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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Christmas Blessing For Sage Smith's Family

Today I found that this was run on television in Charlottesville, VA dated today and I wanted to share a small bright spot in the tragedy of Sage Smith's disappearance. We all pray she is still alive, but we also pray for peace for her family.......
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (NEWSPLEX) -- This year, many members of the Charlottesville community came together to buy and wrapChristmas gifts for the family of Dashad "Sage" Smith, a transgender female who disappeared back in 2012.
Sage went missing after planning to meet a man near the Amtrak train on West Main Street.
Thanks to the Stand for the Silent and Central Virginia Friends and Family Support Group, gifts were donated from all over, and activists from across the Commonwealth drove to Charlottesville to lend a helping hand.
"We have to keep these people in the public eye," said Pamela Clark of Cue Search and Rescue. "Because if we don't, they kind of get lost in the shuffle because there's so many murdered and missing in America."
Since Sage first disappeared, these groups have been pushing to keep hope alive. They want the Charlottesville Police Department to do a little more to help bring closure to the family.
They feel that sexual orientation and the fact that Sage was black has an influence on the case.
"You know they gathered people to search and there were maybe 100, 200 people," said anti-bullying advocate Joann Robertson. "So there's a vast majority of difference with whats happening in some cases versus the others and again Sage is still missing so we want to bring awareness."
One of their goals is to put the same support and effort into finding Sage as was put into finding Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington. Even though the outcome of those two cases was heartbreaking, the group of women just want to assist and be of comfort to the family.
"We just want to help," said Robertson. "Whatever it is we can do, whether it's fundraising for the search fun or anything we can do, we're here please let's not move Sage to the back burner."
As fall has turned to winter and yet another Christmas is about to pass, this group can only pray that Sage's family gets the justice they deserve.
The gifts that were donated were given to a member of the Smith family, who will then make sure they are distributed just in time for Christmas. Community Bikes in Charlottesville donated bicycles to the smaller children.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Further Reflections on the Nature of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Transgender Individuals and Implications for Its Treatment

In October of this year, I completed 12 face to face educational hours and 16.5 hours online learning in depth about the nature and treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I became a certified trauma counselor through the International Association of Trauma Professionals. I have had an intensive exposure to learning about the nature of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a dis-regulation of the Sympathetic Nervous System resulting in a person on a  frequent to continuous basis experiences being in the state of "flight or fight"response.

 The Sympathetic Nervous System is a subdivision of the Autonomic Nervous System. The other half of the Autonomic Nervous System is called the Parasympathetic Nervous System and it's job is to promote a physical sense of calm and well being, and allowing us to be present in the moment when there is no existing threat to us.

Normally, the Parasympathetic is the dominant or default condition of the autonomic nervous system, In those who experience dis-regulation of the Sympathetic Nervous System, it becomes the dominant system. The individual will experience symptoms of anxiety, excessive perspiration or dry mouth, muscular tension, sleep disturbances, feelings of panic and other symptoms of this nature when in reality, no threat exists for the individual.Experiencing these type of symptoms can range from frequently feeling dysphoria of a mild to a severely incapacitating degree.

It is not known at this time the number of transgender people who suffer from the symptoms of P.T.S.D, In my opinion, to the degree that a transsexual has developed a sense of self awareness, the discovery of one's physical body is not of the gender that matches one's gender identity, the greater the degree of traumatization the individual will experience. Similarly, the longer the individual lives with the inability to live authentically and denies one's true identity, the greater the risk for increasing levels of traumatization over the life span.

It is important to be able to identify the type of trauma experience of the transgender person as a complex trauma or as a developmental trauma, so that the type of treatment selection is important.
Developmental traumas do not respond well to psychotropic medications. That does not mean they have no role in the treatment of developmental or complex trauma, it does imply that medications will not be the solution alone in successfully treating this type of PTSD. Medications will be relatively less effective in this type of PTSD over the long term in resolving symptoms.

What is necessary is a retraining of the Autonomic Nervous System to give people more control in activating and learning to stay in states when the Parasympathetic  system is restored to being the dominant division over the Sympathetic system.

