria guidelines, or with any questions you may have.

Thank you for you consideration. Together, we can make a difference. Together, we will be seen and heard.

Girls Night out! May 04, 2008

I must say that yesterday was a busy day. One of my girlfriends invited me to join her and another friend of ours out to a local (semi local to me, 1 hour away) LGBT bar in CT called Triangles. It didn’t take me long to realize that it’s been a long time since I’ve been out and about. I was excited about the opportunity to be able to hang out with a good friend.

Well, as I watched the time go be yesterday morning, I tried to get a few things together before I had to take my daughter to a student council picnic where she was to hang out with the incoming freshmen and answer any question they had about the school. I dropped her off at her school and went back home to try and put together what I wanted to take. I couldn’t decide on what to take so I ended up packing several outfit’s that ended up filling a duffle bag that came to my waist. I packed a couple pair of shoes and a pair of boot that I’ve been waiting for the right time to break them in, along with makeup and a few other little necessities for the evening. I’m just glad that bag had wheels so it made it easier to move around.

We were supposed to meet up at a hotel that most of the girls rent out for the night, this place is TG friendly (specially on the evening of the TG party). When I finally got there, there was several other girls there getting dressed. My friend Brittney and A?? greeted me and we shared a big hug. I proceeded to get ready for the evening and after my personal makeover, I was really starting to get excited about getting out to Triangles. In a way, I was surprised to see so many getting ready at the same time. But it actually turned out to be a nice evening. I met another TS girl, she was very nice and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that she was TS/fulltime. We talked a little bit at the changing room, and later in the evening. It was nice to get to know other TS’s in the area.

Brittney and I had a great time talking and catching up on what’s been going on with each other. She even got out on the dance floor, but I stayed to watch the table. As the evening went on there were more guys that would show up, and I was enjoying watching these two guys dance together. They were pretty good as they dipped and spun around. SH*@, I just realized something. Last night was one of the most freeing times I’ve had in a long time. I felt more confident in myself, but still got a bit of self doubt. I felt more comfortable being myself last night then I do in my drab mode (remember duality?). I think maybe I’m feeling a pendulum swinging but it’s starting to lean more towards the person I need to be. Last night I did not want this feeling to go away. Last night I felt, I don’t know how to explain it. As if something in me was just freed, I felt like I never felt before walking around the bar. And being able to spend this time with a great friend was awesome. One other thing that happened last night was a guy asked me to dance. I said to myself, “What the heck should I say.” I blurted out the only thing I could think of, “I’m sorry but we are leaving in a little bit”. I was flattered that someone would ask me to dance, but I think my shyness got in the way. We left shortly after that. Once we got out side we exchanged hugs. On my drive home last night, I looked back on the evening with a great since of freedom. The Freedom to be myself, the freedom to enjoy the evening through, MY EYES! It’s a nice place to be J I hope I can hold on to it for a while longer.

I’d like to talk about something that Suzi talked about in her blog, “Reaching out”. You never know what a difference you could make in someone’s life. Brittney and I have reached out to each other at times to help support each other in what we were about to do. I see a bright and cheery future for her. I think in a way I was trying to reach out last night. I have been feeling shallow lately and was in need of some justification of me! As we talked I felt more at home in my own self than ever before. I hope this is not a fleeting moment. How do I hold on to it? I know with some of the local and online friends I’ve made, there are a few I admire what they have gone through to get to this point. They all reached out at one time or another and it saved many from feeling worse. Their collective knowledge went along way to help others. I hope that we can continue to do the same for others. I Love what Suzi had said YOU SHOULD NEVER BE ALONE. Remember to reach out...please. So when you’re feeling down, really think about what the song SO SMALL by Carrie Underwood is saying. Find that love for yourself and be free.

P.S. Oh hay, Those boots. They were GREAT! I felt great in them all evening.

The faces of the transgender (Moved from yahoo)

In the time that I’ve been blogging, I’ve made some great friends and we have shared many personal things. Some have been twisted and used against me, but I do write what I feel at the time. The arts (writing poems, music and drawing) has always been a outlet for me, so I found myself typing away. I’m sure, if you read some of my blogs or any of my friends, you will soon realize that for many of us there is only one viable option available to us. You will also see how we have many of the same issues any one of you may have. Sure, I guess my trans status may be comic relief around the lunch room, who knows, but to me it is a personal thing that I have been dealing with all my life and until recently have I come to terms with what I must do. I take my decisions very serious because it does affect many people in my life. At this time I do have the support of my family and feel I have to move on from where I am now, and take steps to speed up my delayed transition plans (10 years so far ugg).

It seems that I have been away for a while, and I guess I have, but in that time I’ve been trying to catch any shows that may feature trans people in a positive light. I must say the over the last 2 or so years I have seen many positive changes for the transgender community. There are still too many tragedies still out there though and I really hope and pray that they reach out to others, like many of us have. Can’t beat your sisterly support can you.

Let’s look at a few that have been positive. I’ve been watching America’s Top Model’s show and am very pleased to see that a transgendered contestant named Isis has made to the top 10 so far. I believe she could win, I hope she keeps her confidence up because from what I’ve seen so far, she has a chance to win. Girl, I’m rooting for ya. GO ISIS!!!! I felt she took some pretty great shots. Who knew that she would be part of the show, by just being one the faces in the crowd, but was noticed by Tyra, who didn’t even know she was trans until after the fact. She was one of 3 or 4 models that did background modeling while the contestants did there shoot. Isis was noticed over all the other models even a lot of the contestants. How cool is that.

