Dear me….

I think today requires me to take you all on a journey.  A trip that started from a video my friend Erin posted a year ago to my Timeline.   I’ve found myself more than once pondering about what would life be if this or that.  I’ve wondered if transition the way I did it was right and I’ve pondered where I would be if I started 5…. 10….. even 15 years ago.  As much as I ponder this I’m always pulled back to the reality that I am who I am not just for what I’ve done, but everything that has ever affected my life.  From the loss of some friends to the gaining of others everyone had a roll to play.  Giving the due credit to where I’m at I decided today I’m going to write letters to the younger me.   Not just one letter, but many that address different points in my life.  

Dear 5 year old me:

I know you’re confused, conflicted, and stressed.  I know you don’t understand those thoughts in your head but believe me, one day everything will make sense.  Don’t give up on being you… even if you don’t know who the real you is yet.  Keep playing dress up and hope you don’t get caught….. again.

Dear 10 year old me:

Tomorrow is another day.  Sure you know that there is something that isn’t right but you have no idea how to describe it.  Playing football and releasing the stress will work for a bit but believe me the future holds something much bigger.  Just keep your eyes forward.  For Petes sake…. be nice to your sister….   you will thank me someday.  

Dear 15 year old me:

You have survived….  suicide is a constant feeling and depression is your only friend.  You have started to see Jerry springer and those girls on there….   you’re like them yet nothing like them.   You still don’t have a name for that fleeting feeling but trust me…   soon enough you will understand.   In a few more years you will start dating that girl you’ve admired since 7th grade and that girl is the one thing that will pull you through it all… even when you don’t want to.  One other thing…. be nice you your sister.   

Dear 20 year old me:

You will be married to that amazing girl and in less than a year your first beautiful daughter will be born.  Yes… I know you keep saying you don’t want kids but believe me, you most certainly do.  The internet will give you a truthful name for who you are and you will find an amazing girl to start you on your way.   Life isn’t going to be easy and you will have 2 more failed suicide attempts.   One day you will realize that those failures are a good thing.  One other thing….   be nice you your sister… she will always be your biggest fan and your greatest supporter.   

Dear 25 year old me:

Look how far you have come.  Married for 5 year and a father to your precious girl and you will have 2 more soon here… life should feel complete yet it doesn’t.   All that happiness seems for not.  You’re 2-3 years away from some of the most amazing years of your life but first you will need a wake up call.   It will come.  You will know when it’s time.  No matter what… don’t give up.   Soon you will be starting back to school, you will meet amazing friends, you will find strength and support.   You will find your voice but not before that one last wake up call.    You will be coming out soon and believe me it’s no where near as bad as you think it is.  When you find that voice, your sister will be your first call.   She will be there for you and  your family.  She will be the rock in all these troubled times.  

Dear 30 year old me:

Your journey is just beginning.   You’re looking back and having regrets.  You are now dreaming about what if I transitioned 5 or 10 years ago and believe me…. one day you will understand that it’s better this way.  As your starting this journey you’re fearing loss.  Loss of family, friends, spouse, kids….   you’re fearing that it will all be gone.  It will be a long road filled with many challenges but don’t look back.   One day it will all make sense.  

Dear 35 year old me:

I am now a bit under 3 months and I’ll be 36 so let’s talk about how far you have come.   Your name is done… gender is fixed… you have your degree…. made some amazing friends… but there is something so much more.  You have the love of your family.  Mom, Dad, Chrissy, Aaron, Gram, Cindy, and all your daughters.   They love you for you.  All of those fears you carried….   they haven’t come true…. but everything you have done has made you… you.  

Dear future me:

Be the real you.  Everyone deserves that including yourself.  The love will be there when your ready and the people who are important will be there for the journey.  Love everyone everyday and never forget… love wins!  No one will ever be left behind.  Don’t stop until every last person feels safe being themselves.  

Image credits to my friend Jess who made my amazing cover photo.  

