Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Orycon30

Well, shit happens, doesn't it?

I almost didn't get to go to Orycon this year. And I'm gonna take it in the shorts for the loss of pay because I ran out of sick time because I'd been sick with pneumonia because...

You get the idea. And then the OSFCI got buried in late entries and they didn't process me so I sniveled, I did, and sweet Michael Pinnick, the co-chair of OSFCI, who goes by the name Czarcasm in one of my other tribes: The Darklings (polyamorous followers of Darklady aka Theresa Reed), stepped in and personally fixed the problem with John Lorentz, the other chair at OSFCI.

(Everybody has a pseudonym there. I just go by Michelle, which gives you an idea of how unoriginal I can be. I'm also not polyamorous. Real boring.)

So I got to go. I volunteered. I entered the costume competition. I got stinkin' drunk Saturday night after the disaster at the costume competition. More about that later.

I didn't meet any writers. I didn't read any of my stories as I'd planned. I did, however, spend about $50--food and a couple of rings from the dealers room--put in about six hours total guarding the Hospitality Suite and the Game Room and manage to make an utter fool of myself at the costume competition.

Friday went pretty good. Picked up my badge about 6:10, about an hour after I'd planned and strolled around, poking my nose into things. I had my new hairpiece on, the one that Jamie from the salon had done for me and I looked pretty good. Ten years younger. (gawdamn Male Pattern Baldness!) I stayed as late as I could but began to fade around 11:00 pm. Missed Theresa's panel on Gender that happened around midnight. (I think they put her stuff on late at night for two reasons: 1)They think only the perverts will stay up long enough to attend these and 2)They don't want anyone affected by the perverts. ('They' being the nimrods who did the programming this year.) Had a good time, otherwise.

Saturday was another thing entirely. I'd stayed up too late. I was fried and overslept. I couldn't get that damned hairpiece to look right and wound up wearing my ol' standbye big blonde shag. I wore the black velvet pantsuit and red satin blouse with the big collar and fold-over-jacket cuffs. Those cool black velvet low heels with the rhinestones I bought at Goodwill, long ago before I came out and boy did Elis look at me funny when I purchased them. I was late to breakfast with the Darklings and I could tell Our Lady was annoyed as hell with me but controlling it admirably. I thought.

I thought I looked good. Theresa giggled and told me I looked like a fuckin' flight attendent from the '70's. Actually, she used the word: 'stewardess'. Scornfully.

This was not an auspicious beginning to the day. We finished breakfast around noon.($15 is what that sucker cost me. But it was good food, so there ya go...) I headed off to volunteer, idealism shining in my baby blues.

Four hours later, I was bored, tired and eager to change clothes for the costume comp. Now! I was thinking. Let's do it now!

Let me explain: I had the most killer outfit imaginable picked out. I'd done four hours of handstitching Thursday night, taking it in about four inches each side--both my machines died--and it's one of the prettiest dresses I own: fire engine red with black mini-pokadots with a black tulle' underskirt, off the shoulder and cut low in the back. Add a pair of black velvet fingerless gloves, black patterned p-hose, the Priscilla Presley wig and those cool cuban heel shoes--also from Goodwill-- and I looked efin' fabulous, I did.

Well, I sashayed up to Theresa's room after borrowing her cardkey around four and began my work.

First off, I wore too damn much foundation. I dunno why I did that. Force of habit, I guess, from when I used to do the drag queen bit. But things were going rather well, I thought. I glued jewels to the Priscilla Presley wig with eyelash glue, and was well into it when Theresa popped in around 5:30 and fed me snacks and alcohol. The alcohol was a bit of mistake, in retrospect. If I'd been sober, maybe I might have been able to handle better what happened later at the costume competition.

I hit the call time for the CC right on the button and sat around with the rest of the folks. The emcee, an old duffer whose name I did not catch (and should have so I could mail him cab fare so he could go drown himself) came up and down the line of us contestants, taking names and asking how we wanted to be introduced. He came to me and asked me my name.

"Miss Michelle Rose,"I said proudly.

He blinked at me. "Miss?" he asked, rather pointedly.

Alarm bells should have rung. I was tipsy, so they didn't. "Uh-huh," I said, rather enthusiastically. "And could you add: 'The Fabulous Fifties'?" (The Con's theme was Through the Years or something like that and I thought I looked delightfully retro.)

His eyebrows went up and he looked down at his clipboard. "Hmmm," he grunted and scribbled something. I was too keyed up to notice his reaction. Too keyed up and drunk.

He moved on. I sat there, jittering. After a few more minutes, a couple of stage hands came in and announced that they would be the ones at the front of the stage to help us contestants off so we didn't stumble in case we were blinded by the stage lights. One of them, the female--who had a decidedly dykey air about her--looked at me and grinned. "Especially you, honey," she told me cheerfully. "Are you supposed to be someone special?"

