As 2016 comes to a close I wanted to reflect back on my journey from the last 6 ½ years. In July 2010, I hit rock bottom and attempted suicide. I was found when I was only a few minutes away from succeeding in my suicide attempt. This intervention was to set the whole stage for the next 61/2 years of my life.
I spent 3 days on life support and when I came back to this world my initial response was to cry because I was still here. After that response, I came to the revelation that I had to make changes in my life. It was at that point that I decided I was either going to live as my true self or I wasn’t going to live at all. It was at that point that I jumped into the deep end of the pool and told the whole world I was Transgender.
Some of my friends and family accepted the revelation while others flipped out and moved to disown me. Some others dismissed it thinking it was a phase I was going through. However, my determination at this point quickly showed to the doubters that I was serious and within 6 months I was Living Full Time as my true self, I was on HRT, and I had legally changed my name.
Over the next 5 years my journey was very typical of so many other trans people. I faced hate, violence, and discrimination at every turn. During this time my family also came to terms with my new reality and most of them accepted me as who I am. During this period, I never hid who I was and when confronted about it I tried to educate people every chance I got on a small one to one scale.
It wasn’t until June 2015 That my journey moved from being typical to being different. It began as one of those being in the right place and the right time stories. I was talked into a Local TV station interview which ended up changing my life forever. At first I didn’t want to do it, but after several days of negotiations, I agreed to it. When they did that interview I was so nervous and scared. I couldn’t even clip the Microphone to my shirt and had to have a good friend do it for me. It was that interview though that set the stage for the next year and a half.
I have done so many wonderful things in 2016 which included attending the GLAAD Media awards in Hollywood, being at a White House Women’s Summit in Washington DC back in June, and Being part of two different apprenticeship programs. I truly credit all that I have done in 2016 to that first Interview.
The one thing that the last year and a half has taught me is that regardless how hard your life may seem it only takes one event to turn it around. If I can turn my life around after all I have been through then anyone can do the same.
I want to wish everyone happy holidays and a happy new year and hope that 2017 is your year to make a difference.
In recent months, it seems as if I am having the same debate at least once or twice a week in regards to the usage of bathrooms by Trans people. It is almost the same questions and concerns over and over again followed with me giving the same answers every time. As a result, I have decided to use this space to document the average debate in the hopes that by reading this, it will help educate the masses and eliminate the need to constantly have this debate on a one on one basis. The debate is almost always about the usage of bathrooms by Tran’s women, this article will focus primarily on that aspect of the issue.
Concern: “If we don’t pass these laws then our wife’s, children and grandchildren will start having to share a bathroom with Tran’s people.”
Answer: How do you know you haven’t already shared a bathroom with a Tran’s person? Tran’s people didn’t just fall out of the sky in the last year or two. There are over 700,000 Trans people in the US alone. They have been around for many years using the bathrooms that match their gender identity on a daily basis.
Concern: “It’s just too dangerous to allow Trans people into the woman’s bathrooms.”
Answer: There has never been a documented case anywhere in the US of a Tran’s person being accused of doing anything inappropriate in a bathroom and the only incidents involving Trans women in bathrooms have been when somebody see’s a Tran’s person trying to enter a bathroom and then proceed to attack them for just being there.
Concern: “Allowing Trans people into the women’s bathroom opens the door for fake people to dress as a woman so they can go into a restroom to commit a crime.”
Answer: If someone is planning on committing a crime in a restroom they are not going to care how they dress when they do it or if there is a law against being in there. For example, creating “Gun free zones” has never stopped criminals from committing crimes in those areas.
Concern: “It makes me uncomfortable to have to share a bathroom with a Tran’s person. Why can’t they just use a separate bathroom just for them?”
Answer: Forcing a Tran’s person to use a separate bathroom amounts to discrimination due to segregation. 100 years ago those same arguments were used by white people to keep black people out of the bathrooms. If these laws pass what will be next? Separate water fountains, schools, etc.?
Concern: “I will lose my right to privacy if Tran’s people use our restrooms and should not have to be exposed to male genitalia”
Answer: Considering that public restrooms all have private stalls your privacy will not be affected and the only way you are going to see a Trans persons genitals is if YOU peek under or over the stall which would make YOU the one violating another’s privacy and the law.
Concern: “It will just be too confusing for our children or grandchildren to see Trans people in the restrooms”
Answer: Below is a picture of a Trans Man who if these laws are passed would be required to use the woman’s room as these laws will not only force Trans woman to use the men’s room , it will also cause Trans men to have to use the women’s room. Would you want to use a restroom with him and have to explain to your children why he is in there? How about that for confusing?
At this point is where the debate usually ends as they almost always never respond after realizing that the law works both ways.
Now in regards to Tran’s students all the above apply with the addition of this.
Concern: “what’s to stop a non-Trans teen from pretending to be Trans just to get into the girls room?”
Answer: A kid does not just show one day and say “Hey I’m trans” and start using the opposite restroom. It just doesn’t work like that. There is a huge process for a student to get permission to use a different bathroom which involves the school staff and parents to prevent such a thing from happening.
In closing, all these laws would accomplish is to put trans people in danger of abuse and subject them to possible violence by forcing them to use the wrong bathrooms. In addition, the occasional CIS women who are “not feminine enough looking for some” could also be harassed or attacked because some people might think they are trans. Only by educating people and advocating will we be able to prevent these proposed laws from passing.
The one thing that all transgender people have to deal with at one point in their life is “coming out”. It can be, and usually is, one of the scariest things we ever have to do. No two stories are the same as each of our journeys is different. It is also true that each person we come out to is a different experience.
