She Helped Me Find My Path

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Every so often, when someone exposes their life, their struggle, their path through life, it helps another person through the struggles they face. For me, Erin Hamilton was that person.

With the implosion of my life in 2000, I started questioning everything in my life that I’d taken for granted was my truth. For the next few years, I struggled to find out who I was, where I wanted to go, and how I should get there. I’d spent a lifetime of running away from my sexuality, my gender dysphoria, and anything else that made me different from the majority of society.

In May of 2002 I was shuffling through the magazines at OUTward Bound bookstore, a copy of the latest Advocate caught my eye. A beautifully tattooed woman adorned the front cover . The words leapt up off the page. “The Bisexual Daughter of Carol Burnett.” I have to admit, I bought the magazine totally on primal instinct… I WANTED THE DISH. But as I immersed myself in the interview with Erin Hamilton, a different image started to take shape. One of a battle worn woman, with the scars to prove each skirmish. One paragraph jolted me with its simplistic beauty.

“It’s interesting, I’ve always had boyfriends. I enjoy being with women, but it has got to be the right person. It’s like, OK [laughs], I’m a people person, and I don’t care if you are male or female—if I find a soul that I connect with, then I’m going to do that and I’m going to be there.”

Wow. Just love who you feel a connection with… simply love.

In view of the glaring public eye, most bisexual celebrities don’t tend to celebrate or expose their sexual orientation to the general public. Seeing Erin be so open, and OK with her sexuality helped me to rid myself of the anxiety about my sexual orientation.

That was what, 4 years ago now? I’m quite at home in my body, my mind, and my sexuality. Over last few years, Erin’s 15 minutes of fame seemed to fade into the fog of times past. I’ve made a few inquiries about what’s ever happened to her, to no avail. I’m sure she’s off raising her son, living life her way. If you ever happen upon this Erin, thank you. Without even knowing it, you took my hand, and helped me to heal. You helped a struggling human being find her way. Thank you.

Gay Swedish Fiction By John Q Republican

This entry is a favorite of mine from my LiveJournal
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Below is an article was in our local newspaper, “The Indianapolis Star.”

Lori Borgman
Marriage: It’s for kids’ sake
March 14, 2004

If you want to peer into the crystal ball to see what family life will be like in the event we redefine marriage, look to Scandinavia. The equivalent of same-sex marriage has been legal for more than a decade, and the verdict is in — same-sex marriage has eroded the already rusty link in the chain between marriage and family.

Marriage is passe in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Marriage is so out of fashion that among those who do marry, some choose to keep it private to avoid embarrassment. Even more surprising, few homosexuals are taking advantage of same-sex unions. The heterosexual and homosexual marriage pool has shriveled so much that marriage and divorce statistics are difficult to interpret.

Author Stanley Kurtz, who has been parsing the data coming from Scandinavia, says this much is crystal clear — any form of family is acceptable.

Marriage is no longer seen as a precursor to parenthood. When heterosexual marriage is no longer seen as the norm, and marriage and parenthood are no longer seen as going hand-in-hand, married parenthood becomes an oddity. Disassociating heterosexual marriage from parenting is like splitting up the salt and pepper, but that’s exactly what has happened.

In Scandinavia, marriage has ceased being a big event in most young men and women’s lives. Many Nordic beauties have bid farewell to chunky issues of Bride’s magazine, engagement rings and bridal showers. Marriage once signaled the hallmark of maturity in the journey of life. Today the mark of maturity in Scandinavia is having a baby.

Couples become an item, birth a child and often live together for a year or so. Ultimately, however, couples can manage financially as individuals, so they tend to split and move to the next partner. And the next. It appears similar to that awful going-steady-and-breaking-up cycle of junior high, only with sex, and without end.

Who bears the brunt of all these adults sailing in and out of relationships and unable to cast anchor? Hint: They tend to be short, have soft cheeks, big eyes and like to sleep with teddy bears.

The majority of children in Sweden and Norway are born out of wedlock. Sixty percent of first-born children in Denmark have unmarried parents. An immense welfare state and state-run day care, funded by the enormous, albeit compulsory, generosity of taxpayers, attempt to fill the void of moms and dads, or moms and moms, and dads and dads, who opt not to tie the knot.