Still no alarm bells. I can be so effin' dense sometimes. "No, not really," I said, rather distracted. Showtime was coming up fast and I was getting a serious case of stage fright. There were a lot of people out there.

"Well, you just walk out, bow to the Empress of Style and then come forward and we'll help you." She snickered and elbowed her partner who favored me with a toothy grin.

I still didn't get it. They left and we were off and running a few short minutes later.

I was number five in line. I hit my mark behind the curtain, they announced me, the stage hand pulled the curtain back and I waltzed onto the stage. I was three steps out there when the announcer's intro sank in:

"MISTER Michelle Rose. The Fantasy Fifty!"

I almost stumbled but I curtseyed, pivoted toward the front of the stage and, beyond the lights, I saw the two stage hands break up laughing and high-five each other.

This time I got it. Sometimes it takes a friggin' building to fall on me but I got it, oh yeah. Connections snapped and fizzled through my sozzled brain and I knew without coming any closer that there was no way I'd make it off that stage without those two morons dropping me into a disjointed pile.

No way! my blitzed brain screamed at me. Get out! NOW!

I did a one-eighty and sashayed back toward the emcee who was glaring at me over his pince-nez. As I passed him, he muttered: "You're supposed to go off the front, asshole."

"Not a chance, asshole," I murmured back at him and stumbled back down the stairs into the backstage area. I found a chair and sank into it, shaking like a leaf.

I let most of the group go off and then snuck out the back of the backstage area and headed for the rear of the room. Nobody noticed me, thank Ghod, else I might have burst into tears then and there. I hung around waiting to see if someone might possibly approach me and apologize for attempting to play a practical joke on the 'ridiculous' tranny but nobody did.

I slipped out and went across the way to watch a really cool Celtic/Gaelic band named Tricky Pixie. They were so damned good, I quite forgot my embarrassment and humiliation for a while and just enjoyed them.

When they were done--I applauded until my hands hurt--I went back to the CC room, intending to find that effin' emcee and thrash an apology out of him. Guess who was at the door? No, not him, that dyke with the warped sense of humor. She recognized me.

"Hey!" she yelled at the top of her voice. "There's the guy who fucked us up! Hey man, can't you tell when we're just messin' with ya?"

I glared at her and brushed past her. She tried to push me back but I was moving too quickly. I couldn't find the emcee so I turned around and headed back out, thinking that maybe I could find Michael and lodge a complaint. The alcohol was burning off from all the anger and high emotion and I seriously wanted someone's head on a platter. As I approached the door, I saw another young lady there who'd been with the dyke when I came in. I went up to her and in calm, measured tones, I said:

"You people need some education in gender issues. I may look like a man in a dress, but in fact, I am transgendered and I am living full time as a woman. It was not right for your associate to call me a 'guy' nor was it right for the emcee to introduce me as 'Mister' and I do not appreciate being the butt of a very juvenile joke. I intend to report this to the OSFCI co-chairman. Do you understand?"

She stared at me glassily. "Hey, listen," she began. "It was just a joke. You need to lighten up..."

At that point, I'd had a bellyfull. "No," I snapped. "You folks need to grow up and quickly. I'm prety laid-back but the next tranny you dis' may not be so easy-going and she's probably gonna hand you your pointed little head. Get a clue, youngster. This ain't no joke."

And I sashayed outa there, fighting down tears.

I hit the bar. I got a drink. I sucked it down in ten seconds flat and went to find Michael. I found him about a half-hour later and poured out my heart to him and sobbed a bit while he held me and soothed me and promised he'd look into it and kick some ass.

I like Michael. I trust him. I know he's a man of his word. But I'm never going to put myself through that again, you bet your ass.

The rest of the night passed with me hunting down free alcohol and doing my level best to get fried.

I succeeded admirably. I had to take a cab home and the driver was female and very understanding. She got me home for under ten bucks and I tipped her another three and staggered upstairs to my place, dropped my bags on the floor and bawled like a baby for a while.

And the moral of our story is?

I expect that from the average man on the street who's clueless and hostile. I expect it from the religious fundies who think I'm Satan's whore and have an ideological axe to grind over me. I can even endure it from a suspicious cop who thinks I'm a hooker.

But not my tribe. Not from S-F people who not only should know better but I know have been trained better. Not from supposed free thinkers and progressive people who should know who and what I am without me having to throw a hissy fit.

I'm gonna go again next year and I'm going to volunteer again and I'm going to be cool and calm and oh so urbane.

But I'm never entering a costume competition, ever again, at least not at the Oregon Science Fiction Convention.

Not this trans woman.

