The south bank of The Rubicon

I’ve written and spoken of The Rubicon in the past. For those of you who have forgotten or may have never known what the significance of The Rubicon is I offer this bit of history.

The Rubicon is a river in northern Italy that for centuries marked the northern boundary of the Roman homeland and separated it from Gaul, the land of the Franks. Roman tradition or law as it were, was that when a returning Roman army reached the north bank of The Rubicon the commanding General had to surrender his command to the Roman Senate before crossing The Rubicon. Should a General fail to surrender his command at that point it was considered a declaration of war against Rome; a declaration from which there was no retreat, no “whoops I didn’t really mean that, please forgive me and we’ll go back and start over.” The fact that the river itself was notorious for changing course from time to time was no excuse for recanting. Julius Caesar knew full well when he stepped into the shallow waters of The Rubicon what he was doing.

Suetonius, noted Roman historian and biographer, quotes Caesar as saying, “Let us go where the omens of the Gods and the crimes of our enemies summon us! THE DIE IS NOW CAST!”

Down through the years The Rubicon has come to represent irrevocable decisions and actions. As individuals, I believe that each of us reaches that point in our lives where we have a choice to back away from an irretrievable decision and let life carry us on as before or … to wade into that rushing water committed to the far bank and whatever it holds for us.

I’ve had many thoughts and visions over the years about what my decision would be if I ever found myself standing on the north bank of The Rubicon. Would the forces at my command stand behind me and remain loyal? Would the forces arrayed against me on the far side manage to overwhelm me before my feet were even dry? It’s not a decision made lightly. It’s a decision made only after reviewing the options.

To remain on the north bank of The Rubicon would mean that life would pretty much go on as before. Going to a job and a church I loved in the same capacity as before, with the same creeping concerns of being nonetheless not exactly what I appeared to be. In spite of that I’ve been happy there on the north bank … always looking across to the other side without any expectation of making that irrevocable decision. Then suddenly and almost without warning the imperial city beckoned on the far side.

The resources and support fell in behind me there on the north bank. Within a matter of mere months every single possible obstacle that had kept me there on the north bank, albeit content on the north bank; all those obstacles vanished. My army swore allegiance to me and thus, THE DIE IS NOW CAST!” I waded into The Rubicon headed for the south bank and whatever awaited me there.

I hardly got wet. In the blink of an eye there I was, standing on the south bank of The Rubicon. I would love to know if Julius Caesar experienced what I did the minute he realized that he was now there on the south side, irrevocably committed to challenging the imperial city and all it represented.

I will confess, that the very first thought on arriving at the south bank was, “Oh God, I think I’ve made a horrible mistake” If Caesar had that thought when he set foot on the far side it’s never been mentioned. I doubt that he did because he had a huge support team behind him and another awaiting him there on the south banks of the river.

My misgivings at that point were short lived. Although I had been aware of the possibility of regret, I really wasn’t expecting it. But what was I supposed to do. I had irrevocably challenged the imperial city. Was I now going to throw myself on my sword? That was not an option for me.

It’s a rare experience to realize that you have made an irrevocable decision, followed through on that decision and overcome the fear to realize that the joy and happiness resulting from that irrevocable decision are yours and they are real.

Yeah Joey, I still wish on occasion that “I was three again, knowing what I know now.”

A Letter to Caitlyn

Hello Caitlyn,

My name is Georgia Lee McGowen. I am just one of thousands of people, individuals who have lived, or are living a life totally unsuited to the core nature of their beings. I am what the world refers to as transgendered, but what I prefer to think of as dual rather than trans gendered.

I’ve considered the idea that one day, more than seventy years ago, that as the day came to an end and God had busied himself pairing up souls, spirits and bodies, and as He completed his work for the day that I was a left-over spirit, a spare part so to speak, with no matching female body and soul. So, rather than let a sparkling spirit like mine go to waste he grabbed the last body on the assembly line which happened to male and plunked me in there with this other spirit that would be named George after his father and grandfather. Of course I don’t know that for a fact, but the why of it will be the first question I ask God when I am at last face to face with him.

There are thousands at least and possibly millions of us who are genuinely in a body that simply does not match what we feel in our hearts and minds and there are at least that many more who struggle with a nature that is both male and female. Whatever the case it is a fact of nature that society in general has chosen to look upon us as aberrant, unnatural freaks to shut up in a closet rather than face and attempt to understand.

In an attempt to help all the normal people of the world understand and hopefully come to accept us I offer this thought for consideration.

If you consider yourself a somewhat normal male; that you are totally happy and content with the fact that your basic emotional nature matches the body you were given, regardless of the fact that you may wish it to be a more ideal male specimen; if all this is true in your case, how would you feel if our society said the following … to you.

“We don’t care a whit what you feel like, what you perceive yourself to be, what your emotional make up is, you have to wear dresses, high heels, shave your legs, your armpits, wear makeup and be dainty in general because we, society say so.”

And if you are a woman and you consider yourself a fairly normal female, that you are totally content with the fact that your basic emotional nature matches the body you were given, regardless of the fact that you may wish it to be a more ideal female specimen; if all this is true in your case, how would you feel if our society said the following … to you.

“We don’t care a whit what you feel like, what you perceive yourself to be, what your emotional make up is, don’t you dare put on a dress, or make up or shave your legs, or wear makeup. You have to wear clod hoppers, baggy jeans, muscle shirts, open the door for men, and in general, drag your knuckles, burp and belch because we, society, say so.”

If you can wrap your mind around that thought you will achieve some degree of what we in this trans and dual gender identity world have in the past and even now endure.

If you are a Christian who takes literally the admonition of Deuteronomy 22 verse 5, which states, “Women shall not wear that which pertains to men and men shall not wear that which pertains to women. The Lord your God detests those who do this.” If you are one of those people I urge you to do some research into the original Hebrew text and the context in which that verse was written. If you do that with an open mind I’m certain you will cease using it as a club to beat us with.

I don’t think I can state any more clearly the case for our plight in attempting to live lives in synch with the nature we’ve been given, or as I prefer to think of it for myself, the life God intended for me all along. A life which was planned in two parts, the part that George lived and the part that I am now living; all the experiences of both have brought me to where I am now and I have few regrets for any of it.

A few like me have taken the time to put our experiences in print in the form of autobiographies or memoirs. Look us up. Read our stories. Most of them are written by people who feel they were simply born in the wrong body. For me personally, my memoir “Dear Mom and Dad, You Don’t Know Me, But …” shares the struggles, joys and heartbreaks of a life lived in two parts with a soul in which two separate and distinct spirits reside.

In closing I come to the real reason for posting this. Recently the person the world has known as Bruce Jenner made a very public and advertised disclosure of a lifelong struggle to come to grips with a spirit which does not match the magnificent male body he was born with.

To you “Caitlyn” I express my undying gratitude for daring to expose your life to the world. If it wasn’t for your life as “Bruce”, the accomplishments of that life and the fame you acquired in that role, your announcement would have been barely a ripple, if that, in our society. I firmly believe that God created you as he did with this end in mind. By virtue of your courage you have given us a voice that we have needed and longed for; a voice that would cause people to finally stop and listen.

Most of all I admire you for always having put your family(s), especially your children’s, wellbeing ahead of your own personal wishes and needs. It speaks volumes to the quality of your character.

You have earned my deepest admiration and I hope that someday in the not too distant future, since neither of us is a spring “chick”, that I have the opportunity to meet you and become your friend. But, come what may,

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.