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The waterworks

I spent many years of my life hiding.  I sat  in high school and college classes letting my life pass me by knowing there was something deeper I needed to deal with.  I continued to hide and left that secrete with one person to carry with me.   One day in college I just came out to a group of strangers and I expected to be chastised, criticized, and outcast.   I threw myself in the fire after 29 years of my life knowing that if it didn’t work I could still fall back to my original plan.  Death…. it just seemed right when all felt wrong.  Well what I expected was in no way what I received.  I received love.  

From the start I was accepted, included, and supported.   I found some amazing friends and a new found love for my family.   I also found new meaning to my life as the mountainous climbs felt became more like a speed bump.  With this I felt different in some amazing ways.   I was no longer that mouthy country boy with the long hair in the back of the class.  I actually had an identity.  

After many years and many struggles I kept trying to get to a point where I could “finish” my transition (it’s never truly done) and be able to concentrate on other things.  This required a lot of steps and if it wasn’t for my amazing wife, I would still be stuck.   

We rented a house from my aunt and her parents lived right next door.   We always felt like we were watched.  Like some parent was keeping tabs on when we worked, slept, etc.  Everything felt like a production and I allowed this to hold me back for years until Cindy and I decided we were moving.     I found a house that I liked and being the socially inept (I despise being on a phone) and prepping for my 4th of July foreworks trip Cindy said she would call.   

She called and she did more then talk….   she negotiated and settled the deal on our home.  She is fully credited for the entire deal and when I came back from that weekend we were set on course to move on up.   After the move life became cosumed by home remodeling, kids, and everything else a parent and partner should be.   Life put my transition on hold and I didn’t mind so much anymore.  Things were feeling pretty good.  

Life was on course and after managing our lives Cindy and I finally came together to handle my name change.  I was excited to say the least and what followed was 6 months of stress, anxiety, worry, and fear.   Thoughts of if it was right (it was) and where it would lead.  Through it all and through all this Cindy held me and consoled me.   She even posted both of my notification submissions one due to my anxiety and one because I was out of town.  The only time she couldn’t be by my side was. The day of the hearing but she was still my first call when it was done.   She has gone through hell with me and how she has managed to not kill me…. I have no idea… but here she stands.  

As of January 24th, 2017 my name has been legally changed and many of you have seen this posted on my page.   I’ve followed every emotion from fear to joy but as all the dust settled and I begins the process of changing every document ever attached to me I find a calming feeling.   The stress has withered away and I no longer feel like I’m acting.   I feel complete but now I always feel fearful. 

This entire journey has taken its toll and even with the hugs, high 5’s and cheers I need to take stock.   I realized that through this entire journey my biggest supporter was the person who took the hardest part of journey. She was the one who took the brunt of rough times and she took blame when it was mostly my fault.  More than anything she gave herself and everything she had to support me in this journey.   Now the question is….  is it to late?   Did I take to much and give to little?

Funny… for so long I said one can not pour from an empty cup.   I became a bit selfish and a bit consumed in this journey yet she is still there.   She poured from an empty cup for more years then I could have ever imagined.   She is sure someone special and if there is one piece of advice I will give anyone…  Don’t lose grip of those who love you while chasing that dream.   Don’t lose the ones you love.  We are family and in the end, family is what we all have.  

I love you Cindy!!!   Thank you for everything!!! Now it’s my turn to treat you as you should have been treated all the while.  

More then just a label

Labels can hold many distinctions in our societal circles.  They hold stigmas and sterotypes both good and bad, some are able to easily own up to their labels while others are repressed by them.   Now in this I can highlight some of the easy to spot labels but others are a bit deeper and easier to dismiss.  I will hit them all and while it may seem trite to some they can make a major difference in the society we live in and I’m going to start right off with the most confusing of them all… Normal.

Yesterday I did something I like to regularly do as a thought experiment.   There was no right or wrong answer.  Just a couple simple questions without me guiding the conversation.  “What is normal?  Along that line, what labels have been used to describe you.  In this questioning I notice a trend that made me smile and that is the reality that normal isn’t some stone set way of living.   Normal is imaginary.  It’s some made up in the idea that we all have to be some cookie cutter mold of the other.   We see this in TV adds, magazines, and movies where we must be this thin, this tall or this type of person to be “normal”in our society.  Thankfully in my friends list and hopefully more outreaching outside of them are finding this as more common.  Normal is more a setting on a dryer then a descriptor of a person.  

