Jabowa

I don’t know quite where to start. So I will start with a passage from the next to last page of Dear Mom and Dad …

“Within minutes of walking in the door, I felt that I knew why God had closed the Healing Waters door. He’d been holding open the door of New Foundation Christian Fellowship for me all along. I was home at last. I sensed blessings of our maker in the face and presence of everyone, but most of all Pastor Jabowa Whitehead, in a way I’d never felt before in any church. The peace and sense of purpose we’d searched for all our combined life was finally ours.”

Yesterday evening June 1st 2020 at 5:33 and 59 seconds Thomas Cohen “Jabowa” Whitehead took his leave of this world and in so doing left in his wake a multitude of lives much better off for having known him and having been loved by him. And I say “loved” by him because he did love everyone who entered the sphere of his life.

I have met many people who claimed to love everyone, but there has always been a somewhat hollow tone to their claim. Not so with Jabowa. He did genuinely “love” everyone in his life. It was that quality that allowed him to change in some way every life he touched. When one loves as genuinely and completely as did Jabowa Whitehead one cannot help but leave a lasting mark on the lives one touches.

I will never forget the first moment I saw Jabowa. I had been talked into attending a church service for which I held no expectations or even hopes of some healing sense of what I would experience there. As I entered the “Upper Room” as I came to refer to the place on 16th Street and Osborne in Phoenix, he was busy at the front of the room but he glanced up and flashed that Jabowa smile at me. It was a brief but knowing smile that said, “I’ve been expecting you.”

Was our relationship flawless and without chuck holes? No, of course it wasn’t. In fact, at one point I walked away from New Foundation convinced that my time there was at an end and it was time to move on, so I did. But, true to his character, 4 months later I got a text from him. It said he would understand if I chose not to, but he wanted me to know that he would like it if I would worship with him the following Sunday. I responded that I would talk to Abba about it and if He said I should, I would. On Saturday I received another text from him asking what the answer was. I responded that Abba had been totally silent so I took that to mean that He was leaving it up to me so I would probably be there. And I was.

I have not looked back since then. A testament to what he had created was the reception I received when I entered the room, not from him, but from the “family” I found there overwhelmed me. It took awhile for the two of us to heal our relationship, but he had such a forgiving and loving heart that I had no choice but to forgive and heal.

It is important for people who read this to understand what Jabowa’s vision for New Foundation was, as he shared it with me.

It was first and foremost a place for everyone to worship. No formal membership required. And by “everyone” he sincerely meant “everyone”; the broken, the cast offs of society and organized, mainstream churches. As he frequently put it, “gay, straight, trans, bi, Methodists, Baptists, Pentecostal, or as he would phrase it, Methobapticostals; All had a home at New Foundation Christian Fellowship.

The second part of his vision was a fellowship in the form of what the early church was like before Emperor Constantine of Constantinople had his vision of the cross before his victorious final battle with Rome and attributed that victory to the God of the Christians. That vision led ultimately to the Holy Roman Catholic church and the endless requirements of organized Christianity today.

The Christ of Jabowa’s faith was a friend and a brother to be talked to and listened to on a nearly continuous basis. I wrote in Dear Mom and Dad that none of us is ever going to be completely privy to another’s relationship with our maker, and as open as Jabowa was with his faith and his prayer life his most intimate relationship with God is something none of us will ever know.

When I try, through the tears, to understand why he was called home so soon I can only think of it this way. In a forest there can grow a giant pine tree and over time it sheds many cones which lie dormant for years never giving rise to new trees. Only when a forest fire destroys that tree does the heat from that fire cause the many seeds the tree has shed over its lifetime, to break open and germinate. Only then does the promise of a future for other life to grow, uninhibited by the shadow of the giant tree.

The giant tree, in the person of Jabowa Whitehead, is no longer here among us, but we as the seeds of his love and acceptance must now germinate and give life to his vision. His vision must now be our vision. His mission must now be the mission of every life he ever touched.

A Memorable Memorial Day of Critical Thinking

It is Memorial Day 2020 and as with, I believe everyone, it is the most memorable in my life and probably the most memorable in our history. The networks are busy giving lip service to those who have sacrificed all for our country before they launch into a litany of reasons why Donald Trump has handled the Corona Virus pandemic worse than anyone else could have. They back up their opinions with interviews with carefully selected notables who share their narrow views, thus negating any effort they might have made at honoring the people who have giving their all so the very same pundits can spew whatever vitriolic blather they choose.

What I’m wondering, as I sit here, is how we reached this point. Was there a specific event in our history on which the mission of the Fourth Estate changed from reporting facts as they existed to reporting facts as they were desired to exist.

I am not naïve enough to be ignorant of the fact that there have always been divergent views of the facts in any reported situation. But wasn’t there a time when the facts were stated plainly and accurately first then followed by diverse opinions of people capable of critical thinking. I’m try desperately to remember a time in my adult life when I felt I could trust implicitly the facts being reported.

