In June of last year, I was encouraged by a friend to do a blog from my point of view - being a transgender woman and being Christian. I thought about it for awhile and finally bit the bullet and submitted a request to ChicagoNow. As Jimmy Greenfield, community manager for ChicagoNow, told me in a phone interview, at the time he was considering if he was going to welcome me into the fold, "Transgender and Christian, not two words you usually hear together or even consider in a positive manner these days." With that, I joined the ChicagoNow family.
And when I say family - I mean it. In the last year, I have met men and women that have been a great source of encouragement and strength. They have provided insight, professional writing tips, and have been there with answers to my endless questions. A select few of these people have not only become close friends, but people I truly consider my family.
When I transitioned, I never thought I would be writing about my life, let alone nearly every week. If I had had my choice, I would have gone stealth but that was not to be. If it weren't for the strength I have gleaned from this marvelous group of people that God has put in my life, I know with all my heart, every ounce of my being - I would have never stuck with this blog.
After a year of writing, I'm still in awe I get to do this. Some posts are fun and easy to write. The words that just roll off the finger tips. Then . . . there's all the rest. You agonize over the details. You over analyze every word. It's strange though, how some of the most difficult posts to do, the ones that I agonized the most about are the ones that turned out to be some of my favorite.
As I went about my normal Monday routine at work, I thought about how I want to do this anniversary post. Individual stories began to filter their way through and come to rest in a list of my top five favorite post from this last year. Let me tell you, out of 67 posts, coming up with just five wasn't easy.
5) Being Transgender is not a choice - Let's face it, being transgender is a mystery to many, many people. It is only through education will the majority of society ever learn that being transgender is not a choice. This was my second post under the Trans Girl at the Cross banner. I really wasn't use to writing blogs yet. I felt I was kind of flying blind. I had written a few posts for my local online newspaper and had co-wrote a post for Huffington Post GayVoice which in hindsight, I would love to go back a reword. The same goes for this post. If I could go back, I would love to re-write it, but only for flow, not content. The content , I believe, was solid. I know it caused and still causes some controversy, but the great thing about writing a blog verses a journal article, I can voice my opinion. I know talking about causes of being transgender can be delicate, not everyone agrees - not even with in the transgender community. But as many people that disagreed with the post or some part of it - just as many have voiced their support for it. I want Trans Girl at the Cross not just to be me voicing my opinions, but a conversation and a place where education and respect can be found.
4) Organized Religion is Failing the Gay and Transgender Community - Believe it or not, I wrote this post on vacation a few weeks ago. I toiled over the flow, the context, the emotion for a few days until about 11:30 one night. My parents and my kids had long since gone to bed and I stared at the computer screen in the darkness. I read it over and over before hitting the publish button. I write a lot about my faith and what God is doing in my life. I knew that talking about how the church, as a whole, had failed was something that needed to be said, something that I needed to say. Sometimes after pressing that button that sends your work off to the world wide web, your nerves can get the best of you and this happens to me all the time. That was the case this time. It wasn't until a few other transgender women contacted me and told me that I took the words right out of their mouths, did I really feel good about what I said. Writers love affirmation, just to know that there are people that love what we do. But for me, this time, it was confirmation. Confirmation that what I was seeing and feeling, what I had experienced - was felt elsewhere and that this was a post that needed to be said.
3) Escaping from my own Reflection - It's amazing what you think about, what questions race through your mind when you are hooked up to a cardiac monitor and laying in a hospital bed. For me, I was facing questions I had hoped I would not have to face for a long time or at least not until I have had genital reconstructive surgery. But facing my fears was exactly what I had to do. This post didn't get a whole lot of 'likes'. It barely made it on to the Google radar. But as many of my fellow writers have pointed out, they are seeing a side of what it's like to be transgender that they have never seen before. For me that was one of the highest compliments you can give.
2) Children of Transgender Parents: Answering the tough Questions - This post grew out of a conversation my ex-wife and I had with our kids. I have a son who is 12 and a daughter who will be turning 18 in just a few months. Being transgender, without a doubt, has it's challenges. It goes with out saying that being a parent has it's ups and downs, but when you are a transgender parent - good lord the problems that not only you can face but the problems your kids face. Trying to help your kids understand everything you are going through, trying desperately to be there to support them is like a juggling act with a dozen running chainsaws. When your children face prejudice and discrimination because of you, there is no book in the world that will have all the answers. In this personal request, I asked for help. I asked for help from other children of transgender parents. I asked for encouragement. I asked for wisdom. I asked for anything that could help my kids, especially my son, face the world as stronger human beings. To my joy, several people have responded in the six months since I wrote this post. I can not thank them enough and hope to hear from more in the future. The strength they have found will now benefit others.
1) Transgender woman: A lifelong pictorial - This,by far, was the most difficult post I have written to date. Even though it is my favorite blog post, it is one I can't really bring myself to go back to. You have to understand that I loathe looking at pictures of myself from before that transition. To put up for all the world to see what I looked like growing up was a nightmare for me. But it was a challenge I needed to face. If people were to understand what being transgender really is, they needed the before and after. If people were going to know me, they needed a visual reference to my timeline. It was a lesson God was trying to teach me. He gave me that past for a reason. It was not mine to throw away or forget. We all have issues in our past we rather forget, I just happen to have 40 years of it. But those issues, struggles, demons if you will, help build a foundation for us to become stronger. We have a choice. We can discard those events, our previous life thus discarding building blocks for our foundation. . . OR . . . We can use them to build better, stronger lives. Showing the world who I was, who I pretended to be for so long, was one of those cornerstones for my life.
Out of all the posts here at Trans Girl at the Cross, I would love to hear from you. Which one meant the most to you? Which one sticks in your mind the most? Tomorrow I hope to put up a list of the most popular, controversial, and talked about posts so far. Maybe one of your favs will be on the list.
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Filed under: Transgender