Michelle Diane Rose
November 30, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Soldier's Girl

(this post originally posted to my blog at alt.com)
Aug 27, 2007 10:55 pm

I like to rave about something good once in a while. I raved about "My Husband Betty" and I hope a few of you went down to the local library and checked it out or shelled out a few pesos for a copy. If not, please do. It's worth it.

And now I have another rave! And it's probably one most of you have already seen: "A Soldier's Girl". Yep, THAT one. Barry Winchell and Calpernia Addams.

I cried my eyes out.

Then I went online and started looking for Calpernia's site. Easy. Just google her. Oh, my. What a lady. What a role model! What a sweet, smart, utterly cool human being. If we could all be that gracious and classy and utterly ethical.

You all know the story, of course. Barry and Calpernia fell in love while he was in the Army Airborne and she was a showgirl in Nashville. Real love, folks, not just a she-male fantasy, despite Calpernia's pre-op status. The kind of love almost all of us dream about: the kind, handsome, noble and strong warrior who can treat you with respect and not care about the plumbing issues.

The kind of love who will die for you.

And that's exactly what happened.

He was beaten to death with a baseball bat while asleep in his bunk. One of his squadmates actually committed the murder, his squad leader egged him on. So much for unit loyalty. The Army took its own sweet time investigating and prosecuting the two. General Ramsey Clark was the base CO. He's now Chairman of the JCS, thanks to King George. He claims he had no idea, no idea at all...

Except, in the trial, it came out that Barry had been enduring over a YEAR of verbal, psychological and physical abuse at the hands of his fellow soldiers and even his direct commanding officer, who investigated him following allegations that he was 'homosexual'. Allegations by the same psycho who eventually killed him.
Like most stoic warriors in the Army Airborne, Barry shrugged it off and didn't talk about it, not even with Callie.

THAT is the strong, silent type.

Lee Pace plays Callie. He's utterly gorgeous and absolutely amazing, the best drag/TG performance I've ever seen in a supposedly non-gay actor. Of course, the state-of-the-art makeup and prosthetics helped considerably and if you want an exercise in uncontrollable envy, watch the transformation segment under special features.

Troy Garity plays Barry. Need I tell you how sweetly he plays Barry? Need I tell you that you will like him immediately and recognize that he's different from the goons that surround him? Need I tell you that he handles the concept of falling in love with a transwoman as naturally and beautifully as anyone's love? You'll see his struggle and you'll see that the struggle finally becomes irrelevant to him, that THIS is the girl for him and what she has between her legs is largely secondary to who she really is: a woman. His woman. And he's her man. Simple. Elegant. Truthful.

And the love scenes...Oh. My. Goddess.

If they don't make your ears catch fire, you're dead inside, darling. No, of course there's no real sex. This is Showtime, after all, not Joey Silvera. Yes, there's nudity and you get to see what a dynamite job they did on Lee's tits. Yes, there is some serious kissing and petting and those two boys did a FABULOUS job of showing a transgendered relationship without any of the kink or stink. I saw two very lovely people very much in love and very much aware of it and it was irrelevant that both of them had a cock.

"But!" you cry. "That's what makes it so exotic!"

Maybe. Probably. Yeah, so what?

ALL love is exotic. All love has its own charms and silver spangles and bright, happy rainbows.

(With the obvious exceptions, of course. Pedophilia and beastialism aren't rainbows, they're big, grim, Steven Spielberg-type stormclouds in really hideous shades.)

With Callie and Barry, it was something very special, as I've said. Lee and Troy captured it perfectly, beautifully, sweetly. I sat and sighed and cried. I looked like Alice Cooper halfway through the darn thing and I was blubbering like a baby at the voiceover at the end: "I hope someday to become a real soldier's girl."

You did, Ms.Addams. You are, Callie. Barry would have been so proud of you.

This happened over four years ago and Calpernia doesn't like to talk about it anymore. She's taken some heat for capitalizing on, exploiting Barry's death. Read her blog on her site. That should convince you. She's not rich and she's not poor but she's done it all herself and we owe her the props on that one, folks. She was a political football for a couple years when all she wanted to be was an entertainer, a showgirl, and she received exactly the wrong sort of publicity.

And we owe Barry's memory, too. When you visit her site, drop a few pesos in the paypal slot, huh? It's a good 'un, this one.

If you haven't seen it (and I know there are dozens, hundreds, here who have and thanks for not being patronizing) then do. And weep, weep, weep beyond time for this Earth of Hours.

And then go do something good with your grief.

It's better that way.

Michelle

Further on Down the Road

(this post originally posted to my blog at alt.com)

Nov 3, 2008 12:18 am

Hello, there.

It's been a while since I posted anything to this blog, partly because I've been concentrating my efforts at the My Husband Betty message boards and partly because this transition has taken much much more of my time than I could have possibly predicted ten months ago when I went on the hormones.

Long story short: it's been a rough, wild ride so far, people.