The closest I can come to setting a date or an event when that the seed of doubt was planted. It was sometime in the late ‘60s or early ‘70s. Try as I may, I cannot remember the exact details but two of the circumstances involved reporting programs like 60 Minutes and 2020. We were still on the farm and one such incident involved the efforts of Caesar Chavez’ to organize the lettuce workers in southern Colorado. The other circumstance involved the National Farm Organization and its efforts to unionize the farmers and ranchers. In both cases the facts that were reported about the situations were simply wrong and obviously wrong intentionally.

Why would they do that?

Even to my ill-informed mind the answer was obvious. The reporting was agenda driven; subtly driven, but just the same agenda driven. And that agenda was driven by the notion that the average person was not smart enough to think for themselves, and if they were, stating a lie as fact often enough would change enough of those minds to make a difference in any political outcome.

Over the intervening years I became more and more cynical about the news I heard and saw. It became an automatic response to doubt the veracity and integrity of each and every personality the major networks put before the camera. I am now at the point where I have begun to doubt that the average human being in our country is capable of actually thinking for themselves and arriving at well thought out beliefs in right and wrong.

A personal friend of mine, Professor Jimmy Urbanovich teaches a class at Crafton Hills College in southern California which I believe should be a requirement in every college curriculum at least, and in every high school curriculum at best. The class is titled “Critical Thinking through Argumentation and Debate.” Of course, it would “critical” for the class to always be taught and facilitated by a person, like Jimmy, who is eminently qualified by the very nature of their own ability to think and debate critically.

Alas, that I’m certain, is a pipe dream which will never see the light of day in this age of tunnel visioned Facebook, Google, Twitter controlled information.

Some Failure Are Just Too Obvious To Ignore

That’s right … some failures are just too obvious to ignore. I’m talking about the failure of our education system. The fact that there are so many people in this country who are totally incapable of rational, intelligent decisions about their own health care in the midst of the current pandemic crisis is making that painfully obvious.

I was taught from an early age to think for myself. Sometimes it was a painful exercise. One such exercise came about as a result of repeating to my mother a statement made by my history teacher. The comment he made was that communism was good for China. That brought about a swift and direct correction from Mom. I don’t remember the exact words she used but I do remember that I made a lasting decision to always question opinions made by educators and at times their facts.

Up to that point I had been taught to respect my teachers and their opinions. But that changed dramatically from that point on. The lesson I learned from my debate class experience and having to seriously defend both sides of an issue was that there could indeed be two sides to every issue. Where I ran into trouble and ultimately lost a given side on certain issues was the fact that I was arguing against my own sense of logic. The result was a half-hearted defense of that issue.

I remember hearing a missionary recently returned from southeast Asia talking about the potential influence Christianity could have in that part of the world simply by getting involved with educating the youth. I used that information in one of my negative arguments to the need for Federal aid to education in this country. The premise was that we should spend said money influencing the education systems of those countries since the danger communism posed in uneducated populations was more dangerous than any faced in this country. Needless to say, my partner and I didn’t win any debates with that argument either.

I was fortunate to have been guided in my youth by parents who insisted that I learn the difference between respecting authority and respecting the personal opinions of said authority. As I was to learn, entirely too many people didn’t understand that difference and some of those who did used that knowledge to manipulate others to the detriment of our society.

Over time I became more and more aware of the growing liberal influence of the National Education Association. If money could influence the education systems of southeast Asia it could certainly influence the education systems of this country. The current heath crisis in this country and the stark fear that has been fueled by ignorance of so much of our population is a prime example.

Over the last five or six decades we have been conditioned to rely on the opinions and knowledge of people who really don’t have our best interest in mind. The negative aspects of this pandemic have repeatedly been blamed on President Trump and his advisors for one reason and one reason only … political gain in the next election. Former White House chief of staff and close friend of former President Obama was the epitome of that attitude when he said, “never let a crisis go to waste.”

The opinions of the press are absorbed and repeated by a populace that has been cultivated to believe that if it is seen on national news networks it must be true. The NEA, in my opinion, is largely to blame for the success of the campaign of disinformation. They have created at least two generations of intitled citizens who are totally reliant on others to do their thinking for them without assuming responsibility for the condition of their own lives and/or predicaments.

Parents, who themselves are the product of that same education system, have been conditioned to turn over the education and nurturing of their children without ever stopping to examine the results.

Ronald Reagan had it right when he said, “The most dangerous words are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” So, in that light I would suggest that the second most dangerous words are, “We’re from the NEA and we’re here to teach your children.”

We are fortunate that we have a system of free enterprise and a president who recognized the importance of getting the government out of the way so that system could do its thing and come up with a vaccine as quickly as it appears to be doing.

If you have children at home, use the time to teach them to think for themselves and not to wait for a teacher, bureaucrat or journalist to do their thinking for them. So, in the current debate I think that I stand accused and guilty if I take the negative argument regarding the importance of federal aid, aka federal influence in education.

I’m in that age bracket that is most threatened by the virus, but in closing I will quote Patrick Henry in spite of it seeming a bit too extreme.