When a person is able to exercise more emotional regulation, it is then the therapy can move forward to process and resolve the significance of the past trauma. In part, this is accomplished by the individual recognizing that the past trauma is not occurring in the here and now. As one is able to leave the past behind, the trauma loses its powerful hold on the individual and she is able to continue through the healing process using the techniques learned to manage her levels of reactivity. She is able to be more present in day to day life as opposed to experiencing symptoms of rumination of negative thoughts of the past or future that remove one from what is going on in the here and now. She becomes free to build a brighter future.

An area that I think deserves further consideration and study is whether  the presence of lingering low self esteem or a sense of stigmatization in individuals who have successfully transitioned represents some type or residual state of PTSD that will be extremely treatment resistant.. Is it possible, as Bob Dylan wrote, "You can always come back, but you can't come back all the way..."?

If it can be addressed, it will likely come through cognitive restructuring requiring long term psychotherapy.  The longevity of the treatment will be as important as the frequency of appointments. In psychotherapy that lasts over several years, appointments are held once a week for a long period of time leading to appointments a few times a year over several years after the most intensive part of the therapy is completed. I believe this type of therapy offers the best chance of resolving residual issues of PTSD such as I described above.

I did a literature search on the National Medical Library of the National Institutes of Health and did several fetches using keywords such as PTSD, Transgender and Trauma and found no articles after an advanced search that directly address the concepts I am writing of here. The closest article was an article in a psychoanalytic journal. It is called Mourning the Body as Bedrock;  Developmental Considerations in Treating the Transsexual Patient Analytically. ( It suggests that psychoanalytic treatment can be helpful in resolving developmental or complex traumas experienced by transgender people. Research into the treatment of PTSD reveals that many different therapies can be effective in treating PTSD. What is most important is that the therapist be fluent in the modality of of treatment she employs over any particular school of therapy.

In any event, much more research is obviously indicated to help transgender people effectively resolve past trauma and build a future based on mastery over self and the social environment.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Donald Trump, the Islamic Radical Terrorist Threat, and American Politics

Donald Trump is a Republican candidate in the coming Presidential election. Recently, he called for a ban on allowing Muslim refugees from entering the United States on a temporary basis and has been denounced both by Democrats and the majority of  Republicans. The American news media have shed all pretense of being objective in vociferously attacking Trump rather than staying true to their role of simply reporting the news objectively. That isn't surprising however. The majority of news agencies have been pushing a liberal political agenda as long as I can remember going back to the late 1960's and now the minority of news agencies are no less objective in reporting by pushing a conservative agenda. It is curious, though, how many Republicans have joined the bandwagon calling him a racist and a bigot.

I am not a supporter of Donald Trump. Eight years ago he was a vociferous supporter of Barak Obama, who has easily eclipsed, in my opinion, the worst president of my lifetime, Jimmy Carter. Obama makes one nostalgic for the old days when Carter contributed to destroying the U.S. economy with high taxes and seriously weakened national security. He brought our nation the energy crisis that left us with terrible energy shortages. Gasoline was rationed in the summer of 1979 and I remember having to wait in long lines because you could only buy gas every other day depending whether your license plate ended in an even or an odd number. Jobs were difficult to come by and wages were lagging with inflation. President Carter brought us an economic index called the "Misery Index" Because of his perceived weakness as a President who was weak on national defense, we had the Iranian hostage crisis, which only ended after our citizens were held in captivity by Iran. His administration sold out our closest Middle East ally, Israel. He gave away the Panama Canal, which is now controlled by the People's Republic of China. Amazingly, the Iranian hostage crisis ended within the first several weeks after President Reagan was sworn into office as President of the United States. While Iran had no fear of Carter, they knew that President Reagan was not a leader to further antagonize. But even President Carter had the common sense to ban Iranians from entering our country and revoked the Visas of Iranian Students who were studying at our colleges and universities during that time of crisis.

