|1973 – US Navy.|
|1993 – US Army.|
After I transitioned and struggled through the physical and environmental changes I finally realized that it didn’t matter what others thought of me. The only thing that mattered was how I felt about myself and I adapted an attitude of ‘I don’t care’.
Don’t care that you are not where you want to be yet and you may be disappointed with your progress.
Don’t care also means that everything is not about you. When you notice that someone is laughing or pointing in your general direction this doesn’t mean it is about you. You truly are not that important to others and the joke told or item pointed out is probably not you, just your dysphoria or paranoia.
This is a journey and the destination is only a short term goal because you will continue to set new goals and have new aspirations as you travel down this path. Life is a Journey!
Monika: Transgender issues are a hot topic today. How do you feel about the movement for transgender inclusion within schools, etc.?
Paula: Monika I think an excerpt from the book “Walk in Confidence” is appropriate to answer this question as I answered Joyce with this letter:
In my last letter I identified my definition of what Trans people are to me. I find though that I am not with the times. Even in 1998 I found myself at odds with the University students who identified as Trans. They were not accepting the definitions I would give so that I could have a common basis from which to discuss gender issues in the classroom. Today’s young persons are even further away from me as they identify as non-binary and don’t wish to be referred to as either male or female.
I have to say that male or female is a gender identity whereas man or woman is a physical identity. I can understand androgynous but I don’t understand non-binary. A set of definitions are still important so that an intelligent conversation can be had. I have great concerns for our Trans community. Many persons don’t transition until later in life. I belong to a couple of facebook groups for those 40+ in age. Several of these transwomen are in their 60’s and just now accepting themselves and going through a transition to be the woman they identify as.
The young people are pushing the societal envelopes so to speak. I guess my generation did too with the hippie movement and challenges to the government for the Vietnam War. We pushed for civil rights and I guess that could be said of the Trans movement today. When we pushed for Black and Women acceptance in the workplace and in social arenas such as housing we sometimes made it uncomfortable for all. Some people bent over backwards to not insult a black person or a woman or any minority for that matter. We ‘tiptoed’ around subjects because there were a few that were very vocal and could cause us (White, Caucasian, and non-Hispanic) to be fired/chastised/jailed, etc.
|The book is available via createspace.|
Sadly the real transsexual is in danger. The person who has accepted this uninvited dilemma and begun the process of changing their gender is now in danger. I realize that the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care have been relaxed as to the time constraints but a person still has to have a psychologist authorize hormone treatment, wait for surgery and be approved by a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a medical surgeon prior to surgery to correct this ‘birth defect’. During this time a transsexual person is vulnerable to the laws that govern bathroom usage, employment discrimination and really in essence has no rights as transsexual persons have never been a protected class.
My personal feelings on the bathroom issue is complicated. When I was transitioning in the mid 1990’s I was scared to death to enter the women’s room. In those days I would have been arrested as a pervert and jailed overnight. I couldn’t go into the men’s room dressed as a woman so I had to get in and get out of the women’s room as quickly as possible. Honestly I couldn’t imagine spending any more time that was necessary in there. It was all business! I even feel somewhat uncomfortable today when I go into a ladies restroom. My only savings grace is that if I am subjected to a body search, I have the body of a woman.
But here is where it is complicated for me. What of the person that doesn’t have the body of a woman? A Trans woman that presents as a woman but retains the sexual organs of a male. She is, by my definition, a transgender woman that lives her life as a woman but has not had surgery. Even on hormones her male parts will function. What will happen if she is discovered in the ladies restroom? Will she be subjected to arrest and/or humiliation? How does her circumstance differ from the weekend crossdresser? Both are physically men in a ladies restroom. While these two classes of Trans people may be harmless to the women in the restroom what about the man that is dressed as a woman that has evil in his heart? A female child molester or a rapist or??
Unfortunately not all post-op transsexual women are 5’6” with petite bodies. Many of us are 6’ with wide shoulders, big hands, big feet and facial features and a voice that would never be described as feminine. But we changed our physical gender and presentation based on what our mind and hearts told us to do. When challenged in a bathroom we can pass the test! I read where a couple of women have been wrongfully accused of being a man sneaking into the bathroom. I doubt the veracity of those stories and feel sensationalism is at play but who knows what some bigoted individual might do?