“Give me liberty or give me death”!

Twenty Years of Observations

Twenty years ago, I emerged from what the gender community refers to as a closet. In my case it was more of a cocoon. At the time, I was simply surprised at the varying degrees of “female expression” I encountered. Sadly, and to my discredit I think, I was embarrassed both for them and by many of them. I eventually arrived at a theory that what most of them were attempting to express was their own personal idea of femininity. Some may have derived that idea from their mothers’ expression. Others may have been expressing an appearance derived from their idea of “sexy”; perhaps what they wanted their wives or significant others to look like. And, I assume that I wasn’t the only one who was doing their best to look like someone who wouldn’t embarrass their wife in public.

Those were my initial impressions. And, they haven’t changed much in the lapse of time. What has changed is my understanding of consequences related to that expression.

The very first thing I address in my public speaking engagements is my threefold purpose for being there; to educate and broaden understanding of the phenomenon, to preserve families and to save lives.

On the issue of educating and broadening understanding, I never cease to be amazed at the response I get when I ask how many of the audience know anyone who is “transgendered”. It happens, but it’s rare, that more than 25% of those in the audience raise their hands. I generally follow that up with the results of a study of hospital emergency records in the mid-nineties which indicated that one in every twenty men admitted to an emergency room for a genuine emergency, (as in “didn’t have time to go home to change clothes first” emergency) was wearing some women’s clothing ranging from a pair of panties to fully dressed in women’s clothing. The public in general is still to this day essentially ignorant of the phenomenon.

On the issue of preserving families and lives I am passionate. After I got over the initial experience of the varying degrees of expression that I observed, I was surprised at the average age of the majority of “crossdressers.” The overwhelming number of them were in their very late forties to mid-sixties. Almost to a man, the common experience was one of having struggled with the emotions for most, if not all, of their lives. The solution was most often to get married thinking that would solve the problem. In Jenifer Boylan’s autobiography, “She’s Not There: A Life in Tw0 Genders ” she describes and incident when she was a teenager when she concluded that if she could just find love that would solve the problem. It did not. In her case, she fell in love with and married a woman who stuck with her through it all. That is indeed a rarity.

In most cases, like my own, my wife didn’t meet and fall in love with a “want to be” woman. My wife met and fell in love with a bearded cowboy. It took forever for me to realize that she was not in the least interested in competing with “that other woman.”

Like so many men, marriage didn’t solve the problem. In the group I aligned myself with I found varying degrees of acceptance by wives. There was a lesser degree of understanding, and more important, compassion that the “gender variant” individual had for what the spouse was going through.

It’s rare that a husband, me included at the time, has even a remote idea of how this issue affects a wife. The more intense the emotions experienced by the variant spouse the more likely a divorce is in the offing. What I observed that most disturbed me was the frequency with which a middle-aged man who was just coming to terms with his identity would abruptly end his marriage so he “could be who he was.” He would exhibit a degree of, in my opinion, selfishness that bordered on cruelty. Occasionally, I would encounter someone who did caringly consider the feelings of their spouse, but it was rare. The relationships that did thrive and grow were generally those where “her” or in some cases “his” existence was known early in the relationship.

The issue of saving lives is the most pressing in my opinion. Up to the time I became involved in gender identity issues I had personally known only one person who had taken the tragic step of self-murder. It was a friend from summer camp. He was only thirteen at the time and I just couldn’t wrap my mind around what might have driven him to such a final solution to whatever he was going through.

The only other suicide that even came close to having a personal affect on my life was when the husband of Dad’s secretary put the barrel of his hunting rifle in his mouth and pulled the trigger on Christmas Eve.

However, that sheltered experience ended abruptly within months of becoming involved in this new phase of my life. Within a year, three people I had come to know personally, had chosen that tragic solution to their problems. In one study I read, the rate of serious suicide attempts in the gender community was nearly eleven times that of the average population. Naturally, the question was, why?

Although I have no concrete proof as to why I believe it bears a strong resemblance to a phenomenon known to alcoholics as the “geographical.” It refers to a common occurrence among alcoholics when an alcoholic living in, say, New York thinks that if they just move far away like to Los Angeles, that they won’t need or want to drink anymore. That solution practically never work, simply because the problems which seemed to lead to drinking were never related to the location. They were mental and emotional. The reality was that they had figuratively packed up their problems along with their belongs and hauled them along on the trip.

I suspect that many people who are suffering from gender identity issues conclude that if they just make that leap, take that drastic step now, that the surgeon’s scalpel will cut out those problems or they will suddenly be manageable because now that they are their true selves things will be easier. Again, in a small percentage of cases that may happen, but most often those same problems are now magnified because society doesn’t accept them anymore now than before.