Physically, I'm pretty good. My breasts are developing nicely and some of the other secondary sexual characteristics are coming out, right on sked. My libido has gone on vacation, though and I'm not altogether sure it's going to return anytime soon. As they say, this is where we separate the women from the men. Ce la vie. I'm not sure I miss it. Sex may be overrated but love and relationships are just as important to me as they once were, maybe even more so.

I have a new job. Never mind where, I'm equally sure that they wouldn't want their name mentioned on this site and I respect them too much to do so. Suffice it to say that I'm out there, they accept me and guess what? My transition is now 24-7, even if my official ID does not as yet indicate my female name. My work ID will, though, this Wednesday and that feels incredibly, unbelievably rewarding and fulfilling. That one was kinda tough and I can only advise any of my sisters out there who haven't yet transitioned at work to do the paperwork! Get your letter from your shrink and doctor and make sure your HR department gets copies of it. If you live in a state where your rights are not protected, then consult an attorney first and pick your way through it like it's a minefield.

Because it is.

Other things? As I said, I'm 24-7 now. I present as a female (albeit a rather masculine one) all the time now. It's still a bit scary and a bit annoying when I catch the occasional nasty look or leer but I hold my head high and ignore them. Portland and the State of Oregon have laws to protect me and those like me and that's why I waited so long to do this.

That, and being scared out of my mind. After half a century as a male, old habits die hard and old reflexes are very hard to redirect. But: so far, so good.

Which leads me to this reality check. Let's recap, shall we?

1.) Did I do the right thing?
Absolutely. I just wish I'd done it sooner.

2.) Did I do this the right way?
No. I screwed up, many times. But I was lucky. I got to go back and fix most of my mistakes.

3.) Will I continue doing this?
Hell, yes. No way would I even consider returning to being male, not for a second.

4.) Am I going All The Way? Even to the GRS?
I don't know. None of the surgical options are covered by my insurance, not even an orchidectomy and I still haven't decided if I'm going there. To be brutally honest, I really don't want a surgically constructed vagina. Even the best ones--and I've seen some really lovely neo-vaginas!--are primarily esthetic and/or sexual in purpose. They're an entrance, not an exit and the only way I'd consider having that done would be if they could implant a uterus as well. Yep, that's right: I'd want a child. Even in this utterly messed-up world with its greed and violence and madness, I'd want at least one child, even if I'm 'just' a surrogate mother. And that, my friends, is an indicator of just how much I've changed. As a male, I would never have considered having children! I was married for 17 years and it was never on my radar screen. But now...yes, I'd want to be a mother.

"Life is so strange/destination unknown..."

5.) Have I managed to keep the vows I made when I started this?
No. And I'm sorry about that. Abjectly so. I've hurt a few people here--Hello, Bobbi. Are you still well? I think about you often--and elsewhere. I've acted dishonorably and with cowardice. I've feuded with my sisters. I've committed more than a few dishonorable acts and never mind what, exactly. No, nothing unlawful but there have been a few things I've done that left me with an overwhelming need to wash my hands or rinse out my mouth. So: no. Those vows were broken, more than once, and I am here to testify: I am ashamed of some of the things I've done.

This morality/ethics thing can really wrap you in knots sometimes.

Shall I sum up? Don't be silly, I'm not done yet and who can really 'sum up' a life? I'm not even going to try. 'Work in progress' is the best, least trite thing I can say and even that strains the definition somewhat.

I may not be back here anytime soon. I've met some cool folks and not a few flakes on alt.com. But the main purpose of this site is for folks to hook up for sex and frankly, that's not really where I'm at. I'm not judging any of y'all here and what a bad joke that would be if I were. Sex is still great and wonderful and the best thing ever invented, it's just not that high on my list anymore.

Frankly, I'd rather just hold hands and make out. Kissing is still the most pleasant social convention we humans indulge in and if I happen to meet any of y'all, I'd be very pleased to lay a flyin' lip lock on ya! So it's not a total loss, really.

Take care and be well, people. Live, love and laugh a lot. Don't hurt anyone, especially in affairs of the heart and never ever give up on love.

That's still the most important thing. Truly.

Love from me to You
Michelle

Beginnings

(this post originally posted to my blog at alt.com)

Aug 19, 2007 12:18 am

Well, I finally dood it. I got the note. I got the get-out-of-jail-free card. I got the news and it's pretty good, actually.

I received permission to start hormones.

I'm sure 90% of the other t-girls on this site who might be reading this shrugged and said: "So what? Started mine years ago!" Cool. Uh, but for me it's like someone just opened the windows in a dark room onto a sunny day. Or turned on an exhaust fan and a room-full of dark smoke I hadn't paid much attention to suddenly was whisked outside and I can see, finally.

Finally.