This leads to labels.   Sure we have all seen the common ones, but when the labels are used not as a descriptor but as an insult it tends to get overwhelming very quickly.   And even more so when you add in other micro aggressions like missed pronouns, dead names or complete denial of the other.   Pretending a situation doesn’t exists doesn’t make it disappear but sadly this all to well what happens.    Labels used to discredit, belittle, or degrade someone all in the search for some power of the other.   We have seen this not only in recent times with happenings around our local area of Western PA but also coming on a national level.   

This is why I’ve become a part of an amazing group here.   A start up group that has grown very fast in the Mercer county area.  This all stemmed from the growing realization that many in the LGBT community felt alone.  Like no one was around for them.  As this group has grown we have made many strides all in building an amazing group for everyone.   We have started discussing  some ideas and key phrases to build on and one many of us liked is what became the title to this post “More than just a label”.   
I am a spouse, parent, daughter, mechanic, employee, college graduate, friend, writer, advocate, and so much more.   Sure I happen to be transgender but in the context of life that is the smallest part of me.   Being transgender hasn’t limited my life, it has explained it in more ways then I could ever imagine.  
Now tell your story.   Tell everyone who you are.   Tell the world you are more than just one thing.   You are more than just a label.    

Image care of my good friend Dave S.   Someone who I meet for one small reason, yet have grown so much more from having him in my life.  

A time to listen and a time to talk. 

In my studies I learned that in any good conversation there is a time to listen, a time to talk, a time to think, and a time to act.  Complications can come into play when one is emotionally charged in the situation.  Yesterday was one of those days for me that moved into an emotionally fueled rant on Facebook.   Was I right in my thinking… I think I was but in the process of such a post, fairness may seem irrelevant to the bigger picture and with it the possibility that another may think I’m judging.   Today, I’m going to talk about this post and I’m going to set straight some of the comments I made.   I’ll save you the hassle of looking for it as I’ll post it here before I begin.  

“There is this idea in my head and I wish I had a way to express it but alas I’m with few words at this point. This feeling is not for any other reason than a post I seen on my friend Carla’s wall.  

41% of transgender people attempt suicide…. 41% and as she stated, this number is skewed by the fact that it was taken by the ones of us who survived. How high would this number be if we could ask the rest? I’ll bet much higher yet when the topic of transgender people come up, this number is minimized as some magical number that was pulled from the sky.    

Everyday I’m on social media and I see all the comments. Some mundane yet mean to the down right ruthless. I hear from others about comments they have seen. It’s disturbing and down right crazy that people actually say these things. They look at the computer monitor or screen of their smart phone and can remove themselves from the fact that these are people.   

This disconnect has given way to brazen keyboard warriors who have nothing better to do then “have fun” harassing others. Well I’m here to tell you that there is more to this. There is more than some trolling comments to rouse the others. There are people behind the other screen. They see your hate and find themselves feeling hopeless…. Lost…. Depressed. This is more than a number. This is lives in the balance and somehow we all need to find the love and come together as a country.   

41% people. And as you think of that number, look at the argument being passed to our wonderful bathroomgate… If it saves one person it is worth it… So why is it not acceptable to save us? Why is this acceptable in 2016? It should not be.   

Transgender people wanting to kill themselves to prove a point. To be martyrs in the fight to be equal… No person should ever have to feel this way ever. While some of society thinks we should change for the sake of few people with an axe to grind, I’m going to stand here and say that they need to change. If we are less than 1% of the population…. Why is so difficult to accept and move on?   

41%+ is an atrocity to “society”. It’s time to start this conversation. It’s time for us to talk about the reality of this and considering I’m part of that “41%” with 4 failed suicides I’m going to speak. I failed die when i had no voice and now that I’m finally living…. Your damn sure going to listen what I and every other transgender person has to say…. even if you don’t like the sound.”