President Obama cannot even identify the threat to our country as Radical Islamic terrorism. He consistently underestimates the threat ISIS poses to our country, calling them the (Junior Varsity) in January of this year after the first terrorist attack in Paris, and announcing that ISIS was contained the day before the horrific attack in Paris in November of 2015. My best hope is that he is merely incompetent and out of touch about the danger we face here and abroad, and my worst fear is that his pronouncements are a deliberate intent to aid and abet the destruction of our country and our way of life. His address last Sunday and the recent statements of our attorney general reveals that he and his administration consider us more of a threat to Muslims than Radical Islam is to the citizens of the United States. I find that quite astonishing.

When Reagan left office eight years later, our country was strong economically and our national defense was strong. It is really quite hard to believe that the United States has fallen so far in such a short period of time. My opinion is that much of the responsibility lies at the feet of liberal Democrats and center left to left leaning Republicans. Both the Democrat party and the Republican party have sold us out.

So why am I not a supporter of Donald Trump, you may ask? I am not a supporter of him for several reasons. While I agree with most of the things he says and what he says appears to resonate well with conservative people, the way he presents his views are unacceptable as he antagonizes people and does not try to persuade people who disagree with him. He does not present himself or his views in a presidential manner.

I also question whether he is a Trojan Horse, really a liberal democrat who is out to destroy any chance of electing an alternative to Hillary Clinton who will continue the policies of destroying our country that Barak Obama began. Apparently, he is a good friend of Ms. Clinton's too. I simply do not trust him to govern in a manner that is consistent with his stated political opinions. I do believe that he is an extremely divisive figure and not a uniting force in America.

As far as his opinion that we should temporarily ban Muslims from entering our country, I agree with that position as our government has proven itself incompetent in screening Muslim Immigrants coming into our country. In Europe, we have seen that ISIS (or ISL, or however we call them on any given day) has secreted terrorists among the refugees flooding the European Union. Mr. Trump NEVER said that Muslims in America today should be rounded up, interred in prison camps or expelled from our country. He simply believes that no Muslims should be granted entrance to our country until we can determine who they are, their history and whether they pose a threat to our country. Given that a Pew Poll in 2013 found that 13% of Muslims in our country are sympathetic to Radical Islam and would like to see Sharia Law imposed in America, his position seems prudent.

Here in America, we have accepted almost no Christian refugees (less than 1% and more persecuted than anyone in the Middle East), while the majority of  Muslim refugees are not women and children, but young men of military age. There is something VERY WRONG with this picture, and our government has no clue about the background of these people they are allowing into our country, even in the face of vocal opposition of the majority of the American people. In my opinion, this is a prescription for disaster.

Until we can find a way of learning exactly who these Muslim people are, my hope is that they will be prevented from entering the United States until they can be properly identified and certified accurately as not being a threat to American citizens. These people do not want to assimilate into American Life, many want to bring Sharia law to our country. They are hostile to Western values and are hostile to the existence of transgender people. We need to find ways of properly evaluating each of the refugees before they are cleared to enter our country

Friday, December 11, 2015

Hello Russia!

Russia is the nation with the second most views of my blog for all time after my own country, the USA. For the past month, I've had 600 views from Russia, not many less than my own country's views.

As an amateur student of Russian History and Russian Literature, I am curious about what it means to be a transsexual or transgender person in Russia or in Eastern Europe and in the former member states of the former Soviet Union.

My interest in Russia goes back to my adolescent years when I first saw the movie Nicholas and Alexandra. In my undergraduate studies.  I took a course in Russian History. I began to read literature by Dostoevsky, Chekov, and Solzhenitsyn. I found Ayn Rand on my own and have embraced many) of her philosophical ideas in my own personal philosophy (along with much of the philosophy of B.F. Skinner and Behaviorism). I was also fascinated by the influence of Grigory Rasputin (referred to as the "Mad Monk" over the Czarina Alexandra as well as his own story.

I grew up in the 1960's and 1970's in the era of what we call in America "The Cold War". One of my earliest memories was of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Here in the USA, my early childhood memory was of the adults fearing we were going to die at what seemed to be the beginning of World War III. Thankfully, that event would not become the catalyst of the destruction of two great countries and perhaps the entirety of Western Civilization.

I was a young adult when Ronald Reagan implored Gorbachev to tear down the wall separating East Berlin and West Berlin and saw that wall fall on television along with the disintegration of the United Soviet Socialist Republic, or as we called it, the Soviet Union.

