Thursday, February 7, 2008

This Blog is Moving

I've decided that I'm moving this blog over to my web site - I decided this before the end of last year, and I spent time figuring out how I was going to do this.

Most hosting providers give you access to a version of the Wordpress blogging package, and I discovered that I could use that to import my blog (you'll find that all the pages are here - the only changes I'm doing is making sure that if there were references to pages in this blospot blog they are now referencing my new blog). I'm using the Regulus Theme with some minor tweaks that I've made (the biggest one being using my own custom header image). I'll probably make more tweaks as I go along.

I've included all of the original content that I had on the web site through static pages. In fact, I've also refreshed some of the content that I generated, and included more resource information as well. A big win by going to Wordpress was that I could have comments on the resource pages.

Anyway, please feel free to drop by my updated site. And thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My discovery - an addendum

Last year on my web site Coming Out Trans I wrote an article about how my wife first discovered that I was transgendered back in the early 1990's. To make a long story short, I left a bag in a car that had my clothes, and my wife found it. Hilarity ensued.

Recently I came out to my children. I have a teenage son and a daughter in her early twenties, both in college. I came out to my daughter in the car when I was picking her up for the winter break. It was the best discussion I ever had with her - her first questions were "What pronouns should I use?" and "Do I still call you daddy?". I was very happy about this - I was concerned that she would have issues accepting me.

One thing that came out was that when my wife had discovered the bag in the car my daughter was with her. She was very young, maybe kindergarten age at the time. She said that she saw my mother was upset about the bag of women's clothes and asked her how it got into the car. My wife said that she thought someone had put it there by accident. This had unnerved my daughter because we were always good at keeping the car door locked. How could someone break into our car and leave a bag of women's clothes, she thought. She said that she asked several people how that could happen. Nobody had given her an adequate answer. To this day she had been bothered by this.

My coming out answered the question for her - it didn't happen that way. Her sense was one of relief, not of fear or anger. We both couldn't help it - we laughed about this. In essence my wife and I had unwittingly caused some small anxiety in her that could only be resolved by my coming out to her.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

On "Susan Stanton's Lonely Transformation"

The recent article about Susan Stanton (Susan Stanton's Lonely Transformation) has created a bit of a firestorm in the transgender world. For those who don't recall, Susan Stanton was the City Manager of Largo, Florida who was outed by the press and ultimately fired from her job for transitioning. Now, as I am a non-transitioning transgendered person at this point, I tend to stay away from comments about how hard it is to transition; all I can say is that it must be a lot harder to do it as publicly as Ms. Stanton is (including having a CNN crew following her around for an eventual documentary) than doing it in a more private setting.

Anyway, the firestorm erupted because of some quotes attributed to Ms. Stanton in the article. Probably the most heinous was saying that some transsexuals look to her "like I'm seeing a bunch of men in dresses." Needless to say, as soon as this article hit the web and print a lot of people were up in arms about it, including people like Donna Rose, who blogged her disapproval of this (read her entries for January 3 and 4, 2008). Ms. Stanton has since posted a message to her website explaining how she has been misquoted, but the number of people who will find her message is dwarfed by the number of people who will read the original article.

I remember seeing her on Larry King over the summer and watching her and another transitioning woman stumble over some of the thoughtless questions that Larry King was asking and wishing there was some sort of press training that trans people could go through before dealing with the media. I do understand there is a euphoria that comes over you when you finally accept yourself as transgendered and start being freer to express your true gender. I went through something like that for almost a year after I came out. Your judgment is very suspect at that point, and I think that a lot of trans-people have a problem navigating these waters to find the balance in their life. And it's hard for the people around them to just go "Oh, that's the euphoria talking" - they're trying to come to grasps with something that they don't understand. When they hear some of the strange things we might say without thinking it's hard for them to understand that.

Part of the problem is the media and the need for viewers. Unlike when I was growing up, the media these days seems more focused on serving the interests of their corporate taskmasters than the public's need, which means a focus on the corporate bottom line. That usually translates to more viewers and advertising revenue. By catering to the prurient interests of viewers they think they can maximize their viewer ship, hence the "if it bleeds it leads" mentality. For trans people it tends to focus on such great questions as "Do you pee standing up?" and other nonsense (Larry King asked a question like that).

But let's be fair here - part of the issue here is deciding to go public. It is not an easy path to go, but you have to understand the media is not usually going to be your friend here. The people who I know who have successfully dealt with the press came to them after the fact (I'm thinking of people like Donna Rose and Jennifer Finney Boylan). They had time to transition and to digest what they were going through before running the media gauntlet. The best parallel I know for Susan Stanton is Renee Richards, and even Ms. Richards transitioned before the media hit (but they hit her harder because of the timing of her going public and the fact that she was basically outed when she tried to get onto the pro tennis circuit).