So obviously I went off the rails here a bit on the rate of suicide for people like me and to be honest, I tried my best to not pull punches on any one person.   I also will not explain my reasons for what triggered me for the fact that it’s my own situation to deal with.  Don’t worry, I’m safe… but not all of us are.   Before I posted this rant I was talking with a friend Alli and we spoke about how lucky we were about our acceptance level in our lives.  

Alli and I have a few things in common.  We methodically planned what was happening.   We carefully played card after card to get where we are.   We also have made great strides to be accepted as we are by most all family, friends, and co workers yet are we really lucky… Or just smart?

When I finally came to terms with myself, it was years before I made any large changes.    I plotted who would be told, when, and how.    Fist it was a few close friends (Tim and Eric).  I surprised them and even with shock, they didn’t care.   This built me up a bit to come out to a class eventually leading me to family. 

I know who my family works.   So on the dark, rainy night I spoke to my mom, then my sister and brother (in law).   I had so many fears of my dad and how I would be a disappointment to him.   I mean how do you tell a man who’s pride in his son and grandkids that he didn’t actually have a son.   My mom and sister handled that.   I’m glad to, because I don’t know where I would be if I did.   

From there, I went on to continuing a slow exposure with coworkers at Kmart, and Lowes.   I found acceptance this way as no one had a sudden jolt of “here I am!”    I didn’t even post a lot of picture because of my parents to somehow shelter them from my progression.   I asked my mom if I could wear my nail polish to their house because I was sick of taking it off every day.      Eventually, I changed my name on Facebook to its current (and final) place.   No big post, just change and wait.   People noticed…. Quickly.   I will always remember sending a message to my friend Jen and her response was an epic… “YOU CHANGED YOUR NAME!!!”    This was the start of my support.   Eventually things moved on and became easier as the days moved on.   I learned makeup from Kellie and took it to my own style.    I made steady progress only because I knew when to listen, and knew when to talk.     

It was 5 years in the making and the only thing that pulled me out of my funk and depression was the people around me.   I was no longer ashamed of being a transgender girl and realized with out thinking… I was just a girl.   Now this acceptance hasn’t just been from certain people, but a mass of people spanning backgrounds from my shooting friends to religious friends.   They have all come to me and shown a support in my journey that I think only a few can match.   Maybe it was my approach, but whatever it was worked.  

So as you read my rant and think about what I said, remember this: 

I am supported by devoutly religious people, atheists, friends, family, coworkers, kids, and everyone in between.   So as my rant went online I could have boiled it down to a few sentences.   

Having the right people in our lives is what saves us and those people are not from the same place.   They are around this country and world with backgrounds from welding to education.  Big bearded men to soft feminine women.   Gay or  trans to cisstraight people.   It’s about love of another, even if you don’t understand why.   It’s sometimes about listening instead of talking.  Its about living, and having the support to do so.   Hate is a 4 letter word that is bad for us all and will become the dagger that stabs the heart of all American people.  

Live life, laugh often, and be true to yourself.  Society may be a few steps behind but they are trying.   

Image above is a screen shot of my friend Erin from high school days, complimenting me (and my attempts at learning how to take them) and my friend Nick… Who managed to win the Internet with his reply.  Both based off of a before and after I posted and will post below.  Showing that love and laughs are saving lives.  
Spread the love and spread the laughs.  It’s makes life so much better for us all.  

Words and how they hurt.  

I have come to find that there are some words that can cause major emotions in many people in different ways.  Ignorance, bigot, extremist, fear, and hate.   Now the words have meaning in today’s society and especially in the arguments of the current days.  Now to me, I can understand the ignorance of transpeople because we have been in the shadows.   We were trying to live our lives without conflicts.  It seems though that many bigots have come to the front out of fear from campaign ideals thrust by the AFA.  This group will pull me to the next round of ideas.   

Extremists are not just Islamic people.   They aren’t just terrorists out in some foreign land.   They are everywhere, even American citizens on America soil.  These men and women are in the front lines of our most current civil rights battle and its discerning that this battle is over bathrooms.   Now these extremist Christians hold no bearing of acceptance. They hold their beliefs dear to them and feel it is their power to control others.   They use their religion as a weapon.   This is not the face of most Christians I meet, but it is sadly the face we are seeing today.  They are spreading the word I despise the most and that is hate.  All being pushed along with fear. 