I will close with the admission that I am keenly aware of how fortunate I have been in the path I have chosen. I have the benefit of a body that even without the surgery allows me to “pass” as we say. So many individuals have a physic that is anything but feminine. I chose as my ideal women to emulate, two women I felt were ideal examples of a “lady.” My late wife Marilyn and Julie Andrews. Last, and most important, my Christian faith contributed enormously to the patience I had during my transition; taking one day at a time until the perfect opportunities presented themselves … the most important of which was the addition to my life of The Blue Magnet. If I could give any gift to others of the trans community it would be to find someone who is so totally accepting and loving of every single tidbit of their life and their personality as The Blue Magnet is of me.

Break’s over … Back to work

It’s been a long time since I posted anything here. The reasons are multiple … brain freeze, work, lack of inspiration; you get the idea. I have always been of a mind that if I don’t have anything relatively intelligent to say it’s better to not say anything at all. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not, but nevertheless it’s been my line of thinking.

The events that have taken place in my personal world and the world in general have evoked plenty of thoughts in the interim but none that I felt were worth sharing … until now.

The fact that I exist in a category of humankind that is, in many cases shunned at best, abhorred at worst or completely misunderstood, results in a peculiar kind of attitude about the things that should and should not concern me. For instance, there is a part of me that says I should concern myself only with issues involving gender identity, since that has been such a huge issue in my personal journey.

There is a second part of me that says I should concern myself only with the expression of my Christian faith and sharing how that has shaped and forged my day to day life. That part of me says that sharing my faith with the gender and sexual orientation community that I now find myself in should be my total focus; my mission, as if I was venturing into the jungle to devote my life to saving the souls of the lost.

A third part of me is extremely political. And that part has a tendency to generate some rather unpleasant reactions from the gender community, where it is generally assumed by the vocal majority that I should be worshiping at the altar of political correctness and liberal progressivism. That rankles me to the core.

The last part begs to just be left alone to live a relatively pressure free life, a relatively ordinary life of a kitchen designer at The Home Depot. Left alone to put in my 8 hours and come home, check my mostly junk e-mail, eat dinner and either putter around the house and yard or sit down and watch another rerun or two of Gray’s Anatomy. And that generates visions of coming face to face with God and hearing Him ask me what I have to show for the few talents He gave me.

I’ve been there, done that in each of the stated options. So, with each of those parts of me, each of the options stated, what future am I going to pursue?

All of the above.

I have finally realized that each of these parts is an integral part of who God created me to be. If my the experiences of my life are to be of value, if they are meant to be shared with a world that might not otherwise pay one lick of attention to what I have to say then maybe the reason God created me the way He did and led me through the myriad of experiences He has, to result in the package that is Georgia Lee McGowen, then I must integrate them all into who I am and have become.

The person I am and have become is a unique human being with a message. All of my beliefs and convictions stem from a life that, to say the least, has had more twists and turns, more false starts than most. I have occasionally thought of it in terms the method used by the teacher in The Karate Kid. Each of the processes, senseless as they seemed at the time were eventually revealed to be a learning exercise. Each of the apparent failures have led to a new experience. And the one thing I have learned from each was that I gave up too soon. I always realized later that my blueprint for a success had been correct. I just didn’t follow through. I may not have been intended to follow through and that was the lesson intended to be learned for the really important reason for my life as it is.

I am an unusual combination of male and female expression that has chosen to live my life in a surgically altered body and believes that I am exactly how God designed me to be. That fact means the world considers me a transsexual. So be it.

I am a dual gendered Christian transsexual who believes that God loves me this way and is going to use me in a way that he couldn’t use me otherwise.

I am a politically conservative Christian transsexual. And that alone makes me extremely unique. What better way to attract attention than that? Just makes perfect since.

So, in the future you can expect me to express opinions and beliefs that reflect all those parts. If any one or more of those offend you, for that I apologize in advance. Just don’t expect anything resembling political correctness.

Coincidence? I don’t think so!

Coincidences are for some people a progression of events that just happen on their own. No rhyme or reason for the way events unfold is evidence that what happens is just coincidence. I for one just don’t buy that explanation … not for a minute. That being said, neither do I always automatically assume that every single event in my life is preordained. And that is the way some choose to explain coincidence. There are those of us who happen to believe that there is something bigger and more deliberate at work.

If I chose to absolutely bore you to death, I could take you step-by-step through events that have been occurring in my personal life since puberty. Instead I’m going relate some facts about my life that, while seemingly insignificant, together or separately, have brought me to a recent point that demands consideration of the possibility of the existence of a source of intelligence bigger than anything imaginable by human logic. I choose to call that source God. And, I further choose to firmly believe in my own free will to accept or reject His chosen path for me.

For the sake of brevity, I will pick up the sequence that has unfolded in my life at a point marked by the date December 15th, 2006. On that date I was told that my services were no longer wanted at a job that was paying me rather well. As I related in Dear Mom and Dad, … the job I migrated to landed me a booth at the 2007 Phoenix Pride Festival and that led me to my favorite haunt, The Cash Inn on McDowell in Phoenix the Saturday night of the festival.