There are a lot of things that led to this and the synergistic effect has been straining the seams of my psyche. Two counselors, Effexor XR and a whole buncha soul-searching notwithstanding, it's been a long, twisty road and a tiny steering wheel, dammit. But the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back?

My Husband Betty.

If you haven't read this gem, this finely polished jewel of autobiographical/sociological genius, then you must spend your makeup money on it next paycheck. No kiddin'. I've never been more serious.

Some of us came from broken marriages or relationships wherein the GG couldn't handle the women we really are. For those ladies I can only say: I wish you could have had this book in your hands when you told her. Then you could have handed it to her and said: "Read this. It'll help." Oh, yeah.

The author, Helen Boyd (a nom-de-plume) is unquestionably one of the most determined, clear-sighted, compassionate genetic females to ever walk this green Earth. (Betty, you lucky girl!) This is a floor-to-ceiling examination of transgendered people and issues with no BS, no salacious content and a firm commitment to the principle that we were all born to be who we are and no government, no religion, no antiquated social construct can change that incontrovertable fact and they may as well not even try. Instead: try to understand us. And she does, she does, she does.

Thank you, Helen, for understanding us and for giving me the final, necessary push in the direction I've been resisting for almost half a century. Better late than never, I guess. And the rest of you that read this? Read that little book. If it changes your life even a fraction of what it's changed mine, it'll be worth it. And wish me luck and love in the Light of the Goddess, y'all.

Michelle

Larry Craig

This post originally posted to my blog at alt.com)

Aug 30, 2007 10:04 pm

Politics and sex. They always seem to go together, don't they? Like ice cream and hot fudge. (Hmm, there's an allegory in there and we won't explore that one tonight.)

Sex scandals come screaming out of Washington on an average of one or two per week. It's a tribute to the persistant nature of our national media that each and every one elicits at least a raised eyebrow and a grunt of disgust and contempt from nearly all of us. You'd think we'd be burnt out by now, wouldn't you?

You'd think that we'd get tired of a steady diet of hot fudge and ice cream, wouldn't you?

Apparently not.

Larry. Larry, Larry, Larry.

What are we gonna do with you, big guy? Well, we're going to drag your name through the mud, excoriate you, embarress and humiliate you, harass your family and close friends, set up camp on your effin' front lawn and take pictures of everything related to you from your third grade teacher to the guy who picks up your trash every week. We're going to shout the most inane questions imaginable at every person who shows up at your door and if YOU happen to appear, there's going to be a feeding frenzy and small, furry creatures who happen to be caught in the melee' are going to be torn to bloody shreds.

Just kidding about the last part, there. I think. Still, it ain't gonna be pretty and YOU, my man, my corpulent, small-minded dinosaur of a Republican, are very likely going to lose your Senate seat, the love and support of your family and friends and those lifetime courtside tickets.

All because you're gay and you had to hide it.

I shouldn't accuse you of being gay, actually. That's so unfair. You could be bi. You could be bi-curious. (How many times can you have sex with someone of your own gender before you can no longer call yourself bi-curious? Quite a few, apparently. Some people are just REALLY curious.) You could be a heterosexual woman in a man's body in which case, you REALLY need our help! (Listen, I know this great pastic surgeon...)

But the most probable conclusion is that you're queer, just like a lot of the rest of us (including me!) and now you have to do the diplomatic shuffle to keep your job, your family and your honor.

(Uh, news update, Lare: your honor's already in the dumpster. And your job's about to join it.)

And it's all because you solicited sex from an undercover vice cop in the men's restroom at the airport. Oy vey. Larry, c'mon! The men's room? At the freakin' airport? See, if you'd used Alt.com, you could have set up a nice discreet meeting at the airport Sheraton and there'd be none of this storm of controversy. (Sigh) You showed VERY bad judgement, my corpulant Republican dinosaur. And like the dinosaurs, you're about to become extinct.

And the terrible thing is: you really don't deserve it. Oh, sure: you're a rat-bastard Republican who votes for guns and Big Oil and votes against gays and unwed mothers and freedom of speech, thought and action but that's really overcompensation, isn't it, Larry old buddy? Just another way to hide your gayness and convince all your scumbag fellow Republicans that you're foursquare in favor of the dominance of the Republican Party above all things and that you're entitled to your sloppy, stinky piece of the pie.

How long have you been hiding it, Larry? How long ago was it that you first sucked a cock and said to yourself: "Hey, this is pretty good but I better not let anyone know."? How long ago, Larry?

It's too long, no matter how long ago it was.

You couldn't be yourself, Larry. You couldn't be gay because you wouldn't have access to the wealth and power and position you enjoy. So you hid it, concealed it and now it's blown up in your face because you got a little desperate and careless.