Fear is a way to push something in a timid public.   Just by laying that fear out one can control the movement of a topic. “Men is women’s spaces”, “protecting women and children”, and “protecting privacy” are all key words used in the plight of the argument.  So how does one instill that there is a problem when one truly doesn’t exist?  By creating fear and panic.  Putting out commercials showing a man following a girl into the restroom.  Putting out fear that the children are in danger.  Throwing Ted Cruz into the spotlight to say how not only is the law “common sense” but how it’s against what they believe is right.  With no way around it this fear leads to the worst of any word I know, hate.  

To me, hate is a word that should never be and in this I have taught my children that sometimes people disagree and sometimes they may not get along, but no one deserves to be hated.   I dislike religion, I don’t hate it.  So for me to see these extreme groups calling out action in discrimination all based off of hate, it concerns me.   What also concerns me is the similaritues between current and past equal rights fights in this country.   The arguments against black people sharing spaces.  The arguments during the marriage equality fights.  On to today with the transgender bathroom issues. 

There is hate being spread in the name of God.   There are preachers standing on the piles of bodies laid to rest from suicide and murder.   There are people who are more interested in speaking out about how they feel wronged in society because they feel uncomfortable.   They hate the fact that trans people exists.   They hate that their comfortable life is being stirred by others wanting equality in society.  Not special rights, just equal ones.  

Hate is the thing that will destroy our country but there is a cure.   Education is the cure to the ailments of today’s society.   Leaving our comfort zone and understanding both sides, not just the side we want to know.    We need to come together in this time of growth.   We need to become a nation banded together again and maybe Eddie Izzard is right:

“We need to talk about this, we need to talk about this issue until it gets boring.  Once it’s boring, no one will care”  

Try some love.  Believe me it’s a much better stance. From an atheist transgender girl in Western PA: Stop hating transgender people and stop hating religious people.  Just stop hating. I know many amazing transgender people in this world and many amazing religious people and neither on if them deserves anything less than full respect for their needs, belief, and a whole lot of love.  


Image found in Google search under shortday.in

Is this where we are as a nation?

So as I stroll the media sites that I am on, I see numerous arguing points on this Bathroom debate. Now, in these debates there are some decent points on both sides that should be considered. In my case I know what side of the fence I am standing on and I know its not always safe. I pee in the Ladies room because that’s where I look and feel like I belong but I also have the luxury of blending. Sure I may see a man in the mirror, but others on a daily basis show me otherwise with the way I am treated. As I traverse the madness of the current affairs I had to sit back and ponder the situations to determine what is the heart of the issue. I always try to see both sides while expressing my opinion and I try to educate others if the possibility is there. Now this current situation requires much more than a few conversations but I will say my peace and you all can be the judge. I may pull a few punches, but I think my friends will understand.

Bathrooms are a freaky place for most everyone. I do not know to many people who will get excited to go in the public restrooms. I personally was not in any sort of euphoria moving from one side to the other. It is a place to do your business and get out. Now what I am trying to figure out is how this basic bodily function has become such a cluster screw in our nation. Sure some friends have posted jokes, some have said amazingly supportive things, and some… well we will say they were very frustrated by the argument and said something that I was shocked by. I did message him and we worked it out, but it still hits home.

Now I have no idea what bathrooms some of these people have gone into but all the ones I have been in (on both sides of the fence) had stalls with doors. So I am missing the boat of someone ,making the comment “I don’t think its right my daughter could have a penis hanging 3″ from her face…” yes, this was a response to a Facebook post and I was aghast to figure out how this even was possible. Thankfully I have many amazing friends and family who redeem my faith in humanity. Now about an hour ago my friend Nick posted a Video on his Facebook and it was covering the topic of bathrooms. Brutally honest and dead on accurate. I listened intently as he mentioned my transition, and how he was impressed and loved watching the changes. He spoke from the heart while managing to address the concerns. This is the kind of friends we all need in our lives but something equally as important is family.

