Personal stories about insight, wisdom, consciousness, and responses to the conditions of life.

She tried

 photo Jess Shipp2_zpscbzqqyg3.jpgThis is a day we on which, I guess, we should be celebrating like all get out. But last night I discovered some hard news. Such news is easier to bear when it is shared.

Jess Shipps spent eleven years in the Air Force. She spent a decade locating and bringing home the remains of soldiers who lost their lives in Vietnam, Laos, and New Guinea. For the last two years, she taught others her talent for video and photography.

Nine months ago, Jess left the service so that she could begin a transition from male to female. On Tuesday, shortly after sending a few people important to her the message

I tried.

Jess Shipps took her own life.



Reply from an elder

On this, my 67th birthday, I found a tear wrenching letter to transgender old people at the Advocate.

Now the letter was not so much aimed at me personally. I did not transition in my 60s. I transitioned 2/3 of my life ago, at the age of 44. That was enough of a problem in itself.

How did you do it? How did you keep yourself going all those decades in the wrong gender? You must be the toughest person alive.

--Marlo Mack

Marlo, there just a wasn't a lot of choice. Survival is a strong motivation.




To tell this whole story has taken me nearly 20 years. I am bit a minor actor in it, but I proudly accepted the role of one of the storytellers. In 1995, Vigil was published at the website ftmInternational and it was there for many years. It is not anymore. 20 years was published on New Year's eve of 2013, twenty years after the the bodies were found.

The whole story is lengthy, but I hope you have time. The movie version was somewhat lacking in actual facts. The tabloid version didn't even come close.



Stories at the Inn

Hate 4 photo hate4b1.jpgToday's offering was written shortly before the Christmas of 2008. Let me stir yor memory jut a bit by reminding you that President-elect Obama had chosen to have Rick Warren deliver they invocation at his Inauguration, which the LGBT community considered to be a huge slap in the face.

I had been looking for a hook or two on which to hang my weekly Friday column.

The snow was blowing and the wind was howling. It was going to be a dark and stormy night.

I graphic is called Hate 4, from my Colors of Hate series.



To thine own self...

Strings photo strings.jpgI've trundled out my joining tools again. This particular chapter consists of one portion of a diary from early March of 2011...and excerpts from my performance piece, Crossing the Gender Line, which I presented several times at academic venues in Arkansas and also was invited to perform at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL in February, 1995. I can date the various performances by examining the poems was my habit to write a new one for each performance. The excerpts are from the piece as it stood in 1998.

The graphic is entitled Strings. I hope this hits the right notes.



Existing Beyond Theory

While many of the essays I have written over the years have a footing firmly based in emotions, I have explored the theory of transgender from time to time. Let's face it: some people are not going to accept that transpeople are not just crazy loons unless they have some "solid evidence."

Unfortunately, what people consider to be solid evidence has a wide variance.

In January of 2011 I shared a review of the literature. Since most of "the literature" comes from psychological research, that won't be good enough for some people. Since I live with a graduate professor involved in educating and mentoring doctoral researchers, I'm sure we might disagree on that point.

This literature review is not up to her graduate school standards. I have not included an annotated bibliography in APA style. I'm only a layperson when it comes to psychology.

My actual purpose (and hope) is to get people to read it, especially the people who need the information presented this way. Well, that and making a few corrections so that it properly fits into my autobiography thingy.

I'll get started on the other side.

The graphic above is called Faces.



On Waiting

At the Nub photo Nub.jpgThe main portion of this was written after the inauguration in 2009 and was called at that time, Waiting for what comes next. But I've blended that with a short piece called The lessons are waiting from May, 2008 and a relevant poem/graphic from late 2008.

The graphic is entitled, At the Nub.



Then They Came for the N Word

Spark photo spark.jpgHere's another piece from early in 2009. I think it explains clearly why I wrote it, which also shines light on why I first started posting at Daily Kos and how most members first came to notice my presence. There was a coterie of people who were not pleased with that.

The graphic to the left is named Spark.

Although the first portion is written in the first person, it should be obvious that I was not writing about myself.



Being authentic

Song photo song3y.jpgWhen I established days and times to provide content at certain websites, I have called those submissions "columns."

Having to come up with that content on a weekly basis has not always been easy. Taking a look at the news events of the day sometimes provides a hook. Sometimes a starting point is found in a diary posted by someone else. But sometimes I just have to go with stream-of-consciousness writing and hope that eventually it all makes sense. I've done several of those over the years.

This one was originally created in February of 2009...and was fueled by one stuff going on in my actual life on campus at Bloomfield College in New Jersey.

I've dragged it out here and am sliding it into my Selected Writings of a Transsexual Woman because of the recent flap about Mount Holyoke canceling The Vagina Monologues, saying they are not "trans friendly." I have no doubt that we transpeople will be castigated for that at some point...even though we didn't instigate it.

In early February of 2009, I was preparing to be in a campus production of VM.

The column produced is on the other side.

The graphic above is named Song.





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