I should hate you for your hypocrisy and your cruelty and your selfishness and your self-centered attitude and allathat, but I just can't bring myself to do that. I've learned a thing or two here at Alt.com,(and elsewhere!) in the last few weeks and all I can do it pity you. NOT sympathize! NOT empathize! PITY.

You're an object of pity, not respect and admiration. Funny how quickly that happens, isn't it, Larry? Funny how fast you can lose everything over one dopey mistake.

Funny how fast your life can fall apart, all because of your sexual orientation. NOW do you know what we're saying? NOW do you understand why we hate and abhor legislation and rules and guidelines that exclude and discriminate against people like us?

NOW do you understand why we're pissed that we get punished for being honest with ourselves and the world while lying hypocrites like yourself get all the perks and goodies and favors? We pay the price on a daily basis for our appearance and our beliefs and just for being who we are; people who were born this way and can't help it anymore than you, Larry old buddy.

And now you have to pay the piper, too. Relax, it won't be too bad. Your life really isn't over, you know. Your wife will publicly forgive you although you're never going to have sex with her, ever again. (Not, I suspect, that it's a big problem for you. She doesn't smell right, does she?) Your kids will forgive you but they might be keeping their distance for a while. The media will get bored and move on to The Next Big Thing and you'll be dissed again, but I think you'll be grateful for that final snippet of disrespect.

And I'll forgive you, too, though I don't have to and it doesn't really matter. I forgive you, Larry old buddy. I forgive your hypocrisy and your lying and your dirty deals with other scumbag Republicans (I'm trying to figure out a way to make that into one word: scumbagRepublicans. Nah, too busy...) and even your cruelty to those who have never done you any harm; gays, unwed mothers, etc.

I forgive you but will you forgive yourself? Or will you stay in a state of denial, protesting even as they take away your Senate washroom key? I kinda suspect you'll keep denying it, Larry. It's a habit, like denying that unwed mothers need assistance just so they and their babies can survive, like denying that the Earth was created billions of years ago instead of a few thousand. Like denying global warming or corporate malfeasance or all of the things your Party has so well taught you to deny.

But you can't deny that you're gay, Larry. Not to yourself. Nope. Can't do it.

You're one of us, Larry. You can deny it, but it's true. You can run screaming from us and babble all you want, on or off the record, that it's a mistake, that you would NEVER do that, that that cop solicited sex from YOU, not the other way around. (sigh) Okay, if you say so.

But we'll be here, Larry. Waiting. Yeah, you might have to take a little crap before you get to suck some cock, but it's part of the Dance, y'know? But we'll take you back, right here where you belong. You should have come here in the first place, Larry. A cover name, a little judicious research (Hey, you might have even been able to find another gay Republican!) to cover your ass and all your needs could have been met right here on good ol' Alt.com. Holy cow, I'll bet that never occured to you, did it?

(The men's restroom at the airport. Jeez...)

Next time, try Alt.com, Larry. We'll be here.

Waiting.

Michelle

SYMRC

(This post originally posted to my blog at alt.com)

Oct 2, 2007 5:15 pm

Hi, everyone!

It's been a while since I posted here and I have a very good excuse: my computer is going insane. It won't talk to my DSL modem anymore and resists all efforts to update/reinstall the necessary software. Alas, it will soon be time to give the poor thing a decent burial; an ecologically acceptable one, of course.

So I hope y'all will forgive me for my silence. It was not intentional and I'm doing okay, other than still struggling to find gainful employment. A word to the wise, dear readers: don't let too much time go by between jobs or you will get the Vulcan eyebrow from a job recruiter or interviewer. Just a thought.

But that's not what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about SMYRC!

(What? Who?)

SMYRC is an acronym for Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center. It's an arm of Cascadia Health Services here in Portland. We counsel and help young (13-23) people whose sexual orientation is not the usual bipolarity found in the straight culture.

I first encountered these wonderful people when I attended and participated in the World's Longest Drag Queen Chorus Line here in Portland on July 22nd of this year. To say that I was impressed with the courtesy, grace, poise and general classiness of these children and advisors would be to make a grevious understatement. In one word: WOW.

First: Google the chorus line thing. I'm the tall blonde in black, about dead center behind our leader; Jinkx Dubois. Although it was horribly hot and muggy, I had a terrific time and I think you will enjoy the clips on YouTube. Or you can just google SMYRC and you'll see a number of these clips and also some of the kids we deal with. They are all, without exception, wonderful individuals and I'm proud to be a volunteer there.

I was so impressed with these children that I said to myself: "Gee, I wish I'd had something like this when I was growing up, then maybe my childhood and adolescence wouldn't have been such a nightmare." And then I said: "Great Goddess, Michelle, why don't you get involved?"

And that, dear readers, was all it took.