As my mother was getting her hair done, she was pulled into a conversation about transgender people and she may not be completely comfortable yet telling all her friends that she has a transgender daughter. but this conversation was that of transgender bathroom issues. Yes, this conversation is that wide spread. Now as they discussed, my mom was afraid of getting backlash for saying that “they used the bathrooms for how many years and now it becomes an issue?” Every woman from the age of 25-70 agreed and didn’t see the issue here. nothing however will top my amazing sister who posted something today that brought tears to my eyes:

“I am tiring of people believing that the transgender population are a sexual predation problem. A predator could enter a bathroom regardless of permission or gender association and would be charged of the same crimes whether they were in Target or not. This is NOT an LGBT issue. As a proud sister of a transgendered sibling, I completely support these companies and any company supporting LGBT rights. Your choice is your own, however bigotry in this day and age is unacceptable. Black, white, gay, straight, trans, or not – we all deserve to be treated the same.”

I was in tears of joy. See while so many have worried about predators and those “transgenders”, real people are noticing the hate.

So let talk about fear for a minute. While Ted Cruz and self identified “pastor” Greg Locke try and strike fear into the hearts of mothers about predators with fear based commercials and candid videos outside the local Target blasting about how this country is going to hell because people need to pee. They are pissed at Target for obeying the federal law and OSHA regulations of transgender people. I hate to break it to these men, but life didn’t end for the 20 or so years that people have been using the bathroom they identify with. So as people are blasting Target for restating the policy they have had for years I wonder if those men are truly thinking. Are they really concerned about safety, or are they fighting against something they don’t believe in?

Fear is being open and public. I along with other out transgender advocates have a fear of assault or murder, not because of what we say but who we are. We put ourselves out there with little regard to the dangers in hopes of helping others find peace and solace around the hatred shown by society. So as we recap fears, sure the fear of a predator can be rational, but they will do what they want either way so is it worth discrimination against people like me just for the sake of a feel good law? I personally don’t think so.

While on the topic of Greg Locke. It seems this man has quite the experience and knowledge with child molesters. He seems to ignore the fact that he actually employed a child molester in his own church. He brought someone who has a history of the stuff Locke is arguing against in his video. So lets ask this, is it truly about protecting the children? If this was the priority I don’t think he would be so trusting of a sex offender in his own church. What about convicted sex offenders in the men’s room? Are we not worrying about the boys? Pastor Locke, please note that hypocrisy is not a good look for anyone and if you are going to try and be the talking head for Christians, please, find a better place. fanning the fires of a debate that can actually cause depression, suicide or murder of transgender people, will you be standing on the bodies of these people to preach higher on the mountain?

Breaking the silence 

     So I took a little over a month off here to reprioritize my life, organize my thoughts, and remodel my kitchen and in that month some things have transpired that I feel as a transgender woman (be it in western PA) I need to speak on.  A small part of me wants to go off the rails on North Carolina and many other states on their recent passage and submissions of some questionable bills.  I will not allow myself to fall into that and instead would like to go on an educational stand point along with my polite opinion on the matters.  Hopefully many find this more receptive then the usual political uproar we have been seeing.  
     

     To start this I will first speak about where I fall in this society we live in.  I fall very much into the realm of visible in who I am.   I can not, nor will I hide the fact from my friends in person, or online that I am a transgender person.  I also do not hide the fact that I am an atheist.    What some may not know is I am a libertarian and fall completely in the independent category.  Sometimes I wonder if my political views mimic my gender in the ways of being stuck in the middle.  I’m conservative when it comes to gun rights yet liberal on equality and the rights of all, not just some.  I’m fiscally conservative, yet feel that the need for programs to help others better themselves in many ways in a more liberal light.  You may be wondering why I am laying this all out for you but trust me it will all make sense shortly.   Long story short I’m transparent in my views and very open to discussions to help broaden the horizons.   

