The story of a woman

I was born
That much I do know
They tell me I was a boy
Yes, from the moment that I could remember such things
I felt loved
For a time
Then came a different time
A time when I should know what it’s like to be a boy
What it feels like
Deep down
Like the roots of a giant redwood tree
I saw in a magazine once
But those feelings were as scarce
As a dinosaur
I saw in a book once
I saw girls in books too
I saw myself in those books
In those pictures
In those words, my mom read to me
I was a girl
But that, I kept to myself
Deep, deep down like the fish at the bottom of the ocean
I had seen on Sunday television once
And I felt sad, afraid and lonely

I grew
That much I know
But I was increasingly uncomfortable
I played with boys
It was fine, I guess
No, not really
I began to know what misery was like
Like having to shoot your own dog
I saw that in a movie once
Why was my body the way it was?
And my sense of self the complete opposite?
I asked the question once
Maybe my mom would know
She said God made me a boy
And that is what I had to be
Anything else was wrong, was evil in fact
And hell sounded like a pretty bad place
Maybe God would know, but mom said
I shouldn’t dare make God angry by asking
One day my mom told dad my question
That day, I did go to hell
It was a painful place
I closed the world out then
And I felt abandoned

I reached adulthood
That much I know
I ceased to have a father
And sometimes a mother
I did have some friends
We understood each other
We supported and loved each other
Like the message in a Hallmark Card
I read in a store once
But we needed to keep to ourselves
It seemed people just didn’t know me
I wasn’t just a stereotyped drag queen
To be treated like some freak sex object
I was a woman now
Forgive me, I was always a woman
Well, to me and my friends anyway
Not to the government or society
Or the smirky faced creeps
That one had to keep a watchful eye on
Like all the stories that were told
Within our small group
I felt a kinship
But outside, in the big wonderful world
I was unacceptable as a human

I lived
That much I know
Yes, as the woman I always was
Some might say I had made it
But I knew better
Like the sleight of hand
I saw in a magic show once
Sure, I held down a job
Serving acceptable tacos to acceptable humans
Walking the same route everyday
To and from work
Occasionally catching the eye
Of a well-suited man
Probably undersexed at home
I made no eye contact with them
Nor did I find love
Though I would have liked that very much
Like the kind those girls dream of
For I never became the object of affection
Only the object of sexual curiosity
Once in a great while
I almost entertained going there
But I always shut that down
I would wait to be loved

I was scared
That much I know
Who was this man in the alley?
I was just wanting to go home
After a long night’s work
He obviously wanted to talk
He didn’t look familiar to me
He wasn’t ugly
Not on the outside anyway
But it was still there
An ugliness that lingered
Like the scorn and hatred
I had felt so often
Throughout my short life
He smiled and asked my name
And I told him
Backing slowly away and glancing
Glancing for anyone else
He must have sensed the scream coming
Because in an instant
He had my mouth covered
I was pushed against the wall
Looking down, I ever so briefly saw the blade
Just before I felt the stabbing pain

I was dizzy
That much I know
The man released his hold on me
As I slumped to the dirty pavement
I think he left me then
I am not really sure
I was focused on watching my blood
It was flowing out of me like a gentle stream
I had watched flow once on a trip
That I had taken with my parents
To visit his father
I would like to see my mom
And, yes, even my dad right now
I would forgive them, I think
I still wondered why though
Why, people were so cruel?
Why sinful people thought it was wrong
For me to be me?
I never hurt a single soul in this life
Why did I never find love or true acceptance?
I remember once my mom said it was wrong to ask God
But I was prepared to ask God now, and directly
I was tired now, and as I closed my eyes
I felt love and acceptance

Yes, I had a lot of questions

For more, get my latest collection, On Driftwood and Oblivion on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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A Tragic Loss Within the Transgender Community

More senseless violence against the transgender community results in the murder of a beloved activist. Image Julie Berman (Pride Toronto / Facebook) A few months ago, when writing about violence against the transgender community, I had noted that, by October 2019, there had been 18 …

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The Politics of Personal Destruction and Congresswoman Katie Hill

Both sides want to end the politics of personal destruction, except of course, when it benefits their own side. “The politics of personal destruction” is a phrase originating from conservatives that characterize how Democrats personally demonize anyone that they disagree with. Of course, we know …

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Supreme Court “Politicization”

Is the Supreme Court really becoming too political, or is it just our overly partisan reactions to their decisions and a do-nothing Congress that are the true problems?

