Frustration is turning to Anger

My frustration is turning to anger. Maybe the final straw was seeing a mob; that’s the only word for it; pulling down a statue of Francis Scott Key in San Francisco. So what if he was a slave owner. If what I recall of my education is correct; and I’m pretty damn sure it’s because the NEA hadn’t corrupted the system yet; most of the signers of the declaration of independence were slave owners. My guess is that there wasn’t a single one of those fools involved in the destruction of that statue that’s had any seriously accurate education in our history.

It’s highly unlikely that any of the people who did own slaves were the ones to go to Africa and kidnap the people they “owned”. The slave traffickers in many cases weren’t even the ones to kidnap the people they trafficked in. In most cases the unfortunate people to be sold into slavery were captured and sold by other black tribesmen or Arab Muslim slavers.

But all that knowledge is secondary to the root cause of all the turmoil in our country. That root cause is total and complete lack of basic education and sense of responsibility for one’s own actions. Parents are turning the education and upbringing of their children over to the state. And the cities and states that are the most affected with the problem are those run by liberal politicians like Bill DeBlasio of New York City.

I know that conservative news and commentary outlets see this, but why don’t people on the left at least give lip service to the issue? Can it be possible that they really don’t want to see it because it’s such a glaring example of what liberal progressivism does to the soul of the communities it has taken root in? I tend to think that is the case.

Everything Marxism and Maoism teach is on full display with each and every march and riot that’s occurring on a daily basis. Has our education system become so badly directed that the average person is totally convinced that they owe nothing to the society they live in and that the government is there to provide them with not only the necessities of life but all the goodies that come from a free enterprise form of economy?

So yes, I am angry that people I know, people I care about and people I love are so totally ingrained with an attitude of hatred toward everything that has made this country the one place on the face of the earth where everyone wants to live.

I’m angry that everything about this country that I love and hold dear has become a target of hatred and a form of reverse prejudice.

I’m angry that the press in general, the liberal politicians, the entrenched bureaucracy in Washington, the public education system have all been co-opted by the notion that only a relatively few elites have the vision and correct idea of what is right and what is wrong.

I’m angry that those same people who have made common sense a thing to be laughed at and belittled, are the ones making decisions that affect my life and the pursuit of happiness embodied in our declaration of independence.

And I’m angry that those people who are supposed to be the defenders of free speech; the educators, the liberal politicians and most of all the press, think that I am ignorant because I am a Christian, a politically conservative Christian, a politically conservative Christian trans-sexual; that since I’m all these things, I can’t have an opinion worth voicing.

I could go on indefinitely about what started out as frustration and has now become anger and how that anger makes me want to lash out, but I don’t believe that’s productive, so I won’t.

If you’ve read this far, I think you get my point. I’m angry.

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.

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

I Can See Clearly Now

Some time in the spring of 1954 when I was nine and a half years old and a 4th grader I was diagnosed as near sighted. That was long before high impact plastic lenses and a very long time before contact lenses. At first I thought glasses were cool but that feeling didn’t even last until school was out.

Not one of my heroes, Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, Lash LaRue much less The Cisco Kid wore glasses. I just couldn’t bring myself to imagine me as any of them while wearing glasses. My eyesight at that stage couldn’t have been bad enough to preclude me from laying them aside when the urge to don my well worn felt cowboy hat, my red and black tooled leather cowboy boots. The outfit wasn’t complete without the hand tooled double holster set that Granny had made for me, which held my two Nichols six shooters but that’s what happened.

I may not have been the only fourth grader at Horace Mann Elementary to wear glasses but I felt like I was. So, I put aside my favorite things and searched for other images to emulate.

It must have been less than two months later when we learned that we would be moving to Bountiful, Utah when school was out. Dad had been promoted to a position which would put his office at a refinery in Woods Cross Utah. I wrote about the tears and anguish as Mom backed out of the driveway in Okmulgee and we headed for our new home.

On the way, I was left at Western Life Camp at the entrance to the Santa Fe National Forest in the mountains near Las Vegas New Mexico, for summer camp. Granny was the head cook and chief bottle washer there, so it really wasn’t very traumatic. When camp was over the end of June, I was headed for a new experience, where nobody knew what I looked like without glasses, so the girls had no idea how good-looking Georgie really was.