The place was packed, but as “luck”(?) would have it there was an empty stool next to some friends who invited me to join them. A few minutes after settling myself on the stool I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned, expecting to see a familiar face. Instead what I found myself looking at was the face of a person I have lovingly come to refer to as “The Green-eyed Blonde” aka one Christine Curtin of Burbank CA. Coincidence? You judge for yourself.

Over time Christine has become the dearest and closest friend I have, except for “The Blue Magnet” of course. As time and the relationship developed, albeit long distance, she became my biggest fan and supporter. One day she called to ask me if I would be interested in speaking at a college in Yucaipa, CA. That in turn, led to an introduction to a friend she had known years before in school and had recently re-connected with. I have been speaking at Crafton Hills College nearly every year since and in that time have gotten to know both Professor Jimmy Urbanovich and, his wife Rene.

I have generally been in the habit of going out a few days early each time to spend time with Christine before the presentation and then heading out afterwards for home. This last time Professor Jimmy invited The Blue Magnet and I to spend the night prior to my presentation with him and Rene at their second home near the college. Rene was the most gracious hostess imaginable and we spent a wonderful evening with them. Sometime in the course of the evening or the next morning Rene suggested having their son Jordan produce a promotional video for me to use in promoting myself as a guest speaker and author.

When we were back home, I sent Rene a text thanking her for her generous hospitality and encouragement. What ensued was a 5-month effort at bringing to fruition what Rene had instigated and I am forever in her debt for following through and urging me on.

Is all this simply a series of uncanny coincidences? I think not. One might be tempted to believe that because of the lapse of time from meeting Christine to the final version of the video that it must be simply coincidence, but my knowledge of history and the bible leads me to realize that God seldom gets in a hurry. As I said in the beginning of this piece, this is just an example of what I believe is the result of a wholehearted surrender of my will to His and He has rewarded me handsomely over the years.

Oh, so you want to see the finished product? The link to the video is below.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=GhWn6GrbiYM

Sometimes living life takes precedent over doing life

It has been some time since I posted anything here, but I do have an excuse.  As I stated in my blog of September 3 2018 we, The Blue Magnet and I, are married. And, we did finalize the purchase of a home. It had been 16 years since I had owned a home so needless to say I was a bit rusty when it came to remembering all the things that begin to take up the hours of one’s life when one owns a home and takes pride in that home … especially a home with a very large yard, front and back as well as that consumer of time, a swimming pool.

As I worked on the various projects, like refurbishing a large patio table and chairs, mowing the lawn, repairing and improving the sprinkler system etc, etc, etc, there was always a daily awareness of what was going on in the world. I was still getting my daily dose of world and national news via my preferred source FOX News Network. And as I worked, I became increasingly frustrated over what I viewed as the inability of a large segment of society to deal with reality. I really wanted to have the time to create a post here to express my opinion, but Sometimes living life takes precedent over doing life.

I am, first and foremost, a human being. I am a human being who was born with a male body and two sets of emotions; male and female. I am a human being born male who chose to live the last years of my life in a body that suited that female set of emotions. As such I have an interest in issues affecting the LGBT community. But I am not consumed by those issues. They are, in my opinion, secondary to issues involving the well being of society in general. And that seems to set me at odds with most of the LGBT community.

When I was much younger, I wanted to be a farmer. I was a farmer for a time and in that time, I learned some very important lessons and gained and understanding of the difference in my emotions and my God given ability to think logically. The life of a famer is a constant race against time. Storms and bad weather really don’t care if you’re upset and emotional over the cost of a prescription or sex education in middle school. The critical thinking required in that lifestyle gets to the root of how you apply the hours of you day and what you allow your mind to focus on. That has led me to realize that the political environment as it exists today is divided by that same difference. One side of the political equation is guided exclusively by emotions. The other side is guided, not exclusively, but primarily by logic. I’ll demonstrate.

The new green deal is a prime example. Dreaming of a world with no animals emitting flatulence, no machines burning fossil fuels, is just that … dreaming. But because our education system has had two to three generations to program our youth to thinking that the prior generations have poisoned our environment there has developed an entire segment of society that is incapable of critical, logical thought. They are governed entirely by ginned up emotions the flames of which are fueled by liberal politicians and members of the press. Logical people almost immediately realize that the new green deal would quickly destroy civilization as we know it.

Another example is the absurd notion that Medicare for all is just and affordable. It’s not either of those. But, once again our public education system has systematically gone about producing a couple of generations of people who are not taught critical thinking. Instead they are taught to accept at face value anything that they see on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. It apparently never occurs to those people to follow the reasoning they are given to its ultimate result. Worse yet, is the fact that they are guided by pure emotion spurred on by the same media sources that created the malaise in the first place. They have never been exposed to the simple fact that socialism always fails because “You eventually run out of other people’s money”. People who apply logic to the situation quickly realize that fact while the emotional left thinks they can just print more money.

So, yes … these and many other examples too numerous to mention have absolutely nothing to do with LGBT issues beyond the fact that many in that community blindly and unquestioningly follow the progressive/liberal lead.

