Visible Bodies: Transgender Narratives Retold

Found this story on Advocate.

Visible Bodies: Transgender Narratives Retold

San Diego is helping rewrite the way stories about transgender people are told, through an exhibit of more than 30 portraits of people in the local transgender community.

For more information on Visible Bodies, visit the project’s Facebook page.

A World Of Hurt

 

 

This year has seen several high profile “coming out” stories of trans people of which Kristin Beck‘s is just the latest. As time passes and more people become aware of trans people and their stores, as we see more discussion online and in the mainstream media, the more positive and negative feedback we are going to see. This has been true of LGB part of things for decades and it will be a part of our lives for a long time as well.

If there is one thing history has taught us, it is there will always be those who hate others for any number of reasons. Those who will seek any means to belittle, to marginalize, to dismiss, and discriminate. The reasons are as predictable as the words and actions, having been repeated time and again. They live someplace different, they follow a different religion, they look different, they dress different, they act different, they speak differently… the list can be, and is, endless. If there is one thing to learn about hate it is it needs no reason and nothing you can do or say will do away with it because the justification will shift and change to avoid logical, intelligent discussion. 

One need only look at religion to see how this pointless cycle continues regardless of any effort to stop it. The Middle East will continue to be an endless pit of conflict as long as either side uses religious beliefs as justification. There are no outside forces which will change this until the people involved decide to change. 

It is the same in all other things where one person discriminates against another. Skin color, country of origin, lifestyle, sexual preference… until people decide enough is enough, until each person refuses to turn a blind eye on reality, these thing will continue.

There is a saying; “All evil requires to succeed is for good people to do nothing.”

TRANSGENDER DAY OF REMEMBRANCE – NOVEMBER 20TH 2012

TRANGENDER DAY OF REMEMBERANCE

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR)

Occurs annually on November 20th, it is a day to memorialize those who have been killed as a result of transphobia, or the hatred or fear of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and acts to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1998 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender graphic designer, columnist, and activist, to memorialize the murder ofRita Hester in AllstonMassachusetts.

Since its inception, TDoR has been held annually on November 20th], and has slowly evolved from the web-based project started by Smith into an international day of action. In 2010, TDoR was observed in over 185 cities throughout more than 20 countries.

Typically, a TDoR memorial includes a reading of the names of those who lost their lives during the previous year and may include other actions, such as candlelight vigils, art shows, food drives, film screenings, marches, among others.  The TDoR is the culmination of Transgender Awareness Week.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has extensively covered TDoR on its blog over the past few years.   GLAAD has interviewed numerous transgender advocates, including actress Candis Cayne, profiled an event at the New York City LGBT Community Center, and discussed media coverage of TDoR

 

Originally posted at: Friends & Supporters of The Furness LGBT

If You’ll Pardon Me…

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The closer I get to this appointment, the more tightly wound I am getting. I was already nervous about this because I know my therapist has had the same about of time to come up with questions to start digging into what is in my head and I don’t know what I am going to say.

I know what I have been thinking, what I have been dealing with inside my head, but to talk to her, anyone for that matter, about these feelings, knowing that from the outside, they just don’t make any sense, is tying me up in knots.

I know that it isn’t her place to judge me, but when have you met someone who didn’t make such judgments? It’s human nature.

To look at me, especially knowing the way I look in “boy mode” which is the only way I go into public, and hear the words that would be honest, makes me look like a complete and total fool.

There is no other way I can look at this.

Just how can I come out and say that despite appearances, I’m not male? Not in my heart. Not in my thoughts. Not in my image of myself.

How do I tell anyone to look past the way I present and see the real me?

I don’t know and it is enough to bring me to tears.

On one level I know I am overreacting. Maybe I am worrying over nothing and this will go smooth as silk…. sure.

The thing is, I lack confidence in my ability to make a sane argument for what I feel. I just don’t know how to overcome the evidence that will be right in front of someone’s eyes without sounding insane.

I know I would have a hard time believing me.

I simply have no faith in myself. I really don’t.

The funny thing is, and I mean funny in a sad pathetic sort of way, is that I am much more comfortable typing all of this out for complete strangers than I am just thinking about trying to talk about the same things in a face to face meeting.

Okay, if you’ll pardon me, I am going to go off and have a total nervous breakdown.

Just Memory

 

It’s strange the memories that return at odd times.
I was just letting the music on my Mp3 player come up in any order and I remembered been a young teen singing along with Pat Benatar. That might not seem so strange, except that I always imagined that I looked like her. I would close my eyes and see myself as she appeared on her albums and MTV.
For me it was her and Stevie Nicks and Debrah Harry of Blondie. I loved them all and would have given anything to be one of them.
To this day I still think of wearing one of the gypsy outfits that Stevie made famous or that skin tight body suit Pat wore. From Blondie it was the hair, thought I make a terrible blonde!