 As an American transsexual who is a mental health professional, my practice is partly devoted to working with transgender people. I am quite interested in how people such as myself fare in other countries. My audience for this blog is truly international. I have readers in every continent, even from Middle Eastern countries and African countries where people such as myself suffer unspeakable persecution, to the point of torture and loss of life because of who they are. There are things worse than dying for who one is or one's religious belief, though, such as being tortured or living under extreme oppression.

I seldom get comments from people from foreign countries who read my blog. My guess is that in some of the countries my readers come from that they dare not leave a trace that they have read what I have written.

As I mentioned, I am quite interested in the lives of transgender people in other countries and other cultures. I would like to invite my Russian readers to participate in commenting on your lives, your struggles and your triumphs to live an authentic life.

Thank you my Russian friends!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It's 2015 and Sage Smith is Still Missing

Sage Smith is a young transgender woman from Charlottesville, VA  who is still missing. I say "is" because we still don't know of her fate, except that she was supposed to meet a man from Minnesota who came to Charlottesville to meet her. She disappeared in December 2012 and while there have been some feeble leads, no one has been able to find out her fate.DaShad Laquinn Smith 2

I never knew Sage. I don't know anyone in her family. I have no contact with the Transgender Community in Charlottesville, partly because I live 25 miles from Charlottesville, partly because in a relatively rural area, almost every person who is transgender has been a patient of mine, and I can't have relationships outside of my work with people I work with for at least two years after my work with them is done and over.

More information was released by Charlottesville, VA police this past November and featured on NBC channel 29 in Charlottesville, which I discovered today:

"Charlottesville Police Offer New Details in Dashad 'Sage' Smith Case

Posted: Nov 16, 2015 4:50 PM ESTUpdated: Nov 30, 2015 5:07 PM EST
Investigators with the Charlottesville Police Department (CPD) are releasing new details about the disappearance case of a transgendered teenager.
Dashad “Sage” Smith vanished from along West Main Street almost three years ago.
Police are now saying the only person of interest in the case likely didn't have a hand in the disappearance.
Investigators working the case have released a new timeline of events from the night Smith vanished. Detectives say Smith left home to meet Erik McFadden at the Amtrak Train Station about 5:40 p.m. on November 20, 2012.
  • 5:17 p.m. - Smith sends text message to Erik McFadden, “When r u leaving”
  • 5:20 p.m. - McFadden replies, “I already did.  I’m at the Hampton Inn.”
  • 5:17 to 5:40 p.m. - Smith and McFadden exchange various text messages.
  • At approximately 5:40 PM Smith leaves his residence.
  • 6:08 p.m. - McFadden sends text message to Smith, “Where u at?”
  • 6:12 p.m. - McFadden sends text message to Smith, “I’m standing here where r u?”
  • 6:18 to 6:37 p.m. - Smith talking on his phone with friend from Northern Virginia. Texts from McFadden come in during this time frame, but it is unknown if Smith read them.
  • 6:27 p.m. - McFadden sends text message to Smith, “Bye u stood me up smh”
  • 6:35 p.m. - Witness sees Smith walking on 4th Street NW. Smith stops and talks to witness at a bus stop in the 400 block of West Main Street. Smith tells witness he is going to meet someone at the Amtrak Station.
  • 6:40 p.m. - Smith walks westbound on West Main Street.
  • 7:00 p.m. - Unconfirmed account puts Smith alone at Wild Wing CafĂ©, which is next to the train state.
A separate witness said three “cross-dressers” were seen inside the restaurant that evening. No video was available to assist in identifying them or to verify Smith was there. Police also note that there is no one that saw Smith at the train station.
According to a witness, Smith was wearing grey and black rain boots with purple and pink lining, grey sweatpants, and a black jacket with a hoodie.
McFadden told police the meeting never happened.  McFadden had sent an email to his girlfriend saying he did meet with Smith, but added he was scared off by a group of approaching people.
McFadden disappeared a few days later, and has been considered a person of interest in the case.
Police are now backing off of McFadden for several reasons: Investigators don't believe McFadden had the means to dispose of a body. "Phone records indicate that they may not have gotten together at all," said CPD Captain Gary Pleasants.
"Someone somewhere at some point in time saw Dashad that afternoon. Maybe they saw him walking up the street alone. Maybe they saw him walking with someone else. Maybe they saw him get into a car, or go into a building. That's the person we need to hear from," said CPD Chief Tim Longo.
Chief Longo is also publicly talking about raising the reward for information. "I would like to think it would be more than money, but you know in this case we're taking every step we can to persuade people," he stated.    
"Any little thing, any little thing can help us. It's been three years and we're getting pretty desperate. I know I am, as a mother, I'm desperate to know where my baby is," said Latasha Grooms, Smith’s mother.
Police plan to be out in the area of West Main Street Friday, Nov. 20. They will be putting up missing person posters to generate new leads.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.
A $20,000 reward is currently being offered in the case."