They are ideas and thoughts that have germinated in my head while I’ve mowed the lawn, sprayed for weeds, hung pictures on the wall and all the other things that are a part of home ownership. They are ideas and thoughts that I have separated from emotion in order to arrive at logical conclusions about the political climate of the time.

Living life doesn’t always take precedent over doing life … sometimes they get co-mingled.

The Third Time Is Charmed Indeed

There are numerous clichés about the number “3”. “Third time’s the charm!” “Third time at the rodeo!” “You’re 0nce, twice three times a lady …” “Strike three! You’re out!” Etc, etc, etc … And I’ve had my share of “third times” to be sure. And, many have been charmed to say the least. But in order for there to be a “third” there has to be a “first” and a “second”.

For me, the first in this case was the result of total ignorance combined with overwhelming youthful passion. It was a relationship doomed from the beginning. However, it wasn’t … isn’t a relationship that I regret. That marriage was a hurry up affair that was arranged and performed in less than a week. Two children resulted from that relationship, and although neither have spoken to me or connected in any fashion since the publication of “Dear Mom and Dad”, I have no regrets in having been half the reason they are in this world. Their mother, a.k.a. the first, swore at one point in our bitter divorce that she would see to it that my children would hate not only me but the rest of the family. She has been relatively successful in that effort.

Moving on …

The second time, my readers should be very familiar with. That relationship was far from being a mistake. “George” was for the first time in his life, genuinely deeply in love and it was reciprocated. As I related in “Dear Mom and Dad” the second time was a hurried-up affair as well because Marilyn was dead set against a couple just living together if they weren’t married and George had created a situation wherein he and daughter Kiffani had moved in without the benefit of an executed marriage license. Without consulting Marilyn, at eight o’clock on the morning of June 5, 1980 he called Judge Gordon Bugg and made arrangements for a marriage ceremony in the judge’s chambers at 9:00 o’clock the same morning. With a small glitch in the license corrected they were married and both back to work by 11:00 that morning.

The love that existed in that relationship was tested repeatedly by George’s alcoholic behavior, use of cocaine. It was primarily due to Marilyn’s steady hand that the relationship did survive and eventually led to George’s sobriety. But, the one thorn in their relationship that she was never able to remove was me. George just couldn’t understand why Marilyn didn’t welcome that part of him that was me. My presence was the only thing that ever elicited vicious reactions from Marilyn. I remained a thorn for the duration of Marilyn’s life and thus a thorn in the relationship that could not be removed.

After Marilyn’s death the thorn that I was, began to produce roses but I was ever conscious of the fact that I would be a hard pill for any woman, of the character that I wanted in my life, to swallow. I was alone, sometimes lonely, but accepting of the lot that I had drawn in life. Over the next 16 years I dedicated the hours of my life to reaching an understanding of how my life was intended by God to benefit the world around me. And, at the same time wondering if the same God had any plans for me to share my journey with another woman. When I observed the other trans people around me I would become skeptical, primarily because I saw a lot of very lonely people who had been abandoned by their spouses, families or lovers because of their trans identity.

It wasn’t easy to accept God’s judgement nor the slow pace with which He seemed to be acknowledging my desire to share my life with someone who would love me the way I wanted to be loved … both parts of me without condemnation of the path I had trod to.   become who I was.

Then there she was … The Blue Magnet.

I suddenly found myself in love as I had never imagined, never dreamed was possible; not even with Marilyn. George was not a thorn in this relationship as I had been in the relationship between Marilyn and George. In fact, pictures of little Georgie appear frequently on Blue’s night stand.

Fast forward to this past summer. We had been living together in the townhouse I’d been leasing since August of 2017 and had eventually reached the joint decision to find and purchase a house we could call home for as long as we wanted to remain there.

So the search began. Zillow for a few weeks before I called an agent, a friend I trusted to help us find a suitable home. The search had its ups and downs but we found one that we loved. Blue loved the location and I loved the kitchen. However, there was one hitch. In order to qualify for a VA loan we both needed to be on the loan and since I wasn’t a veteran the only way that could happen was if we were married.

Now since the early stages of our relationship Blue had made it clear that she did not want to get married. At least once or twice a week I would suddenly say something like, “Hey, how about we get married tomorrow?”  The reply. “I don’t think so.” But all that had begun to change and by the time we reached this stage in our relationship where we were preparing to buy a home her negative reaction to the idea of marriage was gone.

On the advice of our agent we needed to be qualified for the VA loan by Sunday afternoon August 12th which meant we needed to be married on the evening of August 11th.  This conclusion was reached on the evening of August the 8th. The following morning, August the 9th we acquired a marriage license. That evening we were discussing where to have the ceremony. I said,

“You know where I think would be a cool place to do it would be in the Kitchen
Design Center at the store.”

The store of course was The Home Depot #469. Blue cheerfully agreed so first thing the next morning, Friday, August 10th, I approached the store manager ask if that was a possibility. He said he had no problem with it but that approval had to come from the district manager. It was after 2:30 when that approval was given. So, the mayhem began.