I don't want to come across as holier-than-thou or like a know-it-all, but I think that maybe Ms. Stanton should try to turn down the public life for a bit and just focus on herself. I'm sure it is a lonelier place that she's in right now as opposed to before she was outed, and I do think that her heart is in the right place by trying to make her story public, but I'm not sure if it's the best thing for her. But that's my opinion. It's hard to say, and it's easy for us to just sit her and pass down our judgments on her state, but I do think that she's dealing with the law of unexpected consequences, or, as stated in Hosea 8:7, "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind." I pray that this storm makes her stronger.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008!!!

I wish all my friends a very happy and prosperous New Year! I hope that you all see your dreams come true in 2008!

I hope that all of us - cross-dresser, transgenderist, transsexual, gender queer, or whatever label you use for your self - that we can all find happiness as we express our true selves in our true gender, whatever that might be. You all are a help and an inspiration to me! Bless you all and thank you!

For me, well, I have been going through a lot of stuff at home, dealing with coming out to my kids and trying to figure out what's next for me. I feel like Tina has been on-hold the past few weeks. While I'm out to the kids they have not seen me dressed yet. It's a me issue and a wife issue - I want to do it, but I want the timing to be right.

In many ways I feel like I was making progress earlier this year and that I've regressed somewhat, due to the do-over that I feel I had to go through with my wife. But I have no regrets about that - she is an amazing and wonderful woman. I do love her so much.

As to my web site, Coming Out Trans, I am going to redo the site again over the next few months. I'm learning both Wordpress and Drupal to do content management and presentation. I will redo it first with Wordpress and then bring in Drupal if/when I need to present content in a form that Wordpress cannot handle.

As to content, it's become a victim of time and energy. I want the site to be a good site, but it's a lot of work, and I want it to look wonderful and be easy to use. That takes a lot of work. I plan on reaching out to a few people and organizations to see how I can work with them to help people come out as transgendered. It's not important that the come to my site or someone else's; what's important is helping those who are trans to be able to be honest to those they care about and to themselves. It's a scary step for many of us to take, and there are a lot of people who rationalize why they can keep it hidden (like I did for so many years). That is why I wanted to do the site in the first place.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Coming out to the kids during a crazy time

This is just a quick update to let you all know what I'm up to:

After careful deliberation, my wife and I decided to tell the kids that I am transgendered. I came out to our son over Thanksgiving weekend; I will be coming out to our daughter over the Christmas break. Needless to say that between this, work (which includes travel for work), recovering from a cold and a broken leg (I broke it in early October and it's pretty much healed up), and the holiday's I've had little to no spare time to do anything (including writing well thought out blogs).

More on this when I get a chance to clear my head (yeah, Tina, like there's anything up there to clear out LOL...).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Transgender Day of Remembrance - 2007

So here it is, the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This is the day that we remember those transgendered individuals who have died because of anti-transgender violence and prejudice. Here is a link to one site that lists some of the deaths that have happened this year.

Here is a link to a more complete list of transgendered people who have died over the years.

One thing that I think is bittersweet is that this year there is a page dedicated to the Significant Others, Friends, Family Members, and Allies who have been injured or killed because of anti-transgender bias crimes. How we as a (supposedly) enlightened society can let this happen is just beyond me.

Please take a moment and remember these victims in some small way - a prayer, a moment of silence, however you deem it appropriate. And also keep in mind their families, friends, and other loved ones who go through every day of their lives missing these people.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Social Network Exhaustion

I've been using Yahoo 360 as my main social networking site these days, but Yahoo is going to eventually phase it out. My problem isn't that 360 is going away or moving to a new system. It's where to go. I've been watching where all my 360 friends are moving to, and I can't say that there is really one compelling place to go. Everybody is drifting off to different social networking destinations, like LiveJournal, HoverSpot, and others. The places that I'm currently at are:

* Facebook (but I'm not really active here)
* MySpace (but very out of date - haven't been there in a long, long time)
* Blogger (You're reading this here)
* U R Not Alone (but I'm not terribly active there)
* A few others not worth listing...

My concerns about places like these, especially MySpace, is the ownership of what we post. I want to own whatever I say. I'm afraid that any of these places will try to assert ownership of whatever I post on them. And the more of these social networks I join, the more time I have to spend just checking up on what's going on in them. Frankly, I'm suffering from social network exhaustion at this point.

I've been tempted to just put up my own web site, but how do I get people to visit it? What's great about social network sites is having people find you while they're looking for other things or people (and vice-versa). But - there's no doubt about who owns what code.

What's interesting to me is Google's Open Social initiative - having a bunch of API's that will allow these social networks to interoperate with each other. It's a nice idea, but I don't know if it's going to get enough social networks to join. (Orkut is Google's network, so it's part of OpenSocial, but apart from Brazil it's not really all that popular. MySpace is supposedly interested in joining this, too, but, again, I worry about them and copyright.). And isn't this a little of what Yahoo is proposing with their new Mash web site? Don't know, though, because Mash is an invitation-only beta.

So I'm still here in my Blogger blog and on 360 for a while. I might join LiveJournal, but only because that seems to be where most of my friends have gone. LiveJournal is so yesterday, though, and the interface is kind of awkward to use.

*Sigh* So hard to figure this out.