I’m not quite as active in the trans community, however, my daughter, who is a psychology major, is working with me on a workshop presentation for the TransOhio Symposium coming up in April. We want to share our story of transitioning together as a family.
|Lana at a gathering of female fire-fighters in Columbus.|
When I started, 32 years ago, there was only one other woman on the department, now there are 39 females out of over 1500 members, so in many ways it can seem like a “boy’s club.”
I have seen much progress and acceptance gained over the years. Having been part of our “fire family” on both sides of the gender aisle, my perspective is unique. I am very happy to report that the men treat the women with the same dignity and respect that all good brothers extend to their sisters.
From my earliest recollections, the first thing anyone wanted to know was, which one is the girl, which one is the boy? I remember always feeling like we were supposed to be the same, and I was sad that I had to be a boy. I didn’t like it at all, but I must’ve learned very early on not to express those feelings and instead I always tried my best to please everyone.
|Early Childhood as a twin.|
As such, I was bullied. There was a day, back in fourth grade, when I stood up to the class bully on the playground, and I think it was a defining moment for me. That might have been when I first learned to face fear head on and to step up as a leader.
I also had all the complete support of my employer, the City of Columbus, from the mayor’s office, all the way down the fire division chain of command. It’s amazing the barriers that can vanish when key people all do the right thing.
|Captain Lana Moore on the job at a training fire.|
It should be noted that surgery alone, no matter how skilled the surgeon, would make it possible for someone to simply “pass.” In order to blend in, if that is the goal, one must be comfortable in their own skin, have confidence, and put forth “positive energy” as they present themselves in public.
|Post-op recovering from FFS. (left)|
Wearing Ice-Packs in a scarf after jaw/chin tapering. (right)
Additionally, I was encouraged to transition on-the-job by Diane Schroer who took me aside and convinced me that, not only could it be done, that I needed to do it. So many others that I’m afraid to leave someone out, but to name just a few, Julie, Malana, and Daralyn, if you happen to read this, thank you all!
And then, last, but surely not least, of course, there’s Chloe Prince who has taught me so much and been such an important force in my life over the past few years. Chloe and I have traveled so far together. She is my soul-sister for whom I have the utmost love and respect.
|Chloe Prince, Lana Moore, and Donna Rose SCC 2010.|
There is no exact one moment when it is simply so, but I can say that once I had transitioned socially, and began living authentically, I felt like I had finally been let out of prison… free from the torment I had endured for so many years, and ready to spread my wings and fly.
|Post-op from SRS in Thailand.|
She calmly and kindly placed her hand on my shoulder and said, “I know, I’ve seen this coming for years.” We are no longer a couple, but I will always love her, and we remain partners as parents, committed to our children. Through her grace and loving ways, she has shown me what it means to be a woman.
My family has since grown through our transition experience and we all still love each other. The best part is that now, they know me much more completely, and they have learned the value of living life authentically. We spend as much quality time together as we can arrange.
|Lana and her children enjoying a dinner show.|
More and more everyday, and with each of us, as we live our daily lives honestly and authentically, we break down barriers of misunderstanding. There is still a long way to go and progress is slow, but we are getting there.
|Lana met and was inspired by Kate Bornstein|
at the onset of her transition in 2008.
So, getting trans* people included as a protected class in hate crimes legislation is one very important step. And then, the best thing is prevention, by breaking down those walls of misunderstanding and ignorance. We do that by putting our selves out there in the public eye as positive examples, by educating, and by speaking up collectively when these things happen, and insisting that justice be served.
|Conducting a workshop at TransOhio in 2010.|
In addition to staying in touch with a local peer-led support group, I also assist Chloe in many administration duties at PINKessence.com and TRUessence.org, two on-line social networks for trans people.
There are usually many professionals there to demonstrate what they have to offer, voice therapists, surgeons, vendors, activists, you name it, and you can usually find the information you are looking for.
|Happy at home in her kitchen.|
Lana: Thank YOU, Monika, you do a great job with your web pages, and thank you for thinking of me, I really enjoyed being interviewed.