I emailed Zan Gibbs, our coordinator, and offered my services. After playing electronic tag for a few weeks and filling out some forms (background check and personal data, etc.), I attended a weekend of training that had to be the best and most eye-opening experience of my life. It felt like coming home to a home I'd never had but had always wanted; a place where I could be myself, really and truly, without judgement or bigotry. A loving home that accepted me for who I am and wanted me to be ME; Michelle.

It's a place where I'm needed. And, sisters and brothers, that feels so grand and wonderful, I can't begin to describe it.

We help and counsel kids that have been marginalized because of their sexual and gender identity: Gay, lesbian, trans, queer; you name it, there's a place for them there at this cool, funky warehouse-like space in Southeast Portland. Over sixty percent of the kids we serve are homeless; street kids that have been thrown out of their homes because of who and what they are. Many of them have mild to severe emotional problems and few, if any, have the requisite social and technical skills to survive in this viciously capitalistic and competitive world. I hesitate to use the word 'handicapped' because it has some unpleasant connotations but it's true, at least in some definitions of that word. It's through no fault of their own. These children did not ask to be born this way and it certainly isn't a 'lifestyle choice', as the Republicans so sneeringly put it. They didn't choose: the choice was made for them, forced on them and they're suffering because of it.

My decision to help them may very well be the best choice I've ever made, with the possible exception of my decision to transition.

Attendez moi, everybody! How many of you donate to good causes like United Way or Salvation Army? How many of you write a check or input your credit card number into a PayPal account for a small donation to a cause you feel is worthy? Half? Maybe two thirds? Good for you!

BUT IS IT ENOUGH?

Ask yourself that. Is it enough? How much is enough?

I can answer that: it's never enough.

Money toward a cause or a foundation or a movement is always a good thing, especially if it helps the future of our species. The list of good causes is endless and I won't bore you or waste space here enumerating them. But there is one thing we tend to overlook when we donate and that's manpower.

Helping hands.

Money is good. It buys supplies like food and necessities for those who need it and pays the salaries of those professionals who have dedicated their lives and careers to those who can't help themselves. But we sometimes forget the fact that there are never enough pros doing this kind of work and there are never enough hands to do the grubwork, the dirty, time-consuming stuff that NEEDS to be done. I'm sure most, if not all of you, have great admiration for those professionals and volunteers who make it their business and their obsession to get down in the trenches and do what has to be done to make this world a better place than how we found it.

But have you ever asked yourself if YOU could do that?

It doesn't take much, really. A little time, a little organization and a little honesty. And maybe a teeny, tiny bit of vision. Look up from your own life for a moment. Look around. Do you like what you see? Do you like the way things are right now?

(That was a rhetorical question. Of course not.)

Ask yourself this: is Money all that is needed to make this a better world, for ourselves and our children; for every thing that lives on this good, green Earth?

(Another rhetorical question. No, Money doesn't solve ALL the problems. It never will.)

I'm not a cheerleader nor am I a rabble-rouser. I'm really not. I'm just a T-girl going through her own problems and struggling to deal with my own life. I'd like to think that winning the lottery or having a rich relative leave me a huge inheritance would solve all my problems. But I also like to think I'm smart enough to realize it won't. When I began my transition, I made some promises to myself and, if for no other reason than to be true to myself, I intend to keep them. One of those promises was to help my sister (and brother!) trans-people whenever, however I could.

And now it's time to do just that.

You can do it too, y'know. Wherever you live, unless it's out in the middle of nowhere, miles from civilization; you too can make a difference. And even if you do live out in Bumfuck, Egypt (meaning no disrespect to any Egyptians who may be reading this! ), you can still take one day, just one day, out of your schedule and DO SOMETHING.

It doesn't matter what it is. Help out at a nursing home. Serve a Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless at a shelter. Get a little training like I did and help out somewhere, somehow, some way.

PAY IT FORWARD.

It's a simple philosophy and it's amazing how many of us pay lip service to that and don't do an effin' thing. We drop a fistfull of change in the Salvation Army bucket and then we forget about it, don't we? I've done that myself. We donate to a cause and then we say; "Ah, I've done my part."

Well, yes and no.

The work requires helping hands, dear readers. Muscle power. Participation not limited to $$$.
And a little time. Time is in short supply, these days, isn't it?

You bet. We're running out of time, losing it like the sand in the hourglass and ain't nobody gonna turn that sucker over again for us all.

We have to do it ourselves.

The government isn't going to help us. Yeah-yeah, we pay taxes for social services and sometimes our subsidies actually do some good. Corporations certainly won't help, although some of them DO actually make a difference, like Bill and Melinda Gates's foundation. But the bottom line is that Money may make the world go 'round but that doesn't mean diddly to a homeless kid shivering under a bridge.