The Supreme Court is back in session with many critical cases at hand. Accusations of the court being too political continue unabated, and presidential hopefuls continue to threaten a supreme make-over to ensure that decisions are made in line with the preferred outcomes desired by those candidates. Of course, there are differing judicial philosophies among the judges, but I do not see the court itself as being any more or less political than it has been in the past.

What I do see is that our reactions to their decisions have become as ridiculously partisan as everything else that the other two branches touch, with their hyper-partisan extremes leading the way. When we want a change in direction or a change in how things are done, it is up to Congress to produce and pass new legislation in concert with the Executive Branch. It should not be up to the Supreme Court to have to do the other two branches’ bidding.

Take some of the cases coming before the court this term. There are cases involving LGBTQ rights, particularly concerning whether the Civil Rights Act’s prohibitions on sex discrimination in the workplace also covers the LGBTQ community.

In arguments before the court concerning these cases, justices seem split on a literal interpretation of the Civil Rights Act which could be all-inclusive, based on the limited language, vs. looking at the intent at the time of the legislation, which may not have factored in gender identity or sexual orientation. Personally, it is clear to me that sexual orientation and gender identity should already be covered by the legislation, as discrimination in these cases is based on generalizations that have nothing to do with the ability to perform the job. However, I do understand the validity of the opposing philosophy. These are legitimate differences in judicial opinion, not necessarily the court becoming too political.

Why has Congress not acted to legislatively clarify the Civil Rights Act to specifically cover the LGBTQ community? They passed the act in the first place. The argument will be that any bill cannot be passed in the current environment, but that is a cop-out. Their job is to legislate, not to use their inability to legislate as a means to raise money for reelection.

Politicians would rather posture than to even try and work together, which is the largest single threat to our democracy, in my opinion. The Republic’s health rests on all three branches doing their part in the governing process, and, for far too long, Congress has been punting their duties to either the Executive Branch, for Presidents to sign executive orders that can easily be undone with a changing administration, or relying on the courts to legislate, since apparently, Congress is incapable of doing so.

It is time we hold Congress accountable for their dismal performance and demand that they at least try and do their jobs and pass legislation that helps the people they are supposed to serve.

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It’s Complicated

The largest study to date concludes that human sexuality is complicated. I will alert the media.

Pretty much since the beginning of studies, we have, as a species, been trying to figure out human sexuality and same-sex attraction, and many, along the way, have sought to demonize it. Is it genetics? Is it a lifestyle choice (a “wrong” choice as Dan Quayle once asserted)? Is it a “mental disorder”? Can it be “corrected”?

Before delving into the study, I have always been a proponent of common sense takes on issues, so here is mine. Of course, the human body, and in particular the brain, is extremely complicated and well beyond the scope of full human understanding. I think it probably always will be. There seems to be an infinite number of possible gene/DNA/environmental variants that could determine who we each are, as an individual. It would stand to reason, then, that there are many possible degrees in human sexual orientation, making the Kinsey scale seem outdated and oversimplified.

Those additional environmental and social factors further complicate matters, but here is the bottom line: sexual orientation is and has always been varied throughout our history. We need to stop judging and marginalizing others based on faulty biases and misunderstood (both innocent and deliberate) interpretations of religious texts.

Now for something completely different: a scientific study. In the largest study of its kind about human sexual orientation, researchers analyzed the DNA of hundreds of thousands of people. For generations, there has been the quest for the single “gay” gene, but that is not what they found. Not surprisingly, what they found is that sexual orientation is much more complicated than a single gene can determine.

Their study suggests that there are at least five genetic variants that could be related to same-sex behaviors. I will predict, right now, that future studies will undoubtedly find more. The researchers also found that environmental factors play a role and that no one single factor can determine someone’s sexual orientation. Our human experience is so much more complex than what can be identified, even by large and well-executed studies, as this one seems to be. As with most advances in scientific knowledge, we continue to learn that the more we know, the more we realize that we don’t know.

As with prior studies, there are already concerns with this study that its findings will be cherry-picked for items to exploit for political gain or bigotry and hate. Unfortunately, those behaviors from small people will exist with or without studies attempting to better understand ourselves.

While I generally prefer common sense over scientific studies, I completely agree with its overall conclusion, as expressed by its lead author, Andrea Ganna, European Molecular Biology Laboratory group leader at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland. The conclusion is simply that same-sex behavior is “a natural part of our diversity as a species.” Makes sense to me. I would add that our diversity is something to be embraced and something we can all take pride in.

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Religious Freedom and Citizen Rights

It seems nonsensical to me that we could allow religious freedom to trump a person’s right to work without being discriminated against for their gender identity or sexual orientation. The Trump administration recently announced plans to remove protections for the LGBTQ community by adding religious …

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