It wasn’t long after school started, only about six months, when I had to have a new pair of glasses. That was the beginning of a biannual replacement of my glasses which continued with fair regularity for the next seven years.

Two things occurred nearly simultaneously during the freshman year in high school. Georgie was waiting for Mrs. Dixon’s ninth grade speech class to get underway and cleaning his glasses while he waited. That’s when hope and dismay struck their simultaneous blows. A girl, Lynn Withey, a  name I will never forget, said, You know, you would be really good looking if you didn’t have to wear glasses.“ The hope was that Georgie could be handsome if he didn’t have to wear glasses. The despair was that he knew Dad would never spend the money for the new technology known as Contact Lenses.

The next two birthdays and subsequent three Christmas’s were something of a marathon of hints, kind of like Ralphie’s quest for a Red Ryder air rifle in “A Christmas Story.” Though, Ralphie’s Christmas had a happier ending.

I had lost track of the number of prescription changes were necessary by midway through the junior year at Bountiful High School when one of Dad’s business partners came to my rescue. Bob Schubach and his brother jointly owned Schubach Jewelry and Standard Optical in Salt Lake City where I had been getting my glasses for the last six years. He made sure that Dad understood that contacts would stop the progression of my worsening eyesight and that if I didn’t get them soon, I would be legally blind within a few years. Sometime in March that year Georgie was fitted with contacts and within a week was wearing them from the moment he got up in the morning until time to go to bed. The transformation in his personality was total. As I wrote in “Dear Mom and Dad”, he was no longer Georgie he was now George.

What followed was fifty-nine years of contacts with the eventual necessity of reading glasses. Those first few years saw various incidents that involved replacing contacts, either both or on occasion just one for a variety of small, for the most part funny circumstances.

The first incident resulted from branding time on a ranch in northwest Texas where George ended up with a face full of young bovine excrement. The contacts couldn’t be worn for 3 days.

Another time was when Mom decided she needed to learn to drive the boat when it was George’s turn to water ski. Both contacts disappeared in the waters of Rumbaugh Bay on Hebgen Lake.

A third time, the right contact popped out just as George was taking a bite of wedding cake. After a fruitless search of the floor and pant cuffs he returned to the cake. Crunch! The contact had landed on the cake.

As the years wore on and lessons were learned new prescriptions were few and far between, so Bob Schubach had been right. The last pair were acquired less than 3 years ago. At the time the optometrist said that small cataracts had formed in both eyes but weren’t large enough for removal yet.

By the beginning of this year it was becoming increasingly more difficult for me to see to drive at night. The lights from oncoming vehicles glared at me. So, I finally made an appointment to have my eyes checked and the first thing the doctor told me to do was quit wearing contacts for the next six weeks. That was necessary for him to be able to make an accurate assessment of what my eyes needed …. And yes, I had cataracts in both eyes. The procedure for my right eye was scheduled for this past Thursday afternoon.

For the first time in sixty-five years I can do what I longed to do nearly that long … I can see clearly now … without glasses or contacts.

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 …

Where does the responsibility really lie?

It’s all a blame game. In the wake of the tragedy that unfolded in the halls and classrooms of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School two weeks ago we have witnessed the same rhetoric that has become the mantra again and again. It’s nothing but a blame game because no one has yet to actually get to the root cause of such horrific incidents … at least in my humble opinion.

The very first thing to be blamed, of course, is the instrument of destruction, the weapon; with the liberal left leading the way accompanied by some of the RINOs. The mere fact that so called intelligent, thoughtful people would immediately jump to the conclusion that an inanimate tool was to blame is absurd on it’s very face.

That is followed, naturally by the equally absurd idea that there is no reason for a common citizen to need such a destructive weapon. The notion that only the military should need such a weapon is fostered by the naïve idea that when our forefathers passed the second amendment to our constitution they were only thinking of securing the ability of the citizens to put meat on the table. While that was a consideration it was only a small consideration. A reading of the accompanying documents shows that the basis for that amendment was to forever create a fear in those who govern of the governed. That idea was totally new to mankind. Historically it had always been the governed who feared those who governed.

