Blog Editorial

Is it better to be Politically Correct or have your own strong ethical/moral compass?

It seems too many people and groups these days are quick to jump on some perceived slight by someone who appears to be an “other”. I recently heard about a trans group who protested a planned performance of “The Vagina Monologues” because there wasn’t a vignette about transwomen. Really? Or muslim student organizations protesting lectures by people who’s own stories and experiences are critical of islam. Really? Since when is it wrong to criticize a segment of the population for their shortcomings. Everyone was outraged and mocked Brian Williams for stretching the truth but did nothing when proof surfaced that Bill O’Riely was found to be guilty of the same thing. I’ve seen the same kind of outrage by every ethnic group or sub-culture when someone points out something about a segment of one ethnic group or another that paints them in a bad light.

The fact is every ethnic, religious or subculture demographic group has some faults, shortcomings and bad elements within them. To pretend that they don’t is no different than fundamentalist Christians believing that they can legislate people’s lives.

When I was beginning to come out, a very wise transwoman told me to always be aware of my actions and behavior because what I say and do can have a lasting negative impression towards others in our community. In other words, if I behave badly, it doesn’t just reflect badly on me (as an idiot) but on all people like me. And this same golden rule applies to all groups: ethnic, religious, disabled, veteran, gender, and every other subculture you can think of.

So, when I recount a negative experience I’ve had and I include as much detail as I can, I am not making some blanket bigoted statement. I am telling MY story, based on my experiences, and I’m not going to edit or censor it because it paints some people or groups in a bad light.

People strongly committed to Social Justice need to learn to be able to see the difference between someone relating experiences that may not be flattering to groups you feel are downtrodden and someone making some broad stereotypical statement.

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Poem: Whole

When did I pass the point of no return?
Today?
This moment?

Or. . . was it sometime in the past?

Before I had the courage to buy my first dress. . .
a third time. Before the first time

I borrowed my wife’s skirt while she was at work. . .

Before the afternoons alone in my college apartment practicing with make-up. . .

Before the jokes. . .

Before the gay hairdresser rubbed
his nine inch trouser snake against my arm
while giving me a cut and style at Bargain Clips. . .

Before the five hour car ride from St Louis to Chicago
with three gay men who took turns trying to woo me. . .

Before being paraded on a dais naked and exposed in a black teddy
to a room full of sorority girls and fraternity guys as part of a fraternity pledge auction. . .

Before I borrowed my mother’s old dresses. . .

Before the lies. . .

Before the tears began. . .

Before I knew. . .
what it meant
to not be. . .

Whole

The Response

It has only been a couple of days since I started to circulate my coming out letter to family and friends, however, so far the response has been almost entirely supportive. Whereas, some of the family and friends I came out to first last year have not been as supportive as I thought they might be. One cousin in particular who has a couple of gay nephews and openly expressed support for them in the past, told me that she would “pray for me” and that she would not accept any friend request on social media because she “didn’t want to see any of my pro-transgender propaganda”. I also had a couple of friends who I thought were progressive who stopped associating with me after I came out to them.

It seems that you cannot predict someone’s reaction based on their previous opinions and behaviors. For years… decades even, I was paralyzed with fear of coming out to my family convinced that I would be ostracized and shunned. Postponing transition and repressing my true self out of a baseless fear.

The reality has turned out much different. And, my self-imposed exile from my sister’s family, my aunts and cousins, only hurt myself. Any closeness I might have had with them had I stayed in touch can never be repaired, and I will have to live with that the rest of my life.

My Coming Out Letter

After the events of the last year, I decided that it was time to officially announce my transition to family and friends. While I had told some and only given limited information to others, until yesterday I had not made an official declaration of my change. And, even in this letter, I do not go into great detail about any of the logistics or graphic titillating details. It is my feeling that people really only need to know the basics and I don’t need to unload all of my baggage to get the message across.

——

Dear family and friends,

You probably may have noticed some changes or heard some gossip about me over the last couple of years. And now I am finally ready to set the record straight. The truth of the matter is:  I have come to the undeniable conclusion that I am a Male-to-Female Transsexual.

I have not come to this conclusion lightly. I have struggled with feeling different and out of place as a boy most of my life and all of the advice and admonitions from counselors and pastors to put these feelings behind me failed miserably. During all of those years I hated myself utterly and completely every minute of every day, and I felt like God had abandoned me. But since I’ve come to terms with what I am, I have not only felt the presence and love of God but I have experienced so many blessings I can hardly begin to count.

I have done extensive research, seen several psychologists and, under the WPATH standards of care, have been approved for Transition by more than one. As such, I have been on hormones and under a doctor’s care for almost a year. In addition, I have legally changed my name from Robert to Rita (which was the name my mother had picked for a daughter). I do everything that is appropriate for a woman and for all intents and purposes I am living as my True Self full-time. And Yes, when the doctors and psychologists feel I am ready, I will have The surgery (SRS).