Who I Am

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There have been a lot of people who have started to follow this blog recently and I can’t expect anyone to take the time to dig through all my posts to understand who I am or why I am writing this blog. 

To say that the issues I face are complicated is a minor understatement and I really don’t expect anyone who is not dealing with something similar or who knows someone who is, to really understand what I am going through.

Having said that, to those of you who are willing to open your hearts and minds, to try and understand something that may be so far out of your own experience, I say a very heart felt thank you. You are miles beyond too many people in this world.

 

For those who haven’t figured it out yet, I am a Transgender woman. That means quite simply that I was born in a male body with a female brain. To many that won’t make sense, but the fact remains that the way my mind woks, the way I think, the way I see and interact with the world, is as a woman despite the fact that my body presents as male.

I have thought, dreamed. fantasized, prayed and begged to wake up one morning as a female since I was ten years old. It may be that these feelings and self awareness trace back even father but I have suppressed and blocked out a great deal of my childhood until only the strongest, most persistent memories are still clear in my  mind. I can say one thing though, having been raised by a Baptist minister, and seeing what other such men have to say regarding LGBT children, I can understand why deep down I don’t want those memories. If I were to remember being physically, mentally, and emotionally “corrected” the way such men have suggested, then I consider myself lucky to have survived and not find myself locked in a rubber room somewhere. 

 

By the same token, it also explains why I first thought seriously about killing myself when I was ten.

 

I want to note my choice of words there. I said “kill”, not suicide. Suicide is a choice regardless of the reasons. I don’t think at ten I was making a choice, it was something I was being driven to. Putting so much pressure on someone that they see death as the only way out is just another way to kill them without getting your hands dirty. It is a form of murder. That may sound harsh, but I can’t think of any other way to put the seriousness of this into peoples minds.

If someone has been bullied into killing themselves then those who did the bulling committed murder, they just didn’t tie the noose or pull the trigger. They are still just as guilty and I wish on them the same consequences any murderer would suffer.

 

I have been accused and suspected of being gay many times over the years. Always before I would be very hurt by this. I would redouble my efforts to present as male because I knew what sort of treatment I could expect if that label stuck. The fact is I am not gay. Because I present as male I see myself as heterosexual. That is, I am sexually attracted to females. I am not, nor have I ever been attracted to males in that way. If I ever transition fully to female, then I would be a lesbian, not a gay male.

The thing is, there are indeed Transgender people who are homosexual, who are lesbians, who are bisexual. The Trans* community is as diverse as the rest of the population. Being Trans* does not make you gay, but you can be gay and Trans*. 

Okay, everyone got that? Good.

I want to get to another point here, I am closer now to fifty than I am forty. I came out to myself and my wife just before this past Christmas as a result of a near breakdown. There were a lot of things going on in my life and the stress of that added to the stress of trying to suppress who I was on the inside, of trying to be a “man” when I was anything but, finally caused me to snap. I have been married for more than fifteen years and neither I nor my wife understood what was going to eventually boil to the surface. I had so completely buried my thoughts and feelings that even I didn’t understand what was happening. My wife saw only what I wanted her to see, I never really gave her a clue.

If any of you have been sitting there wondering how you missed all the sign, then I say this, if I didn’t understand what I was dealing with, then you wouldn’t either.

Hind sight is always twenty-twenty. What may make you look back and think, “So that’s why!” are things you never had a reason to really wonder about. 

I don’t know if there are things that I said or did that might have given my wife any warning, she hasn’t said and I haven’t asked. At this point that is all water under the bridge.  All that matters is she has accepted me and is doing her best to deal with life as it is now. She has been incredible with her support and I can never thank her enough.

There are a number of things going on my life which require that I maintain my public life as a male. I don’t know when or if I will be able to fully “come out” and live my life as a woman. That makes for some difficult times for me because I find it frustrating to have this growing understanding of myself that I cannot fully express in the ways that I feel I want and need to.

But I have said time and again, there are people in my life who depend on me, who I cannot and will not let down. If that means I have to do things I don’t like, then so be it. I will deal with the consequences of that. I won’t ask others to do it for me. None of them asked to be caught up in this and they deserve better.

So that is where things currently stand. I am in effect living two lives and doing my best to deal with the conflicts that causes. 

One thing I can tell you is this. No matter what my appearance, no matter what others think they know of me there is one truth.

I am a woman who has survived. I am a woman who has faced pain and confusion and I am a woman who will carve her own place in this world.

I am, I have always been, and I will always be:

 

Kira Anne Moore.

 

 

Going Back?

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In wondering just where my feeling lay, I had to ask myself one question;

Do I really think I would be happier if I were able to go back to the way things were?

I took the time to really consider what this question meant, what it implied about who I was and who I am. I thought about what my life was like before, not just for myself but for those around me.