PLEASE, if you have any information that can help the police in Charlottesville and Albemarle county find Sage alive or find out her fate, I'm sure it would bring great comfort and peace to her loved ones.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Hanukah to all my Jewish friends and to all observant Jews across the world! I, as a Christian stand with you in these darkest of times.

Friday, December 4, 2015

What a Difference Fourteen Days Make

When I last posted two weeks ago ("Useful Idiots"), I was actually referencing what I believe is either the gullibility, the ignorance or the deliberate failure, or unwillingness of President Obama (and those who blindly follow him) to identify Islamic terrorism for what it is. One can only wonder what his motives are.

He dismisses the threat to freedom and way of life that Islamic terrorism poses to our country. He sees ISIS as the "J.V. team": and told us that the threat of terrorism originating from the
Islamic world was contained the day before Paris was attacked for the second time in less than 12 months. Is he merely disengaged? Is he not in touch with the reality of what is happening abroad and in our own country? Is there something more to what is going on than what people are willing to say on the record  about what they think his motivations really are about?

In my opinion his inability to take seriously the threat not only to our country, but to Western Civilization in its entirety is beyond comprehension. For some reason he cannot bear to utter the words "Islamic terrorism" or "Islamic Jihad. No other Western ally has a problem with identifying the nature of the threat to our civilization.

It is all well and good that Barak Obama has made progress in creating a more equal playing field for transgender people in the United States, but what will it amount to if he delivers people such as myself to radical Islamic terrorists who will execute me as soon as they can get a chance, along with others who are Christian and Jewish, or who do not bend to to their perverted and distorted concept of the will of Allah.

 Could it be that he is essentially lulling us into a type of political stupor while he unwittingly   (or deliberately) delivers us into the hands of those who will destroy our way of life? Really, does he truly believe that "Global Warming", now relabeled as "Climate Change" (because they couldn't really ever sell the idea that Global Warming is man made and a threat to our survival) is a greater threat to our existence than Islamic Terrorism?  I guess he really showed the Islamic terrorists by having that conference on climate change in Paris.

I do not believe that the religion of Islam is evil. I believe that all the religions of the world are how God has revealed Himself to different peoples of the world. However, as we all know, there are people of all faiths who pervert religion to serve purposes of evil and to subjugate other people who believe differently. This is the case with Islam today. 

It is irrelevant to waste time worrying about where Barak Obama was born or if his faith is Christian or Muslim It really doesn't matter. What does matter is his behavior. Why does he have such a singular of purpose in forcing America to admit "refugees" from Syria who mainly consist of young Islamic males of military age, relatively few women and children and no Christian refugees from the Middle East when the majority of Americans recognize the threat they pose and do not want them to enter our country? 

His behavior is strongly reminiscent of that Neville Chamberlaine, the former British Prime Minister who sold out Great Britain and Western Europe to the Nazis. Really, was Chamberlain's politics so different from Obama's? Those who do not take heed and learn from history will repeat it.

Why does he try to dictate to other countries to seal their borders, yet he  insists having open and porous borders in the U.S., particular on our southern borders when we know Muslims who have been tied to Syria and terrorist organizations are entering through this poorly controlled border.