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Many of you may have questions and I will be happy to answer any that are reasonable. However, for those of you who may be offended or disgusted by what I am, I am truly sorry you feel that way and I will pray for your hate filled souls.

I wish you all the best.

All my love, Rita Mae Dunn

Lost Prescription

OMG! So, I was on the phone with my Cardiologist’s office earlier. One of my medications was held up by the pharmacy because my script was out of refills, so I figured I better call in case the issue was because of my new name. As I’m explaining the situation to the woman on the phone, she asks me, “What’s your first name?”

I say, “my old name is R—-“. She paused, then with a high pitched note of surprise, she says, “That’s your name?!”

I say, “Yes, that was my old name. My script is probably under my new name – Rita”.

“Oh, you’ll probably have to come in and update your record, let me check!” She put me on hold for about 5 minute, then was very nice and helpful when she came back.

I still have to go in to correct my info with the doctor’s office before I can get my script refilled, but I’m glad I didn’t have any issues over the phone. Even better was the fact that the woman was confused when I told her my old/male name. (I know she had to be thinking, But you sound like a woman? LOL )

Update

Today is Chinese New Year. The Year of the Horse is now over and as we reach the end of this lunar year, the first stage of my transition is now making way for the next phase, the real work, a life taking root and growing.

I apologize to my readers. So much has transpired since my last post, and even more that I needed to catch up on from last summer. I have not been able to keep up with my diary entries as things happened. Suffice it to, things have been going very smoothly. And, I promise to write about the three bus trips I took to visit my mom, dealing with the bathroom issue, my name change, changing my demographical data, the holidays, reconnecting with family, and having my secret discovered.

All of that in the past nine months. It has was a busy year. And, now I’m looking forward to sitting back and catching my breath and processing all that has happened. So, stay with me as I share with you all of the highs and lows.

Trans on Trans Bigotry

It is no secret that there is a fair amount of dissent, differences of opinion, and infighting within the Transgender Community, as well as, the LGBT Community as a whole. With the transgender umbrella bringing together so many different gender variant groups, each with their own justifications and rationale, disagreements and hostilities are only natural. However, it is hard to fathom and understand this kind of infighting and outright bigotry toward each other until it has turned it’s ugly head on you.

Over the last twenty years, I have endured the occasional snicker and insult from a lot of different types of people, including gay men and lesbians. And, felt out of place and even unwelcome at many transgender social events. It seems that even though many of these groups experience and complain loudly about discrimination and judgmental attitudes from an uninformed public, they are completely and utterly willing to join in with the oppressors to sling judgmental attitudes and slurs at others in the LGBT community.

However, all of the negative and hateful comments and looks I’ve experienced over the years was nothing compared to what happened today when I got laughed about by a pair of hoochie trans-girls at the LGBT health clinic. They came in and registered and when they came around the divider to the “waiting room” they stopped dead in their tracks and went scurrying back around the corner toward the entrance to hide behind a temporary construction wall.

I could see them peeking around the corner and laughing hysterically. At what I had no clue. There were only 3 people including myself in the waiting room area and the other two had their backs to the entrance. And, there was nothing that I could see around me, other than myself, which could have ignited such immature and adolescent hysterics.

I was wearing a pair of stretch jeans, running shoes, a long sleeve V-neck t-shirt over a cami and bra, with my hair up in a bun and sunglasses. The kind of utterly normal and un-noteworthy outfit that any cisgendered woman might wear to a doctor’s appointment. While in comparison, these two hoochies, were anorexic and wearing sweatpants and hoodies from Victoria’s Secret.

After five or six minutes a nurse or counselor appeared behind me and beckoned them. Just at that moment I had my head down as they came scurrying passed. One of them sat directly behind me while the other talked to the “nurse”. I could hear the sound of their voices but couldn’t make out what they were saying. Both sounded horrible. Like drag queens or gay men trying to sound like a woman but coming off as fake and ghetto. I know my voice isn’t perfect, but at least I try to sound like a natural woman and actually am pretty passable both on the phone and in person. These girls didn’t. They sounded ghetto and over exaggerated. Thereby giving themselves away.

After only a minute or two they were hurrying back out of the clinic, their giggles and laughter increasing as they got closer to the entrance and disappeared.

In contrast, after I had sat down in the waiting room and gotten situated, the man in a black suit sitting a couple of chairs over from me at the end of the row, said hi to me. His friendliness took me by surprise, not only because I had been sitting their for almost five minutes before he said anything, but because it was a first. Men NEVER said hi to me ever. Not as a man and certainly not until now as a woman. I smiled at him but found myself unable to speak as I was in so much shock.

Whatever it was that those girls found so funny, no one else did. A couple of people appeared to be discussing me on the ‘L’ and one guy looked like he was going to say something to me before he bolted from the car. But no one harassed me. No one tried to rob me. And most people I passed or interacted with were polite and friendly. Even more so in some instances than how I was routinely treated in guy-mode.

So why two transgirls would willingly and openly mock a trans-sister is beyond me.