Gratitude

Many blogs posts are moving inside of me but not quite ready to be written. What is ready to be written is a quick note of gratitude to all the people in my life who are supporting me in this process and are choosing to allow it to be an opportunity for growth for them as well. I continue to feel incredibly blessed my friends, my family, my clients, my collegues and my new blog friends. Wow!! I think I feel more honored and loved in this process than I ever have in my life. Granted part of it is me really owning myself and in so doing being more communicative. And still, the reception and support and love has been incredible.

So thank you to everyone who accompanies my on this journey. I am honored to know you and share this path with you. Namaste!!

What does it mean to be trans?

There is a lot of dialog going on right now on many of the blogs I follow as to what it means to be trans and are non-binary folks finding a place under the trans umbrella. one of my favorite posts is from Today I am a Man http://mantodayblog.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/n-for-nonbinary-lgbtq-beyond/ (I should add this post brought a lot of dialog and controversy amongst other trans people -controversy that Rimonim should not have a say in it at all given his binary male identity. I think we all have something to add, personally, and his post was the first to get me thinking. So thanks Rimonim!!)
Rimonim began by posing the question of whether an N needs to be added to the LGBTQ+++ acronym. His feeling is that trans (the T in the acronym) is an umbrella for all trans people, be them identifying as a man, a woman, or something in between.

I do feel trans, and I do feel non-binary. However many of the people I interact with need a label for me. Do I call you he now? neither he nor she fits me quite honestly. This whole discussion has propelled me into deeper self discovery of who I am and what it means for me to be trans. I am trans because I do not feel like a woman. In my most recent post I spoke to there once being a third sex which we have eradicated from our language and understanding of the sexes. It seems to me some broad understanding of a third sex at a minimum needs to be brought back into all cultural understanding of human gender. Then the T will truly be an umbrella for all of us.

In the meantime, as I ponder what do you call me. Whenever you can, simply call me Sky. Keep gender out of it. When that proves impossible, as much as I do not like it, I prefer they, them, their. I do like this for its plurality – however I am multiple in one and in our language it is for the plural in a group. I do not like it mainly as it reminds me of my closeted lesbian years when I avoided outing myself by referring to my partner as they, them, their vs she. This historic place in my reality makes this choice rub me the wrong way. I do not want any connotation of hiding in my life today. I am proud of who I am and have nothing to hide.

And again, this reinforces my belief in the need for broadening our language to encompass the myriad expressions of all of those of us who fall between or even outside of male or female.

A side note that is relevant – speaking to my sister last night – this is the sister that is my sister soul mate and I hers, though she is grieving the loss of me as her sister soul mate. Not having this in between expression, or multitudinous expression of gender in our language makes transition especially hard. For my sister, she is realizing, interestingly to me, me being gender non-conforming was easy, there was no grief or loss. Having me be more clear about what being gender non-conforming means, getting surgery, starting T… in her mind this pulls me further out of sister realm than being simply gender non-conforming. I get it – it is complicated and the choices I am making make me even less conforming than I was previously. I have crossed a line that challenges one’s perceptions and beliefs. For me it is such a small line now that I am here. But for those who love me it can feel big. If all of us gender variant, non binary specific people had some word for us in the language or words as I believe and am understanding their are many expressions in the space between male and female – this would be easier somehow for others to grapple with. And maybe I am just searching for a way to mitigate the grief people I love feel. I have said this a million times and I will continue saying it – I am who I am and who I have always been. I am stronger and clearer yes. But I still have all the same qualities that make me a sister soul mate, an awesome therapist, a compassionate and loyal friend….

Perhaps the question ought not be “what is trans” or “who belongs under the trans umbrella” but “what is gender, and what changes in our understanding of gender need to occur so that all trans people are included in the equation and are understood as part f the whole”.

What is sex anyways?

Only with the rise of Western medicine and genetics has sex been conceived as dual and ontologically stable—male and female.

– Burrus, Virginia; Keller, Catherine (2006), Toward a theology of eros: transfiguring passion at the limits of discipline

I have been having an interesting conversation with a friend about the masculine, the feminine and the androgynous. It started with Plato’s The Symposium and the Myth of Aristophanes.