Our own nation’s link between marriage and family has been showing signs of rust for several decades. Less than half of our twenty-somethings believe it is immoral to have a baby out of wedlock. We already lead the world in single parenthood and divorce. So is now the time to dismantle marriage even further? All quite possibly at the expense of our kids? One small step for man, one giant tumble for the children of tomorrow.

Marriage under the best of circumstances is a mystery. Oh, let’s be honest. Some days it’s an outright miracle.

You do not tinker with a social, legal and religious institution that has stood as a foundation to nations and cultures for centuries without risking serious repercussions.

Whichever path we choose, we will all — married or unmarried, heterosexual or homosexual — live out the consequences, as will our children, our grandchildren and their children.

In the words of Margaret Mead, “As the family goes, so goes the nation.”

I responded to her with this….

Let’s Be Honest, For The Kids’ Sake
By Marti Abernathey

For the kids’ sake, let’s look at this logically with all the facts on the table. Mrs. Borgman insinuates that “The equivalent of same-sex marriage has been legal for more than a decade” in Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Not one same sex marriage has ever been performed in any of these countries. Denmark adopted a registered partnership law in 1989 that grants most of the benefits and obligations of marriage. Norway and Sweden have similar cohabitation laws as well. The only countries that same sex couples can legally marry are The Netherlands (April 1, 2001), Belgium (January 30, 2003), British Columbia (July 8, 2003), and Ontario (June 10, 2003).

She continues on to suggest that “the verdict is in — same-sex marriage has eroded the already rusty link in the chain between marriage and family” and that “the heterosexual and homosexual marriage pool has shriveled so much that marriage and divorce statistics are difficult to interpret.” The insinuation is that gay marriage has caused the decline in the family and the separation of marriage and family. The studies figures show that only 2,372 gay couples had registered in nine years of the Danish registered partnership law in a country of 5.1 million people. In Norway (674 same sex couples registered out of 4.2 million people after four years) and Sweden (749 same sex couples registered out of 8.5 million people after four years) the number of couples that have registered against the total population are miniscule. Mrs. Borgman also neglects to add that registered partnerships in Scandinavia restrict or forbid adoptions or artificial insemination by gay couples! It’s curious that such a small percentage of couples have affected marriage so strongly. She and Mr. Kurtz both glaze over the increase in no-fault divorces, yet most studies suggest (no-fault divorces) have increased divorce 20 to 25 percent in the United States.

So where does Mrs. Borgman get her data? This theory she espouses is from an article written by Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. The Hoover Institution is a conservative think tank that has strong ties to President Bush. Past or present fellows include; Richard Allen (United States National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan), George Shultz, Edwin Meese, Condolezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Thomas Sowell, Pete Wilson, Williamson M. Evers, John B. Taylor, and Newt Gingrich.

The burning question in my mind is who exactly is Stanley Kurtz. Turns out Mr. Kurtz graduated from Haverford College (Haverford is a liberal arts college founded in 1833 by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)) where he majored in comparative religion. Stanley Kurtz went on to study comparative religion at Harvard Divinity School as well. Does anyone else besides me see a problem here?

She continues her diatribe saying “You do not tinker with a social, legal and religious institution that has stood as a foundation to nations and cultures for centuries without risking serious repercussions.” This argument sounds eerily familiar to the reasoning for a proposed amendment by Representative Seaborn Roddenberry of Georgia. Representative Roddenberry said that his amendment would uphold the sanctity of marriage. He said he took this action because some states have permitted marriages that are “abhorrent and repugnant.” He said he would like to “exterminate now this debasing, ultrademoralizing, un-American and inhuman leprosy.”

He warned, “Let this condition go on if you will. At some day, perhaps remote, it will be a question always whether or not the solemnizing of matrimony in the North is between two descendants of our Anglo-Saxon fathers and mothers or whether it be of a mixed blood descended from the orangutan-trodden shores of far-off Africa.” That’s right, he wasn’t talking about gay marriage but interracial marriage and the year he introduced this legislation was 1921.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Transgender Day of Rememberance

Remembering
by Marti Abernathey

As I was working on today’s annual Transgender Day of Remembrance I was fretting about the candles, the slides, the names, the equipment,  all the things that go into making a day like this happen. I was relaying this anxiety to a friend of mine. He said “well this day isn’t about the candles or the slides, but about remembering.