If weapons of the type used in Florida were banned, any individual determined to kill others would simply find another way to do it. The lesson of the Alfred P Murrah Building in Oklahoma City nearly 23 years ago should be required study for every politician, especially liberal democrats, and government bureaucrats. Timothy McVeigh didn’t need an AR-15. All he needed was a couple of hundred dollars’ worth of Ammonium Nitrate, a rented U-Haul and a cheap timer to kill 168 people, wound another 650 and damage all or parts of 300 buildings.

In light of that you would think that America’s farmers would have to find other sources of nitrogen to fertilize their crops but to my knowledge that is still readily available at any garden center or farm supply center in this country.

Even with all the fire power found in Stephen Paddocks room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino the number of people he killed or wounded pales in comparison to the destruction in Oklahoma City.

Have trucks or cars been banned after their use in the killing of innocent people in Europe? No, they haven’t. And while we’re at it let’s ban the use of all presser cookers. You remember don’t you, that pressure cookers were used in the Boston Marathon bombing a few years ago.

As history progressed so did the development of weapons and up until the invention of weapons like the AR-15 there was little concern with private ownership of certain weapons. I don’t know what was behind the reasoning for letting the ban on private ownership of the AR-15 expire, but it was the right thing to do in my opinion.

The citizens of our country should always have access to weaponry equivalent to the military. It is the only way to see to it that our government, people who serve in our government elected and unelected in particular, never have access to any means of overcoming the freedom of the governed. But that wouldn’t be an issue if the root cause of such tragedies was accurately identified.

The news is rife with politicians, celebrities, psychologists and pseudo-intellects blaming the inanimate weapon, people who own inanimate weapons, those who make inanimate weapons and society in general for the tragedy. But, not one of them has addressed the real root of the problem. True, background checks do help identify people who shouldn’t have access to guns, but that is like trying to stop a leak in a dam from the outside where the water has already breached the dam instead of on the inside where the leak begins.

So where is the inside of this dam? Not one person in any of these tragedies, with one exception that I know of, has placed the root blame where it really belongs.

I have always been a firm believer in the responsibility of parents to see to it that the children they bring in to the world are raised with a respect for the rights of other people and their own responsibility to conduct their affairs in a manner that does not interfere with the rights of other people. There is an old saying that goes like this: “Your right to swing your fist stops where my nose begins.”

When any parent fails in this responsibility to teach that concept to their children they bear equal responsibility for the acts of the children they turn loose on society. If an adult does such a lousy job of raising a child that the child becomes a blight on society and as we have seen in the recent events, a deadly blight, they are equally responsible for the acts of that child. It’s my firm belief that if the lives of the perpetrators of these tragedies were traced back far enough you will find an event, involving the parent directly or indirectly, which eventually led to the acts which ended in tragedy for the lives of other people.

That is the very seed of virtually every one of these tragic events and ignorant attention seeking persons of mediocre notoriety are racing to the microphones to blame the inanimate object or the NRA. Stupid corporate leaders are racing to the microphones to withdraw their support of the NRA. How shortsighted and ignorant can those executives be? Apparently extremely ignorant and shortsighted.

Once and for all … let’s get to the root of the problem. People who are ill equipped to raise responsible members of society and the society which chooses to turn a blind eye to them are the real root of the problem. Do I expect that to ever be addressed? No, I don’t.

We have created, at a minimum, two and possibly three generations of adults who have chosen to turn the responsibility for raising the children they bring into the world over to the school systems. Those systems are heavily staffed by teachers and administrators who are teaching our children that they bear no responsibility for their own actions. And that, I believe, is because those liberal educators don’t want to assume responsibility for the outcome of their own lives. They want society to take that responsibility off their shoulders.

Imagine a society that exacted the same penalty on the parents of children who harm others as the penalty imposed on the child. No doubt events such as we have just witnessed would be rare indeed.

One is Silver, the One is Gold … Re-Post

I posted this a year ago yesterday (Nov. 4 1916) and since then I have received dozens of comments, so many comments in fact that I have decided to re-post it for people who might have missed it.