The next show I’d like to mention, and it’s a must have for everyone to watch if your trans or not. The episode was called "My Secret Self". It looked at the life’s of some transgender kids as young as 6 years old. It was a very touching story for me, and I hope he best to those kids in getting the proper treatment. Treatment many of us wished we had when we were young.

Which leads me to some other news that I hope may have so positive change for our community. The APA is advising changes in college studies to include a increase in training on the transgender issues, in hopes of being able to provide better services to our community. Their recommended changes in access to medical treatment for transgender patients excites me, but I wonder when the insurance companies will fall in line to provide the needed coverage for our needs. I guess time will tell on that one.

The many faces of the transgender community is vast, we are many and we are proud. Many of the faces I see have seen have inspired me to be myself and let go of the shackles I’ve worn all my life. I have found some strength from these shows and many of my friends. So thank you. I’m sure in the upcoming year people will start to notice some changes I’m planning, but I’m not saying anything yet :)

I’ve received some pretty negative emails recently and I’m sorry to disappoint anyone, but the transition will progress. There is nothing that anyone could say now. I know in my heart of hearts what my path must be. This is something that must be done to get back in balance with myself. There is no other way. I’ve tried them all, no doubt. Once I faced the fact that for me, there was only one path that will make me complete, I could then concentrate on what will be good for me and my family. The last several years I’ve have done a lot of soul searching and look forward to seeing many more faces out there, some will stand out and others will wait in the shadows. Where ever you find the inspiration, hold on to it. Till my next blog, I hope you all have a great week end.

Hugs Michelle

Saturday, October 18, 2008

To My Family and friends: October 18, 2008

Dear Family,I wanted to take a few minutes and fill you in on some important information about some changes that will be made in the near future. I will change in some ways, but I will always be the same person. These steps I’m taking are very important for me. I do wish there was an easier way to move forward, but I have not found a better way. I have come to terms with this after careful research, analysis and professional guidance. I don’t take this lightly, I’m more informed then I ever was, and feel stronger than ever that I’m going in the right direction.

If you’re wondering what this is all about. I have Gender Dysphoria (DSM IV code is 302.85 or GID) I am a transsexual. In short. Since I was 5 years old, I have known that I was special and that there was something different about me. I always felt I was a girl, but my body did not match what I felt.

Because of the sex marker on my birth certificate I had to behave a certain way, feel a certain way, be a certain way. Since I was little I always was mindful of the mundane thing we all take for granted. How I stood. How I sat. What I wear. I’ve always been mindful of my interactions with others, and that I was not to femm. I just wanted to blend in to society. Which I did! GID has been crippling at times and I needed to stop fighting this and take action.

What does all this mean?
Well first off it will mean a lot of changes down the road for me and some adjustments at home. I’m working with therapist on the GID issues and have been in a semi-active transition the last 10 years. My first major goal is to live fulltime as a women. I have been making some advancement in that area and expect to start living fulltime within the next 2 years. I have been on hormones for over a year now and have had changes that are becoming noticeable (In the website links, I list a few sites that cover many of the changes you can expect). Some of the changes I make in the future may seen drastic, but I’m taking all this very serious and am under professional supervision. Eventually I will also change my name to Michelle. This will involve a lot of legal paperwork to change the drivers license, birth certificate, exc.. But it will be a necessary thing for me to do to live fulltime.

You may ask why I am doing this now. Well I guess I didn’t have the courage and understanding I have now to face this head on. As a child I never knew that there was anything that would ever help. I thought maybe there was something wrong with me, but I lived with it. I dealt with it daily. Until I was about 30 I thought there was not much I could do about all this. I always thought that all this would go away. But what I found as I got older it became more of a burden in my life. 10 years ago I started to learn about the research studies and finding many transgender friends I began to see a rainbow lighting the sky for my future. But still, I didn’t have the courage then to go fulltime. I do now! I know that this will never go away and I know what I need to do to be the best person I can be to my family and I. Transition!I know that to some of you, this may have be a shock. But rest assured, I given this VERY careful thought. I have also talked with Vicky and the kids a lot the last few years about it and I currently have their support. I’m sure that you may questions for me. I will answer any question that you may have, so feel free to ask.

In closing, I’d just like to I’d like to quote a good friend of mine:Abigail Jensen"In my experience, sacrifice of my own truth only leads to pain for everyone ... not just me, but everyone. There is unquestionably much pain that comes with transitioning, but it is the pain of stripping away the illusion of who we are not, to find the truth of who we are. Painful as that might be, finding and living our truth (whether that includes transitioning only you can decide) offers the only chance that we and those we love can grow to know the truth about ourselves. And only by knowing ourselves can we, and they, find the peace, love and joy we all deserve and desire.

Here are a few sites that will provide plenty of information.
Dr. Anne Lawrence’s resource website
Understanding gender Dysphoria
International Foundation for Gender Education
Gender Identity Research and Education Society
Crissy Wild's Medical Links