I was scheduled to work until 6:00 pm and Blue had a previous commitment for the following morning. She picked up a chocolate cake for a wedding cake, the store provided flowers and balloons and let us set up a reception in the store break room.

Pastor Jabowa Whitehead showed up at 6:00 pm along with some friends from church and quite a few friends from work. By 7:00pm on the evening of August 11th we were married.

All this was done in order to be able to make an offer on the house by Sunday afternoon. After a lengthy and detailed conversation with the agent, input from the mortgage company and a look at one another we decided, at 3:00pm on the afternoon of August 12th, that the house was going to cost us more that we were willing to make in mortgage payments. So, we made no offer on the house.

But … we were married and very happily so. And, last week we made an offer on a house that is much more suited to us. Whether or not that sale is completed depends on the VA appraisal.

But … we are married.

6/20/2010

Eight years ago today, June 20, 2010 at 1:37 AM in the morning I posted the following on my Facebook page.

“I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I’m done! I … AM … DONE!!!!! HALLELUJAH! THANK GOD ALMIGHTY!! I … AM … DONE!!”

After 3 years of remembering, researching my own past and writing down the results, I had written the final sentence in “Dear Mom and Dad.” Had it been published in that original form it would have been in excess of 700 pages long. Thankfully, the person I’d been dealing with at iUniverse advised me that unless I was James Michener it was entirely too long. Following that advice, I began a slash and burn editing process. Well, I didn’t actually burn anything. I still have the original hard copy script in a 2” black binder on a shelf in my bedroom along with all the notes I used creating my original outline. In addition to that, I have several flash drives with the various edits in my desk drawer.

When I think about writing another book I find the prospect daunting. After all I had an accumulated 60 plus years of events and people to make writing easy. All I had to do was write about those people and events as they were, though not accurately  remembered in the first draft. Accurate memories came only when I realized that the people written about would actually be reading what I wrote. Now with a mere 8 years accumulation of people and events I wonder if it would be of any value.

I also wonder if I could add anything to the dialogue engaged in by the majority of the transgendered activists and their accomplices in the LGBT (I refuse to use the “Q” since that is a term earlier used to describe gay men) community. I have, since the publication of “Dear Mom and Dad”, written about issues that are near and dear to my heart with respect to the trans community and I have written about issues unrelated to gender identity; faith and politics in particular. My opinions on the latter have met with approval and with disdain. Writing another book is somewhat immaterial it seems. What is material to me is that whatever I do in the future be of consequence. It that includes the inspiration to write another book so-be-it.

My involvement in the lgbT community has left me with a few impressions which have had a lasting effect on my attitudes regarding “activism”. The most significant of those is the impression that the demands of the community to be treated equally are accompanied by demands for laws that in essence require not equal treatment but special treatment. It seems to me that the demand for special treatment trumps the request for equal treatment. It’s an attitude adapted from the racial equality movement which approaches their situation in the same manner. In both cases, it seems to me that the demands are equally exclusionary. Granny would have said something like, “Make up your mind. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” To me, demanding equality is the equivalent of admitting that one does not feel equal or at least doesn’t see one’s self as equal.

I am firmly convinced that what our community needs are more people like Dr. Marci Bowers who has gone about her life without wearing her gender transition status on her sleeve, helping make the lives of innumerable people more enjoyable and complete.

Another person that I see as an example of getting on with life and using her abilities and education without wearing her gender status on her sleeve is Amanda Renae Simpson. While I acknowledge that her liberal political activity was largely influenced by her gender affiliation, I am not by any means going to discount her contribution to our community by using her training, education and experience to move about the halls of government in both Arizona and Washington DC exposing those realms to the notion that gender identity does not exclude one from making a significant contribution to society by productive use of their training and abilities.

These two people are not the only ones in our community who have made the transition and gone on with their lives using the training and abilities they possess for the good of society, but they are 2 that I have a personal connection with and knowledge of. They have made life more livable and enjoyable for the rest of us by virtue of their willingness to take personal risks without making demands on society for special concessions for them; at least none that I’m aware of. That’s what “people” do. They don’t make an issue of their gender; they simply apply their extensive training for the betterment of society.

For myself, I realized long ago that getting on with life without making a stink about my gender identity made life so much easier. I freely admit that I have been extremely fortunate in my physical make-up but I have also made it part of my attitudinal make-up to not expect special treatment. The expectation of special treatment generally leads to disappointments and there are enough of those already. For me, being treated as if there were nothing special about me is the highest compliment I can receive as a transgender person. The only thing I want special recognition for is the application of my skills and training in my field and the application of my talent in my writing.

“Dear Mom and Dad” finally hit the market July of 2012 and my first blog entry was posted by the publisher the same month. Since then I have posted nearly 120 more. Altogether they could equal another book I suppose. But it would be rather disjointed since my subject matter has varied so much. All in all, I will continue writing one way or another. It might be another book …it might be a more blog. It might even be some of what “ended up on the cutting room floor” as the saying goes, in that original draft..