“In the first place, let me treat of the nature of man and what has happened to it. The original human nature was not like the present, but different. The sexes were not two as they are now, but originally three in number; there was man, woman, and the union of the two, of which the name survives but nothing else. Once it was a distinct kind, with a bodily shape and a name of its own, constituted by the union of the male and the female: but now only the word ‘androgynous’ is preserved, and that as a term of reproach.” go here: http://outre-monde.com/2010/09/25/platonic-myths-the-myth-of-aristophanes/ for a full translation.

I am not in the space for a heady philosophical post so instead i will go to the questions elicited in our talk. For me, it is easy to consider the masculine and the feminine aspects of myself, as i do and have for a long time lived them. Many people have contemplated and have even worked to develop both attributes in themselves as is also true of this friend. However, somehow, the reality of my transition seems to be making a number of people consider what it is to be a man, a woman, or androgynous – or even something else entirely.

I am seeing such bravery as we ask questions such as: “who would we become if we were to embrace both the masculine and the feminine inside?”. Or “who are you as you transition?” vs getting caught up in some stereotypical understanding of what it is to be a man or a woman and the fears or judgements that elicits. Or ” how did our society today arrive in this binary system of sexes?'”. And finally, “what differentiates a man’s brain from a woman’s and what are the implications of this in my relationship with you?”.

I am finding many of my friends (and even my mom) looking deep within themselves to understand gender. To understand that the male and female binary system is a relatively new phenomenon, and for all of history at least three sexes have been acknowledged. And for much of history we transgender people have existed, multi -culturally. Some completely switching sexes and roles and some combining the two. Throughout history, there has been an embrace of this transgression as unique and natural. There has always been a place for us in history.

To have my cis-gender friends get curious about the deeper forces at work and what they are missing either in themselves or in understanding another (me), I find courageous. And I once again feel myself bowing down in humility and gratitude to all the people in my life that are really by my side in this process of evolution and becoming. Allowing themselves to be touched and made somehow bigger in the process. It is truly a beautiful beautiful thing. Thanks you!!!!

Singing and Dancing

I have been curiously watching the changes in my voice and have moments of missing my old voice. I really only miss its ability to sing. I am in that awkward stage of transition where I cannot sing at all. My vocal cords are not working like they used to. This is hard for me – not because I sing for a living but I love to sing while driving showering hiking… and I cant right now. I am considering contacting a colleague of mine (singer/songwriter) who works with trans people find their voices. I think I need that. And the woman is an inspiration to me as well. When we talk I have these fantasies about creating workshops for trans folks to help us all find our authentic expression thru sound and really body too – cuz how we are in our voice is so embedded in how we are in our bodies. So anyways, using me as a guinnea pig while also finding my new vocal expression. Yes I think it is time.

But dancing – that is something else entirely. I went to see Joan Baez in concert last night at this great outdoor venue in Denver. I think I danced all but 2 or three songs. Feeling my body move and dance – wow! Nothing has changed in how I move. I dance like I have always danced however, once again I feel freer. No double D’s bouncing along in front f me. No weight pulling me forward. No energetic hiding of my chest. All the moves felt freer more open. I use my arms a lot in dance as part of the expression. When I raised my arms to the heavens I actually felt my heart open, there was no protection, no hiding, no holding back.

And then the interactions with my fellow dancers felt different. There was this one old (I laugh, he was probably only 10-15 yrs my senior) Grateful Dead looking guy up there with me – grey hair, big beautiful grey beard. Rotund. How to put this into words… historically it was difficult for me to dance openly with men. Not wanting to welcome any sexual misunderstanding or something. I truly loved dancing with him. And I felt the flow of my masculinity and femininity moving thru me, a balanced fluidity. And then there was this young girl, maybe 12 or 13 – shy but with such a light about her. She was watching me dance, curious. I beemed at her a big smile which brought her out to dance. The openness I felt, the ability to let my heart connect with each person I danced with in front of the stage – it was awesome.

I love loving my body. I love inhabiting my skin for the first time in 48+ years. I love loving how I feel when I move, when I am still. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity I have to finally find myself and live openly, strongly, vibrantly the truth of who I am.

