Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honour to interview Kathryn Camfield, a blogger, writer, former radio announcer, and transgender ally from Reno NV. Hello Kathryn!
|Cindy and Kathy Camfield|
Backstage after appearance on TV show To Tell
the Truth, 2000.
In 1997, I established a long-distance relationship with a California middle school English teacher who was taking my writing classes. Soon we struck up what became a year-long daily e-mail correspondence. Cindy Petersen had recently divorced her husband after 25 years, because he carried on an extended affair with a girl half her age. Cindy found out about it by opening the phone bill. Her two children were grown; one a high school assistant principal, the other a nurse. We both had no siblings, both had no dads (her dad had died young), we both loved old movies, reading books and were both Virgos, just a two years and two days apart, I was born on August 27, 1946 and Cindy born on August 29, 1948.
After a year of daily emails and late night chat room sessions, we finally met in person in February 1998, when Cindy flew to Florida to see me teach at a writer’s conference. Inside of 24 hours, we both knew we had finally found our soul mates. I was as sure as the day is long that this was my last chance at happiness. Thirty days later, I drove my purple Saturn, packed with some meagre possessions and my computer, across the country. We moved in together in Pasadena, and I did something I never thought I would ever do again.
Because of the deceitful nature of our exes we had agreed when we got together that we would have no secrets, that we would tell each other everything. I admitted that I had wanted to be a woman my whole life. As one would anticipate, she asked me if I felt I was a woman trapped in a man’s body. I said, no. All I really wanted was to dress like a woman without having to hide.
Transgender Ally in Reno NV USA.
“I love that I can talk to you about anything, that you actually care about what I think, that you are gentle and kind. You make me feel beautiful and adored. Besides being in love, we are good friends, as well.” As if she needed to, she concluded, “I love you exactly as you are.” We’ve been together for sixteen years.
My second non-fiction book, Your Gender: Your Choice! will be out in paperback in early 2015. It’s main reason for existing is best expressed by the subtitle: “For the first time in your life, finally be who you really are.” Cindy had always told me that I should tell other cross dressers not to be ashamed of who they are.
Using my life story as a matrix I explain to everyone under the “transgender umbrella” how they can fight for their rights, how they can be proud of the unique individuals they are and how they can learn to be happy not matter what gender they are. I’ll also get into information about how others can be transgender allies like myself.
However, the Right Wing still feels the need to police gender. If they can no longer call gay people sinful and expect to be taken seriously, someone else has to be the scapegoat, the "other" against which "normality" is defined. Guess who is the new target? Yep, us. The time is here when everyone who believes in equality and social justice must decide where they stand on the issue of trans rights, whether that be the right to equal opportunities at work, or simply the right to walk down the street dressed in a way that makes you comfortable. If we believe in social justice, we must support our own trans community as it makes its way proudly into the mainstream.
Also TAG President Brock Maylath is a wonderful man who accepted me with open arms and immediately put me to work speaking at our annual open house this week. Of the folks who are role models but whom I don’t see every week are Eddie Izzard, the famous “executive transvestite” comedian and actor and Kristin Beck, the ex-Seal whose documentary was on CNN recently.
My mother and step-father, who are now divorced, do not speak to me at all and haven’t since 1998. I have no other family. The only difficult thing for my coming out as a cross dresser living as a woman is my perceived feeling that trans women look down on me because I am ONLY a cross dresser. That’s one reason the book I am writing is so important to me; I want them to know that I am tirelessly on their side.
Although some trans people are upset that cisgender man Jeffrey Tambor plays Mort who is transitioning to Maura on Transparent, I do not agree. He is perfect for the part of a cisgender man who becomes a trans woman because he is a cisgender man and a great actor.
Tambor will likely make America understand trans women much more readily than the glamorous Laverne Cox has. Most trans women who come out later in life are not as sexy and hot as Cox is. Unlike Cox, most of us are not, without effort, conventionally beautiful.
|Promotion for Kathryn Camfield's|
2015 paperback book.
We face many of the same challenges posed by society. Since we were born with an incompatible gender identity, our sociological struggles related to sexual preference and non-conformity fit right in with the rest of the LGBT. Cross-dressers have other equally important conflicts, conflicts which lead them to depression, failed marriages and even suicide.
For cross-dressers, expressing their gender identity causes such a primitive reaction among members of society that they are sometimes attacked, based solely on their appearance, or rejected by their family and friends, or even fired from their places of employment, simply because they want to dress like women.
The cross-dressers struggles in society are based not only on their gender orientation, but also on their gender presentation. The transgender community is vast and diverse, and we all know what it’s like to be excluded. We can accomplish much more when we practice the very acceptance and equality we’re fighting for, with the people closest to us. In other words, trans men, trans women and cross-dressers, we’re all in this together.
After four decades of shame and deception, I finally can publicly acknowledge my own identity. I am proud to be my own version of a woman. Cindy is the only person I love in the whole world and I adore her, and tell her that nearly every day. We love being together, we love so many of the same things and we complement each other so well; she’s stronger than I am, I am more logical than she is, she has no sense of direction and I am never lost. But most of all we are kind, considerate and completely in love with one another.
I do plan another book, How to be a Trans Ally, and a third one called, Cross Dressers in a Transgender World. My agent is also pushing me to update and republish my Novel Secrets book about writing novels and I have an idea for a new writing book called A Movie in your Mind.
Read anything you can find about the transgender world. Keep up on the news about all LGBT matters. But above all, be aware that YOU must be the only important person in your world. If others don’t support you, kiss them goodbye and get on with your life.
Bottom line: we are all alone. Don’t live your life for others at the expense of your happiness.