Stay tuned …

The Quest for Individuality

If there is one human characteristic that is common to all humanity, it’s the desire to be different from the rest of humanity. Although it seems that there is confusion at times as to what “different” actually means. We in the gender variant community are generally thought to be using gender expression to achieve that end. While that’s frequently the case it’s not, by any means, the predominant factor affecting the decisions we make about our lives. If an individual who is considered to be “normal” in most respects, in other words is sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex, choses to wear purple nearly every day of their lives they may be considered slightly odd, but not perverted. That personality tic is considered just that … a personality tic. By the same token, a man or woman who elects to live their life on a ranch and wears cowboy boots, hat and Wranglers every day of their life is not thought to be odd. They are considered to be, “who they are.”

When I encounter someone, who has systematically turned their body into a series of artistic expressions by means of tattoos, the reaction may be “tisk tisk” but I doubt that any of them suffer the indignity of someone in a pickup truck shouting out the window, “pervert!” But let someone who was born male choose to live their life as a woman and the discrimination becomes blatant. Why in a society that prides itself on inclusion does this attitude persist?

I think the answer to that question should be obvious. It’s human nature to reject any idea, action or thought that isn’t understood. And for the average human being the inclination to reject the gender, the physical sex that one was born with is simply beyond comprehension. It’s that sense of rejection that everyone in the gender “variant” community lives with on a daily basis, whether the rejection is real or not. So, the issue is how can that be overcome?

In a larger sense we’re not much different in that respect than people “of color” because our way of dealing with it is often to try to separate ourselves from the society we think is rejecting us. But what has that accomplished? In my view, it has in reality had just the opposite effect of the one we want to achieve. In other words, demanding special protections under the law has actually set us apart from the society we want to be accepted by.

For example, murder is murder. The reason for one person taking another’s life is wrong period, and the law doesn’t need to know why the murder occurred. The mere fact that one person took it upon themselves to terminate the life of another should be enough to exact just punishment for the perpetrator regardless of the reason. When I see people gathering to protest the murder of a person who is gender variant I want to ask what has the persons gender identity got to do with the fact that one person took it upon themselves to end the life of another. To me, the fact that the victim was gender variant is beside the point. They were a human being with all the right to life of any other.

Yes, life is different for us. But, that is not the same as saying our right to life should be treated any differently than the right to life of any other persons.

Early in my transition I remember reading about a post-surgical trans-woman who just wanted to get away from the environment where she had been living prior to and during her transition so she could just “live her life” like any other person. At the time I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t want to be involved in the “movement”. Now I do. And now I applaud her for the road she took. The “movement” as it is, does more to keep us from being a part of society than it does to advance our part in society simply by continuing the notion that we require special treatment. Normal society doesn’t require special treatment. It simply requires the freedom to go about their lives in peace. Going about one’s life, doing what one does for a living, doing what one does for recreation, doing what one does for our families without demanding special accommodation is what makes one “normal” and acceptable to society.

Not all members of our gender are in the face of society. I believe they are, for the most part, people who just want to be able to live their lives in peace like the aforementioned individual … and I. My personal experience is not common, and I know that. I have been blessed in so many ways that others in our community have not. I have been cursed in ways that are common in the gender community, but not often.

I was rejected by the very church that “George” had been baptized in. That did not by any means alter my faith. The only thing that was altered by that rejection was where I chose to express my faith on Sunday mornings. “George” had been rejected in far worse fashion because of his faith and his politics than I have ever been because of who I am. I do use a bit of common sense about some places I might go. For instance, I don’t deem it prudent to enter your average country and western bar although that has been my choice in past years. But doesn’t that make me fairly normal.

The average white man wouldn’t think of setting foot in a bar located in a black neighborhood, now would he? Of course not. We all choose to frequent places where we feel the most comfortable, but that severely limits our opportunities for experience and personal growth. I don’t think that I am that much different from most of our community. I just choose to step out of my comfort zone. There have been times when I’ve had no choice but to step out of that comfort zone.

A year after publishing “Dear Mom and Dad” I was broke and on the verge of being evicted from my townhouse. I didn’t have the option of reverting to “George” mode because my name change had already taken place and all my accounts and IDs had been changed. It was a scary predicament to find myself in. I had never applied for a job myself. The scary part came when in the process of filling out applications there was always that section that asked if I had ever been known by any other name. In the application at one potential employer, “George” had been an employee recently. I had 4 different interviews with them but ultimately was told that they found someone better suited for the position. Sure they did.

The places I had expected to respond positively didn’t and the ones I held little hope for hearing from did … Home Depot in particular. I held little hope for that interview but because I stepped out of my comfort zone, fearful as I was, I found myself working in a “normie” environment which has been more than rewarding. Do I think I have fooled anyone about my gender variance? Not hardly! Why not? I don’t make and issue of it.

If I could impress one idea on any group, be it social, racial or gender it would be that one point. Don’t wear your identity on your shoulder daring someone to knock it off. Make who you are not what you are the focus of your life.