The evolution of making love

Much of my life I have felt rather asexual. I have had a remarkably low libido and a propensity for solitude, so it worked out well. I know some of this comes from the sexual trauma I experienced as a kid that blocked the healthy blossoming of my sexuality. Add to that not relating to my female body and it makes a lot of sense. Today I feel something opening in me that I did not expect.

As you may know, testosterone (T) increases ones libido. It has been a slow unfoldment for me over these 6 months on T to feel my libido rising. But rise it has. As it has surfaced, the reality of my singleness and my lack of ease with having a friend with benefits has left me alone with myself and a strong need for… sex.

I write it that way (…sex) because really it isn’t sex that I yearn for but the melting union of making love. The transcendence of physical boundaries that can be experienced with another in the act of opening, giving and receiving thru sex. So it has been an interesting experience to find myself with me alone in my yearning to unite in oneness through sex. Masterbation has never been easy for me (religious upbringing and trauma, thank you). Not having another option, my relationship with masterbating has evolved.

I find myself pleasing myself and in so doing expanding and opening to myself in a way I have never done before. I find myself riding the wave of spiritual union, Sky speaking to Sky, welcoming inviting loving opening me to me. Me to me in union.

I wrote earlier T increases libido. I want to be clear, testosterone plays a role in this but more of what I experience in these moments is me, Sky, showing up sexually in a way I never could as Sarah. I am owning my body. I am owning my pleasure. I am owning my love. I am owning myself, embodying myself. And in the owning and embodiment, I am coming out to meet me in all life’s experiences – I am coming out to meet me and merge with me in the act of love making. It is profound. The release is immense. The inner calm as I float and flow in oneness with myself.

I am very curious, if and when the day comes that am in a relationship again, how this will enhance our sexual sharings. I find myself fantasizing in ways I never have before, owning the power of my body and finding ways to please my partner that I never even thought of before (body dysphoria and living in the wrong gendered body have severely limited my sexual empowerment and curiousity). I find myself rising up to the possibilities so strongly (pun was not intended but there it is đŸ™‚ ). How incredibly liberating.

I am curious if any of you, especially the trans men and women reading this, have had similar experiences. Please feel free to share as is comfortable. I realize I have hesitated writing this post because it feels so exposing and because sex is just not something I was raised to talk about. So here’s to all the forms of liberation that come from owning oneself.

Grief and grieving

My sister recently wrote: I am really glad you are coming [to visit]. I feel like I need to actually see you in person. Like, really need to see you. To help me be fully caught up with you. You are moving at light speed and big parts of me still hold you as my sister-soulmate. I have to find a new place for you and release you from that old one… I think. Something inside of me needs to catch up, of that I am sure.

And a friend and ex-lover/partner wrote: I am supporting you in your liberation and that path S… As strange it is to me also cause I did love a woman and was found with your breast.. I loved every part of you, [every] cell ; So it’s both a letting go of the body you choice to (re)move, deeply…saying goodbye. And of the feminine attraction that was between you and me. How put that on words !? I love women… I did love our sharings… everything will clearly be different now.

I find myself crying inside. To Fern, my sister, I want to say (and have) I am still me. Our connection does not change as I transform and become more of me. I am still your sister soul mate, or brother soul mate or simply soul mate, Sky soul mate. I am me, you are you, our connection remains as deep and profound as it always has been. Perhaps it even deepens as I let more of me out.

To my ex, a deeper letting go. The intimate relationship ended years ago though in my heart I find I still hold on. Her words indicate to me as a transman their will no longer be an attraction from her towards me. This pains me. The door has officially closed completely. (Understanding our history makes this relevant but I do not have it in me to detail).

Change is life. Without change we die, stagnate. I do not want that, never have. Likewise, I do not want the changes I am going through to change significant relationships. I know with Fern whatever change will be one of growth and expansion. I trust that. With my ex, I have fear – that is the honest statement. We have known each other almost 30 years. We have come together and come apart more times than I can name. I want to trust that we can weather this and that maybe even it will support us in finding a stable friendship. And I grieve the death of hope.

Man I am way too emotional for this post – but there it is. Hopefully some sense will come from it. Ultimately, I am letting go and allowing death and rebirth (I hope) to follow its natural flow. And sometimes it hurts and is scary – like right now.