In the United States, a 2011 poll from Pew showed that 21 percent of Muslims are concerned about extremism among Muslim Americans. 19 percent of American Muslims as of 2011 said they were felt favorable toward Al Qaeda.

It's time to take the threat to freedom that radical Islamic terrorism poses to our way of life very seriously. Soon it will be too late. It's time to stop paying attention to what Barak Obama says and start paying attention to the consequences of what he does.

I pray to my God it is not too late to turn back from the road of self destruction that we are on, but in the best case scenario, it will be a long uphill battle to save our nation.

In the current climate, I am fearful about maintaining an on line presence. I have debated about deleting this blog. I have not made a decision. I have, however, discontinued most of my social networking on line. I'm not sure it is a safe thing to continue to do. At this time I remain undecided. It is a decision I will have to make in the near future. The internet being what it is, though, it may be too late. Who knows?

Friday, November 20, 2015

Useful Idiots

I remembered this term from taking Russian History in 1978.   In researching the term I found (and remember ) that the term was first used by Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Lenin. It was the term Lenin and Stalin used in referring to the liberals in the United States in that era. The reason for this was because their perception was that the liberals in the 1920's and 1930's were easily manipulated and naive. They could be easily bent to advance the Soviet cause and were a highly expendable asset.

Who are the useful idiots today? I invite you to a vigorous and civil debate about current events....

Saturday, September 19, 2015

And If Pope Francis Does Meet With Barak Obama........

I hope that Pope Francis inquires of Barak Obama why President Obama allows just under a quarter of a million Muslims from the Middle East into our country each year but won't allow Middle Eastern Christians to enter our country when they are so horribly persecuted and murdered in a genocidal manner by ISIS and other Muslim terrorist organizations. Inquiring minds want to know!

Friday, September 18, 2015

So Now We Learn the Vatican Has Objected to the White House Guest List

As our French friends would say, "Quelle Surprise!" (What a surprise!) Not really. Of course the Vatican would object to a White House reception that Obama planned in order to attempt to humiliate the Pope, Catholicism and Christendom at large. To participate in that planned circus would be a humiliation of the greatest degree. Perhaps Obama expected the Pope to bow to him and his controversial guests as Obama has made a show of bowing to other leaders of State who he thinks America owes apologies to for our history.

Pope Francis is a very liberal Pope and endorses views that I personally oppose, such as open borders and a belief that global warming is the result of human activity ( more on that perhaps another time, some scientists are lobbying to have Obama legally prosecute other scientists who dissent from the opinion that global warming is the result of human activity). He holds other views that I do not agree with or support, but I respect Pope Francis and believe that he has done things that have been good for the Catholic church and for the progress of Christendom at large. He has granted audiences to people who are transsexual and not rejected them, though the teachings of the church is at odds with the belief that transsexuals and transgender people have a place at the table in the world of Christendom. He has met with gay people as well and seems to say they should not be excluded from being offered the sacraments, though he believes having a transsexual or transgender identity or gay sexual orientation is a sin. Christian theologians recognize that there is no sin greater than another and while I disagree that I am sinning because of my identity as a woman, I know that I can be forgiven for that if it is a sin as it is no worse than any other sin.

In principle, Obama and Pope Francis share much on an ideological basis. It puzzles me why Obama would attempt to set up such a situation. Is it mere arrogance? Obama seems to be able to act outside of the United States Constitution with impunity. However, Pope Francis and the Catholic church are much bigger than the United States and in this instance, it might behoove Mr. President to remember his place in the grand scheme of the world and seek to build bridges instead of continuing to burn them to the ground.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mateo Williamson, Barak Obama and Pope Francis

Barak Obama has decided to welcome Pope Francis to America and to the White House by inviting some guests to help him greet the Pope. He has invited Gene Robinson, a retired Episcopal Bishop who is a gay man, Sister Simone Campbell, who is a pro abortion nun and is the Executive Director of the social justice lobby group Network, and Mateo Williamson who is supposed to be representing "transgender" people to the Catholic church.