Today is a day to remember those that have fallen due to some senseless act of violence. They are not just names on a card, on a website or on a sheet of paper. You may have never known a person on this listing of our dead, but you have felt loss before. Every person here today has lost someone, a father, a mother, a partner, a child, or a friend.

Today I ask you to think of the loss of someone important to you. These names on the list were living, breathing vibrant human beings before they were so violently taken from our world. These victims were just like your loved ones, they were just like you. They had dreams, hopes, and desires. Each one of these names was more than just a name; they were a heart, a mind, and a soul.

Maya Angelou once said that “We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.” The commonality of each person on this list was that they dared live their truth. But they were more than transgendered. Each person on this list was a loved one; a loved one that will never return home, a loved one that will never have another Christmas or another birthday celebration.

As you leave here today think about your loved ones, then remember what this day is about. It’s about loss; it’s about unnecessary violence against our fallen brothers and sisters. It’s about never forgetting why they died.

John F. Kennedy once said “We are confronted primarily with a moral issue, whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated.”

Today we remember our dead, but tomorrow we must set out a path to end this. Leave here today with a rekindled source of activism. Make it your passion. If you see an article in the newspaper refer to a transgender person with incorrect pronouns, correct them. If laws are unjust, work to change them. In whatever it is that you do, work with all your heart and soul to make sure that this list doesn’t get any longer.

With that I’ll leave you with Native American prayer:

O Great Spirit of our Ancestors, I raise my pipe to you.
To your messengers the four winds,
and to Mother Earth who provides for your children.
Give us the wisdom to teach our children to love, to respect,
and to be kind to each other so that they may grow with peace in mind.
Let us learn to share all the good things you provide for us on this Earth.

“Being Me”

Publicly coming out as being bisexual has been “the best of times and the worst of times”, but I will never regret it.

In August of 2000 my wife Deborah and I had our final split that ended in her outing me at my job, to my family, and to anyone else that cared to listen. In the beginning I rebelled against her belief that I was bisexual. The woman that I trusted with my most inner feelings and thoughts used that trust against me. Even if her words were true, the messengers torch scalded my heart and my mind. Sometimes the truth not only hurts, but it burns as well.

I hadn’t ever really ever considered that I was bisexual since I never really felt a strong sexual attraction towards men. When I began female hormones in September of 2001, my libido began to decline and my desire for intimacy increased exponentially. I began to re-evaluate my relationships and my views on what I believed.

I was brought up to believe that all “niggers” were poor, lazy, unemployed sub-humans and that all “queers” were promiscuous perverts that led a life of one shallow sex adventure after another. Being bisexual meant that you had no morals or scruples. That was the climate I grew up under. It affected the way I felt about who I had to be rather than who I am.

Being “outed” gave me the chance to figure out if the ” conventional wisdom” that I grew up under was a truth or just propaganda that I had been fed.

Enter Christian Grantham. As I got more and more Internet savvy I began to search for what GLBT media was out on the “net”, I found a show called “The Christian Grantham Show.” Christian and I soon began talking and working on different projects related to his website and online Internet radio venture. As our friendship grew I got to know his boyfriend, Vince. They decided to “tie the knot” and Christian invited me to D.C. to attend the wedding. During my mini vacation I was exposed to Christian and Vince and the intense love they shared was like few romances that I had ever witnessed… gay, straight, or bi. With much of what I believed in shambles I began to question much of who I was, and why I held the convictions that I did.

Just when I felt at ease with my bisexuality, another question began to linger in the background. I had always believed in monogamy but had never really thought about the reasons why I believed in it so deeply. The answers I came up with dumbfounded me.

Ownership. With a word like ownership comes visions of slavery and submission of will. This type of “ownership” feeling does so much to stifle individualism and seeks to morph two people into one unit. Many times parents fall into this trap as well. They start seeing their children as possessions or property that they have dominion over. Typically this type of relationship comes at a loss of freedom of expression and of individual will. Many times this turns into a war of competing desires.

In my personal life as well as my relationship with my children, I love each child independent of the other. There are no favorites in my heart. I love each person for who they are as individuals. I love getting to know the “love and light” that shines inside of each one of them.

The other reason to be monogamous was jealousy. Upon inspection I found this type of jealousy to be rooted in selfishness and insecurity. I am the only owner of my body and essence. I’ve promised myself from here on out I will no longer be in any relationships that support that kind of jealousy.