I have been posting about friends recently. No particular reason that I can point to really. It’s just that friends have been on my mind a lot recently. Is it a natural progression because I am now ankle deep in my seventies? I assume that has something to do with it, but there’s more.

People who live relatively normal lives because they are born with bodies that match their gender identity are fortunate. They generally don’t know the feeling of rejection by the people in their lives due to something beyond their control. Before you go off on a rant about having control over the issue, bear this in mind; we all have control over our actions but control over emotions is a different matter. Emotions have a life of their own, and those are what cause the most grief in the life of anyone who is born with a body that doesn’t match their emotional set.

When I finally came face to face with that unorthodox set of emotions, I also came face to face with friends, and family too, who couldn’t see beyond the appearance to the spirit behind the screen. I soon found myself faced with a sorting process. Sorting out the relationships, both new and old became a painful exercise.

I have old friends that I’ve known, literally all my life. Jeanie and I were born in the same hospital room in the Texas Panhandle in 1944. Roger I’ve known since I was 4 years old. Vince and Connie since I was 9. Denny and Candy since high school. These friends are people who have stuck with me through all the chaos of redefining my person.

Family on the other hand is an entirely different story. A sad story but true. The closer the relationship, it seems, the more difficult the process of coming to grips with who I have revealed myself to be. The 2 oldest children haven’t spoken to me since the publication of Dear Mom and Dad; each for their own reasons; misguided as I deem those reasons to be. One first cousin is understanding and accepting the other 2 have pretty much disapproved. My only brother and only sister have more or less, followed the lead of the 2 disapproving cousins. Again, each for their own reasons. So, what am I left with?

Friends! At the close of my last blog I quoted a little ditty that we used to sing at camp. “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver the other gold.” If I could convert all the silver and gold I have in friendships to hard currency I could retire and live comfortably for the rest of my life. The older I get the more precious that currency becomes, and it is never more evident than when I lose one of those gold coins like I did earlier this week.

I spoke of Daryll in a Facebook entry earlier this week. Tuesday morning, last week I awoke and reached for my phone, still pretty much in a stupor, to check the time. I inadvertently dialed his number. When I realized what I’d done I immediately canceled the call. Within a minute he called me back.

We hadn’t spoken in months. I hadn’t bugged him because I assumed he was getting on with life and building his fabricating business. Over the course of our 10-year friendship, Daryll had bailed me out of trouble, mostly vehicle trouble any number of times, always coming to my rescue with a tow or a battery or tires. He even set up an online parts business for me to run at one point.

We talked for the better part of a half hour and through the conversation I learned that his health wasn’t the best; that the Arizona heat was beginning to wear him down. He talked about closing up shop here and moving to Boise Idaho next year. But, I didn’t realize how bad his condition was until first thing in the morning, the day before yesterday, when once again my phone rang and it was his name on the caller id. But it wasn’t him. It was his wife.

“Georgia, it’s Vonda. Daryll passed away on Sunday. I need your help.”

It was like a bugler blowing reveille 6 inches from my ear. Death or the reality of impending death never comes gently to any door. That is a hard reality for anyone, especially for me to face. Up to the time Marilyn died, I had never, not one single time, lost anyone close to me. Daryll was not what I would classify as close, though we shared things that few understand. But he was a solid 24 carat gold friend and his death has shaken me to the core.

His death has brought home to me the very fragile nature of life and how easily it can be shattered. It’s only been a few weeks since a member of our church family suddenly and unexplainably lost her 12-year-old son. He just became ill and died one day.

These circumstances always remind us of that fact, but how often do we awake each morning and treat everyone in our sphere with the tenderness that we would if we knew that would be the last time we would ever be together? From my own experience, I would surmise that the answer to that question would be … never. But it should be “every time” shouldn’t it?

Who is sitting next to you right this minute, on the phone with you, right this minute, that you have given the slightest thought to the possibility that it might be the very last time? Would you be saying, thinking, feeling what you are at this moment if you knew it was the last moment?

At this point in history, the radio and television ads for precious metals and the importance possessing them are as numerous as the ads for beer, maybe more numerous. So how about the next time you see or hear one of those ads, why don’t you give some thought to the silver and gold people in your life and what you need to do to make sure they know that they are safe in your heart? And, never take their presence for granted.