     The other day I posted a picture about Mississippi with my comment being “interesting statement”.   This proceeded to bring out some who blamed democrates for the issues in America.  Now knowing I have some conservatives on my FB doesn’t bother me because 95% of them are good people and have no problem going into logical educational debates.   One that tripped me though was a person who decided to first call me by my “dead name”, which is an insult by the way, and then proceeded to not debate but go ballistic on how “libtards” are destroying the country.   Another friend (who lives in North Carolina I might add) agreed that it was an interesting statement as it could be taken numerous ways (as I also seen).  This brought me to a point of call when the more vocal decided to tell me I should stop before I hurt myself of someone else.   This made me question not my journey, but what had brought him to such hate.   I think the deeper issue though is not one of religion or bigotry, but of fear in the unknown (ignorance in it pure form as “lack of knowledge”). 

     I’m mostly going to speak on North Carolina as it is the one all over the news media and social media.  Let’s take pause for a minute to consider the people there.  Not to judge them, but to truly ask what do many know about a person who is trans?  Have you spoken to someone trans? Had coffee with one?  How about working with or having  a neighbor that is? I ask this because it’s easy to fear out of ignorance and I believed half of what I have seen on the internet I would have the possible same fears.   This isn’t the case however.   

     Being a transgender person isn’t an all encompassing epitome that we can fit into a nice little check box.   We come in all shapes and sizes and all walks of life.  Males, females, and even some considered non bianary (or no gender) and where we fall is something we delt with for most of our lives. Now we have legislation coming that is concerned about where we are to use the restroom yet it’s guilded as “religious freedom”.    Now to touch the basis of this I will say I’m all for people practicing religion anyway they see fit (or notto if they prefer).   I believe in the freedom to be able to practice your religion anywhere you need.  The issue here falls along the same lines as gay marriage as with the constitution and separation of church and state.  You may have your opinion about me and I’m ok with that.  You may not like what I had to do to live a genuine life and I’m ok with that too.  So where is this going you ask?  The entire basis of HB2 (and many others like it) are more then just “bathroom bills”.  They are not only bringing genitals into a debate that up until the past year… Didn’t exsist but they are Basically legalizing descrimination based in religion.  So it could be the inter racial couple next door, or that unwed mother.  They can be told to move or denied basic civil liberties.  They also remove the ability for those people to sue as it removed the access to civil court.  Removed the right to court proceedings that are to constitutnally protected.  
 

   Now let’s have some potty talk for a minute.  Transgender people use the bathroom of their identity daily and most likely, you didn’t even notice.  So we inlay “protecting the women” into these bills to justify a solution to a problem that no one even knew existed.   Now in my humble arena this was a hard bridge to cross.  I questioned daily about if I looked feminine enough.   I worried about being seen as an outsider.   The point that I switch was when I was stopped numerous times leaving the men’s room to the point of harassment.   So now as a user of the ladies room I can attest, along with many coworkers, that all I do in there is go to the bathroom, behind a locked stall door.  What a concept, we go to the bathroom and leave.  
 

    Now let’s talk about the available options for equality.  Sure, I could have my papers amend to show female on my birth certificate.  But in PA that requires a surgery that costs $25,000 to get a paper so we can pay to edit the document.  Very few health insurance plans cover it because… Well many of the same people writing these laws don’t find it nessasary for us to have surgery  to correct it.    Then in other area (like my friend Zoe) she has had her surgery but the beurocratic red tape makes it near impossible to complete.   So it’s almost a catch all to discriminate against trans people.   Sure, if they have the money to alter this or that…. Jump through these 8 loopholes, spend your last pennies for that surgery, then do these other steps to change your birth records and we will all be good.    Does this seem fair? Maybe if the legislation was based on better access to doctors and health care covering the costs this wouldn’t be a concern.   

     Let’s talk.  Let’s come together.  Let’s sit down and work out those details you don’t know.  Bring an open mind and a willingness to listen.  Let’s find that middle ground for us all because while some are fighting about democrates and republicans and others are screaming equality and others worry about religious freedom we have people suffering.  People are being hurt or killed daily in ignorance.   People are comiting suicide because they fear they will never be accepted.  People who happen to be transgender.   People who want to just live.  People who want to be themselves in the land of the free.  We are all different, but that’s what makes us beautiful.   So let’s stop the fighting and name calling.  Lets help each other understand each other.  Let’s talk so we can live as one people, as humans in a civilized society.  

Sending love to you all, 

Ali