I will admit that there are things about my day to day life that are simply a blur in my mind, I was such an emotional mess, so distracted by trying to make it through each day, by trying to simply get up each day, that I wasn’t living any more, I was surviving.

Surviving isn’t living. It’s just keeping the body alive while the spirit dies.

It is slow motion suicide.

If something hadn’t changed, I would have destroyed everything around me. My marriage, my family, and finally myself.

A simple, plain truth.

So, do I want to go back?

No.

No, I can not see ever going back to what was.

I may be going through a time of adjustment. A time of rediscovery. It may be confusing at times, it may be painful, but I am learning how to live again.

I am learning how to face that life as myself.

I don’t know where I am going with this, but did I know before? No I didn’t. This is all part of going through the phase where we have to learn what it means to be human in a confusing, crazy world. I’m just having to go through it again without all the BS piled on my head. 

So what do I do from here?

I don’t really know and it’s okay not knowing. 

Looking Through Different Eyes

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Sometimes it takes a different set of eyes to see what we miss. (A big Thank You! goes out to Hastywords.)

I have been feeling like I’ve been missing something, some little secret to understanding what I have been thinking and feeling. 

What I was missing was one (now) obvious fact; at the end of the day,  I am still the same person I always was. More honest with myself, more accepting of myself. No longer afraid to be who I really am. Yet still the same person I have always been.

The problem was, I had worked so hard to try and be someone else, I forgot who that person was.

Now I am finding out all over again. I have to learn to trust myself, just as I did when I was a child, to trust my thoughts and feelings. My innate understanding of who and what I am. All those things that were stolen from me by people who were certain they knew who I should be better than I did.

What Am I Not Seeing?

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Music plays softly, filling the silence of an empty house. An instrumental evoking sadness through note and tone. It fits the mood of the day, the hazy sadness that resides in my heart.

I cannot explain why, but I find there is an air of something missing, just this feeling that what once was has somehow changed and can never be regained. I go through the daily routine but it feels hollow and pointless. 

I wonder if it’s a matter of thinking that I should somehow feel differently. 

I’m not sure what I expected when I was finally forced to acknowledge the truth about myself. It is true the feelings of internal stress, the constant feelings of forces within me grinding again each other is mostly gone now. In some ways the feeling of weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Yet there seems to also be something missing, something I cannot put a name to.

What am I not seeing?

I never expected life to suddenly be filled with magic. Never thought things would instantly become wonderful. This isn’t a Disney film after all, but I guess I was thinking there would be some shift in the way I felt about myself, the way in which I saw myself.

I don’t know, I just can’t seem to find the right words. 

In the end, I knew my life would go on much the way it has, there weren’t going to be any earth shattering changes. Not externally anyway. Maybe I thought there would be more change on the inside, and yet I find I feel pretty much the same as I always have. I see myself much as I always have.

This might be because I haven’t made any large scale changes to my appearance, I don’t wear make up outside of the house, I don’t live as female. For all intents and purposes, I still live the majority of the time in boy mode.

I wonder if part of this feeling comes from only being able to take small steps as to maintain that male facade? That I have not been able to wake up one day and set aside all the trappings of my former life?

If so, I had better get my head together because this is how I am going to have to live for the foreseeable future.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining; from the beginning I knew how things were going to have to be, but I guess knowing and doing are two different things. What seems so easy in theory is difficult in practice.

Okay, enough of the self pity. I have a life to live and it isn’t going to wait. I need to get over it and move on.

Now I just have to figure out how to do it.

 

Sometimes It’s the Simple Things

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This has been a pretty good weekend, well, except for the soreness from my long ride yesterday…

I played it more boyish today because I was being lazy. Just a Tee and jeans.

(A thinks it’s funny and teases me that it takes me longer to get ready for anything than it does her and I have to remind her there was a time when I took even longer and that was back when I was working over time to look like a guy… though a guy with good fashion sense… but still…)

The other thing I did which has really made me feel a lot better with myself is I did my nails. Hard to believe that such a simple thing as having nice nails can make such a difference to your self image. Maybe I’m just being a bit vain… I have long thought I had nice nails for a guy and many women have told me that they wish they had nails like mine… now i can take a bit of secret pride in them and spend more time making them look nice. The only thing I don’t like is being forced to use only clear nail polish, oh, and not being able to have a french manicure.. I so want a french manicure, but I doubt I could get away with out one heck of a good excuse, like a lost bet or something..

As for a pedicure? Not so sure, but I am thinking about it. Doing my own toes is a pain just because I’m not that limber any more! Though I might start doing stretches just so I can… is that sad?

I am going to spend some time the next time I’m out shopping to look for tops that are closer to unisex, I am sick of having to maintain two separate wardrobes, though obviously I will to a certain degree just so I have work clothes if nothing else. Still, the more I can lean to the feminine side of the rack, the better.

Now if I could just find a nice wig to complete the look, maybe I wouldn’t want to cry when I look in the mirror…