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

One score and 5 years

In which I continue my reminiscences...

Assuming Roles, Duties and Responsibilities

See the screw slowly turn around
See it sink without a sound
Feel your head split with every turn
Feel the steel knob begin to burn
All is lost now, it seems that way
All is lost now, it seems that way

From one of my readers:

I would be very much interested
in all the dynamic you and your family went through, in detail. I bet it would make for a lot of drama and sell more books because of it, if it ia published. Without that it seems a little too abstract and philosophical for me anyway. But maybe I missed some of what you have posted.

All righty then...


Being Different    
Being Different   

No words
from me
the pain

The words
your mind
and soul

--Robyn Elaine Serven
--November 2, 2005






A quarter century

One quarter of a century. Twenty-five years ago today. That's when I began my transition.

It also would have been my father's 68th birthday, had he not died a third of a year before his 60th and about a year after my mother. Them dying, as well as their parents, was intimately involved with me waiting until I was 44. Wouldn't want to embarrass the family.

I also waited until I had earned tenure. It seemed prudent.

I've dug out this old portion of a manuscript to share in honor of this event. Maybe it will provide some understanding.




Experiencing a few days with her oldest friends brought back so many memories. In the past few days she had sorted through them, trying to find a way to make sense of it all.

With some of them there may never be any resolution, but some had become bright and shiny reminders of what could have been. They seemed to glisten in the new light of the reexamination.

She had to go way, way back. Not all the way to the earliest memory, which was of falling on the grass too near the road that ran by the grandparents' house in Portland. Not that far, but close.



Par - tay!









In point of fact, it was 21 years ago today. It was the day the OJ Simpson trial began. Details...

It was twenty years ago today
Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play
They've been going in and out of style
But they're guaranteed to raise a smile
So may I introduce to you
The act you've known for all these years
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

We're Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
We hope you will enjoy the show
We're Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sit back and let the evening go
Sgt. Pepper's lonely, Sgt. Pepper's lonely
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
It's wonderful to be here
It's certainly a thrill
You're such a lovely audience
We'd like to take you home with us
We'd love to take you home

I don't really want to stop the show
But I thought that you might like to know
That the singer's going to sing a song
And he wants you all to sing along
So let me introduce to you
The one and only Billy Shears
And Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

What would you think if I sang out of tune
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song
And I'll try not to sing out of key
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm gonna try with a little help from my friends

What do I do when my love is away?
(Does it worry you to be alone?)
How do I feel by the end of the day?
(Are you sad because you're on your own?)
No I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm gonna try with a little help from my friends

(Do you need anybody?)
I need somebody to love
(Could it be anybody?)
I want somebody to love

(Would you believe in a love at first sight?)
Yes I'm certain that it happens all the time
(What do you see when you turn out the light?)
I can't tell you, but I know it's mine
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm I get high with a little help from my friends
Oh I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends

(Do you need anybody?)
I just need someone to love
(Could it be anybody?)
I want somebody to love

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm gonna try with a little help from my friends
Oh I get high with a little help from my friends
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends
With a little help from my friends

I've been singing the tune of education about transgender and gender-variant people since I came out in 1992. As I've learned myself, I have found ways to share. The hope, of course is that one day we can earn the respect and acceptance of the people in this least sufficient to the point that we can live without any more danger than any so-called normal person must endure. At the beginning, my aim was to try to make it o that nobody else be as badly treated as I was when I came out. I have not forgotten that.




When you read the Diamond Sutra, you will read these characters:

Depending upon nothing, you must find your own mind.
--Diamond Sutra

So last evening I was looking around for a story to do for today and I ran across this article about Trace Peterson, who will teach a class at Hunter College this fall on the poetry of transgender people.

Literature departments and studies of literature are very comfortable approaching transgender subject matter as theory, or as types of metaphor. But there’s very little study of literature by transgender people.


Peterson is editor and publisher of the journal EOAGH and coeditor of Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics

And I reminded myself that I have not written a poem in ages. I didn't start writing them until I began to transition...or at least to explore transition. And now I have written over 200. But its been a few years since I visited that art.




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.




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