Coming out to a spouse or ex spouse is usually one of the most difficult things to do. They are the one person who knows the most about you and that you and have bore your soul to at one time or another. There is no right or wrong way to come out to an ex and as I said, each situation is different. Below is my experience on how I came out to both of my ex wives. As you will see, each experience is totally different due to the fact that both of them have completely different personalities and situations.
Back in July 2010, I had just survived a major suicide attempt and was hospitalized for several weeks. It was at that point that I decided that it was the time that I was going to come out and begin to transition. I had been transferred to a hospital out of state so the trip was too far for any family to come see me, so phone calls were the only contact I had with them. Once I got my nerve up I called my first ex wife to give her an update on my condition and while I was on the phone with her I decided to “drop the bomb.” Once I told her, there was nothing but silence on the other end of the phone for about 30 seconds before she responded that she really didn’t care what I did with myself. The only concern she had was how I was going to tell our 4 children. I tried but failed to convince her to tell them, so that would fall for me to do, but that’s another story.
With the first wife taken care of, I tried to decide on how to tell my second wife. My second wife was, and still is, very opinionated and can be very difficult to deal with even for the simplest things. We also have a young daughter together. The good thing is that she lives 750 miles away from me in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The distance between us, along with the fact that at that time she did not communicate with my 4 four children or my first ex wife, I decided to hold off on telling her. I also at that time was not using social media very much so there was no fear of her finding out.
Fast forward about 6 months. My transition was in full swing and I was living full time, on hormones and had just had my name legally changed to Cathy. I decided to go out and eat one night and while I was eating ex wife #2 called me. We talked for a few minutes about our daughter then she brought up that she needed me to sign some papers in regards to our custody arrangement. This wasn’t any big deal as we were in agreement on it, but all of a sudden an alarm bell went off in my head. How was I going to be able to get these papers signed and notarized where I had just finished my legal name change? Well, I had a couple of drinks in me by that time and said to myself that it was as good a time as any to blow her mind.
I proceeded to tell her that I was good with signing the papers but there was going to be one small snag. I then told her I had just legally changed my name so I wouldn’t be able to sign my birth name on the papers. She, of course, then asked what I had changed my name to and why did I do it. It’s at that point that I just let it all out to her. Funny thing is, she didn’t believe me and thought I was saying that to get out of signing the papers. I kept telling her over and over that it was true but she wouldn’t budge. She thought I was just playing a sick game with her. This went on for about 20 minutes until the waitress came to the table to give me my check and at that point I asked the waitress if she would please talk to my ex and to describe to her what I looked like. She then got on the phone and described my outfit to her and answered a couple of questions from my ex, one of them being whether I had breasts or not. While this was going on, I was just laughing my butt off in disbelief that she won’t believe me. When I got the phone back she continued to not believe me and accused me of just starting trouble. Well, as one last way to try to convince her, the waitress took a picture of me with her phone and sent it to her. Once my ex got it, she started stuttering on the phone and then hung up. It wasn’t until she contacted my oldest daughter the next day that it finally sunk into her head that it was real.
From that point on, she became the biggest pain in my backside, and still is to this day as she gives me crap any chance she gets.
With the wave of anti-LGBT laws being proposed and enacted across the country it’s very easy to get angry and want to act out. It has happened in history more times then we can count. Yes protests are a way to express our displeasure with an issue but they need to be peaceful and lawful. Having violent protests or protests that cause people to be hurt or arrested for doing things totally unrelated to the cause never actually helps the cause other than to get some camera time.
Whenever the police arrest people at protests people are actually helping the government. It causes large amounts of bail money along with court costs and fines that the government then gets to put in their pockets. It also gives all those people that were arrested criminal records that will follow them for the rest of their life. History shows us that laws don’t get changed by being arrested. Laws are either changed in the courts or by voting out the people who enacted them.
In the case that just happened in North Carolina, rallies and sign waving are great ways to show the people’s displeasure with HB-2. However, blocking offices and hallways which creates a fire hazard does nothing to change anything and being arrested on purpose for no reason is just a waste of time and money.
The real way to fix this is to create a test case that can be sent thru the courts all the way to the top if necessary. Have trans women use the women’s room everyday peacefully with witnesses at the capitol until they arrest one or take some other action against that person. Make it so the only reason they are being arrested is for using the restroom. Don’t give them any reason to add extra charges like resisting arrest or disorderly conduct, etc. Then fight it out in court. In the long run, that will give the cause a 1000 times more camera time than a group of people being arrested for breaking other laws in protest.
You can guarantee that if Missouri ever passed a bathroom bill, on that first day it took affect I would show up at the capitol with the press in tow and would violate it in front of the whole world. I would do it in a way that my only charge would be using the women’s bathroom. That would be a justifiable arrest as it can then be used to legally fight the constitutionality of the law all the way to the Supreme Court.
We have to work smart to battle these laws. The LGBT community is already under a microscope and opponents of our existence are looking for any dirt they can find to justify these hateful laws. Don’t give them ammunition to use against us by senseless law breaking.
Welcome to Mid Missouri Transgender Support. My Plans for this site are for it to be up to date source of information and resources for the transgender community here in Mid-Missouri. I’m hoping this will be an interactive site with the users submitting info and resources to make this the most current site in the state. If anyone knows of any resources or events that are planned here in Mid-Missouri that will impact or benefit the transgender community that are not already listed, Please contact me so I can add them so everyone on here can benefit from the info.
Also if anyone is interested in writing posts for this blog please let me know as the more diverse this site is the better it will endure.