I've been told that I really need to curb my tendency to preach. Ya think? Sometimes a little preaching is required. Just ask the Rev. Jackson. And if you don't like him, well, neither do I, especially, but ya gotta admit his heart's in the right place.

Is yours?

I'm willing to bet it is. I'm willing to bet that ALL of you out there who read this are good, kind, thoughtful people who believe that EVERYONE deserves a chance, a fair shake, an honest shot at a better existence. I'm willing to bet that you ALL believe in equality, fair dealing, freedom and the intrinsic good nature of the human species. Yes, we can be a pack of killer apes and thugs (Hey, Blackwater! How many innocent Iraquis did you slaughter today?), but I also believe that we good folk outnumber the bad guys by a considerable margin.

The marchers in the Chicago Riots of 1968 said: "They got the guns, but we got the numbers. And may God give us the blood to keep going."

That works for me. Does it work for you?

Pay it forward, people. And may the Goddess bless all of you.

Michelle Diane Rose
October 2nd, 2007

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Further Along

Nobody told me that there'd be days like this.

I'm incredibly, uncomfortably ill as I write this so bear with me, would you all? Fact is: I'm dying here.

Yup, it's only partly an exaggeration. I have a bad mitral valve: stenosis and it's a big effin' problem. I can't sleep. I can't walk more than a dozen steps without running out of breath. Work is a goddamn Ironman triathalon. I have pneumonia and pleurisy on top of it, making me just short of suicidal.

But I can't die. I have people counting on me to stay alive, Marilyn my Sprite being the first and best example.

So I'm going to go under the knife, probably in January. It may not be a knife, it may be a balloon and catheter. If that's not an option, then it's crack me open and slice and dice, baby.

It's going to hurt. A lot. It's going to leave one hell of an ugly scar between my brand-new tits. It's going to lay me out for at least a month. It's going to cost an insane amount of money.

It's going to be the scariest thing I've ever done. My first time down the street in full drag at high noon was a fuckin' cakewalk by comparison, literally and actually.

Therein, I suspect, lies my lesson and my knowledge: nothing can frighten me after this, nothing can daunt me and nothing, absolutely NOTHING will be able to dissuade me or turn me from my course.

I've already gone full time. Shortly after my birthday, I fought through the fear and the inertia and the resistance at work and the street and I started to be me, Michelle Diane Rose, 24-7. I started wearing some kind of makeup and stopped hiding my breasts and I dress like a woman, not a man, not a man at all.

ME. Finally. Half a century of being a construct, a synthetic personality, someone who simply wasn't a real person and did not know how to behave and now I'm FINALLY at home in this body.

And it's going to die unless I go under the knife and let them cut into my heart.

The irony of this has not escaped me one bit, thank you very much. If the same Cosmic Jokester were responsible for both; my nearly-successful transition and my impending doom, I'd be at a loss as to whether to kiss Him/Her or punch Him/Her in the nose.

Probably both.

I've shed quite a few tears in the last few weeks, I have. I cried in the Cardiac ICU at Sunnyside Kaiser while Dusty, the charge nurse held my hand and comforted me. God bless you, you red-headed little sparkplug. I love you, too. I've shed tears uncontrollably, reading the responses to my situation on the MHB message boards--and if any of you folks are reading this; hi there, especially YOU, Darya--and I think I've fallen in love with three or four intensely beautiful people there whom I've never met.

And I've shed tears in the ER and ICU while male nurses manhandled me and touched my breasts and made me wanna DIE.

I'm not done shedding tears. It's THAT which makes me so tired. I'm tired of being sick, tired of grief, tired of pain. I literally do not know if I can keep going and endure any more. It's just begun, it will get worse before it gets better and I don't know if I'm strong enough.

I wanted to change my name before I did this. I NEEDED to. I don't want to be in a hospital bed, helpless, while some big ape of a male nurse or orderly calls me 'Michael' and refers to me as 'him' or 'he' and treats me with that casual male camaraderie that FUCKIN' MAKES ME SICK TO MY STOMACH. (I am NOT male, you asshole.) I don't want my breasts handled with casual contempt nor to be treated like some side-show freak and I DO NOT want to be called 'Michael' for any reason, at any time by anyone.

I'll put up with it at work because some people there just don't have a construct and some people are having trouble shifting perspective and besides, I promised I wouldn't. I want to get along, I really do, but the hospital is there for ME, not for their arrogant convenience.

If one, just one person calls me by that hated name, whether or not I'm successful in having it changed before the end of the year, I'm gonna climb out of the bed and kneel on him or her, look them in the face and politely inquire as to where they left their fornicatin' manners.

But do it I must and do it I will. Affirmation. I choose life. I just hope It chooses ME.

I think it will. My mother is standing behind my shoulder again.

And too many people want me to live.

Support me in thy prayers.

Michelle Diane Rose
November 12th, 2008
10:10pm PST