Many claim that I am just “wanting my cake, and eating it too.” Excuse me? What are you supposed to do with cake, other than eat it? Put it on a shelf and let it collect dust? In my experience that “cake” often turns stale and moldy. Others state that my bisexuality promotes promiscuity and perversion. To that I can only lay out my own sexual history. I can count the number of lovers I’ve had in 37 years on my two hands and I still have fingers available. Can they say the same?

My bisexuality and polyamory are an outgrowth of my desire to live a truthful, fruitful life. Strong healthy relationships are built on trust and integrity not submission and subversion. As I began to explore my sexuality, I found that I was more attracted to a person’s essence not gender. As the generalizations started to melt away, some realizations started to emerge. Physical and emotional intimacy is not exclusive to any gender. I refuse to let my boundaries be set by anything other than my own well thought out choice and desire.

For the first time in life I know who I am and what I want in life and why. I love me. It’s about time. I am free to be….

Me.

Running Away… A Lesson Learned

 As a young boy not quite eight years old, I set off to run away from home. My mother had made me eat cole slaw and forbid me to watch my favorite superhero, Wonder Woman. I had had enough, so I started packing. I found my mom’s curler carrier. It was one of those hard brown leather cases with the mirror attached to the top. With my mom’s curler box emptied of all her plastic curlers, I replaced them with all my Star Wars action figures, my Evil Kenevil and Fonzie dolls, and a few other prized possessions. I fixed a PB&J sandwich, and then hit the door running.

I was so upset with my mother for forcing me to eat that nasty slaw. As I walked towards the drainage ditch, it hit me. Who would feed me? Where would I sleep? How would I get to school? I sat at the ditch and ate my PB&J and contemplated my future. I realized, even as a small child, that I was running from problems that weren’t as large as the ones I was running to. 

That episode happened 27 years ago. That boy at the drainage ditch isn’t quiet a boy anymore. He isn’t even a man. That boy is a woman, or at least she is on her way.

I had to go through an alcoholic father and his death at age 11, two divorces and custody battles and a long internal battle accepting my transsexuality. My second ex-wife, Lynn, denied my visitation when it was clear that I was transitioning and wasn’t going to hide it.

Last year it became apparent that I wasn’t going to be allowed to see my kids. I sank further and further into a horrid depression. I didn’t leave the house for weeks. One Sunday, I put my resume on Monster.com and came home to 15 calls from recruiters. One call was from the DC area. The recruiter connected me to a job not far from DC in Fredericksburg, VA. In an all too familiar scenario, I packed a suitcase and flew to DC to interview.

The interview went great, and I rushed a move. I threw my sound equipment, computers and my clothes in my rented 2002 Mustang and drove away from Indiana feeling free. The company paid for everything, and finally my life seemed to be leveling out again…or so I thought. The $4,000 sign on bonus turned out to be $2,600 after taxes. My recruiter forced me into buying a car from them. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t pass Maryland inspection, and I was somehow coned into a lemon. So goes my second attempt to runaway.

Again, my world was beginning to unravel. The only difference was I was 600 miles from my kids and I left any support network that I had, back in Indiana. Waves and waves of questions hit me. How would I work things out from 600 miles away? Why did I move so quickly? Did I leave people that love me to run away from the greatest pain in my life? There’s no drainage ditch close to my apartment, and I no longer eat PB&J’s, but the questions hit me just as hard.

My life is different, but not any better. Running away to Washington DC hasn’t solved any of my problems. Like that little boy standing at the drainage ditch, I have realized I need to go back and face my problems…not run from them. No one else is going to solve my problems for me. If I don’t, no one will. My heart hurt so badly at the trauma of my divorce and the ensuing drama that began once my transition was announced. Sticking my head in the sand isn’t going to get me any closer to transitioning fully, having FFS or SRS, or gaining closure to this part of my life.

As a child, I swallowed my pride, and walked back into the house and learned to live under my moms rule. As an adult, im moving back to Indiana to deal with the issues I buried when I left. Lynn has agreed to working on a resolution to seeing the kids, but that can only go forward if I move back. I have made contacts within the t-community in Indiana and hope to help them lobby local politicians for trans-inclusive legislation. I will continue to do my radio show “The T-Party” and write. The difference from before the move will be in my outlook and attitude. Some lessons really are worth learning twice.