First, I must question why Barak Obama is insisting on sticking his thumb in the eye of Pope Francis and by extension Catholics in America and the rest of the world? How will this possibly move the dialogue forward between Christians who are Catholic, and by extension all Christians who are not accepting of abortion, particularly unfettered access to abortion which includes partial birth abortion and the harvesting and sale for profit of the organs of unborn children? How does having a gay man who likes to wear women's clothes advance the acceptance of people who are transsexual with the Catholic Church and the broader body of Christ when he has nothing in common with transsexuals and confuses the public about who transsexuals are?

While the Episcopal church has recognized that gay people have a rightful place as members of Christendom and are just as much children of God as straight people, presenting Bishop Robinson along with Sister Campbell and Mateo Williams discredits the message that Bishop Robinson could bring to meeting with the Pope and diminishes the opportunity and hope for reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Episcopal and Anglican churches, which is a much desired outcome between these denominations. It certainly isn't going to help me find acceptance in the broader sense of Christendom. Presently, I worship with the Episcopal church, but I long for the day when I can find acceptance as a woman of Christ in the Southern Baptist Convention where I spent my formative years.

It utterly confuses me why Mateo Williams would be included in this meeting. I quote Mateo Williamson from his own words published in Breitbart News: "Today I identify as a gay man and before that was difficult to understand because I thought that in order to be transgender, in order to be a transgender male that I had to be attracted to females but I never have throughout my entire life.”

How he came to the conclusion that he "had to be attracted to women to be transgender" escapes me. I can only conclude he has never been familiar with the professional literature (of which I am very well acquainted dating back to the mid 1960's). In actuality, in the earliest days, professionals believed transsexuals must be attracted to men and there has been considerable debate on whether people who are attracted to women or can only imagine themselves as being women having intimate relationships with men were fetishists. I'm sure Barak Obama could have found someone more grounded and more knowledgeable about transsexualism to greet the Pope if only the President cared about substance over symbolism.

Mateo Williamson is not a woman of transsexual experience. He's a gay man who likes to wear women's clothes for whatever reason. He has had a clear confusion about his identity over the course of his life and that is what the problem with the umbrella term "transgender". His life and his experiences which make him sound by his own words to be a drag queen at best, or just another gay man, have nothing to do with people like me and others I know and have worked with. Presenting him in the context of representing people like me to the Pope devalues my unique identity and experience. People like him and people like me have nothing in common with the exception that we are all human and have the right to be respected for who we are, but other than that, we have nothing in common.

The fallacy of likening people like him with people like me is that his issues, plainly spoken in his own words, have to do with his sexual orientation. My issues are based on my gender identity. To have him publicly be the face of some conglomeration of people in which I am lumped in only makes it harder for the public to understand and become more tolerant of people like me.  

I do understand that what I rail against here means very little, but I do have a voice and a separate identity that should not be subsumed under some term like transgender or like LGBTQI (Et Cetera Ad Nauseam) that blurs my unique experience for some larger political lobby that does not represent me or care about my rights or needs. Because under that paradigm, any hope for advancement or gaining access to health care, or other basic human rights are slowed to a snail's pace.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The 2015 National Center For Transgender Equality Trans Survey

I'm sorry to have overlooked posting this sooner, but an important opportunity is at hand. The National Center For Trans Equality is seeking respondents for its second survey that is the most important study to identify transgender issues about access to health care, employment discrimination, mental health, substance abuse, public access to activities and education, to name some of the very important things that we as members under the umbrella "transgender" face.

The first survey revealed important information that was brought to public attention and made a tremendous contribution to the expansion of our freedoms and access to healthcare. It is important that no matter how you identify under the umbrella of "transgender" that you participate in the survey, even if you responded to the survey the last time it was offered. Don't believe your voice makes a difference? Maybe not in a lot of circumstances, but here it really does and it is worth the 20 to 30 minutes to take your time and respond to the survey!

A big and heartfelt THANK YOU to Mara Keisling and all the folks at the National Center For Transgender Equality.....

Here is the Link to the survey:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Further Along: Summer's Last Days

Labor Day has passed for 2015. In about two weeks the Autumnal Equinox, that day when darkness and light are perfectly balanced before the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer until we reach the soul’s longest night, the Winter Solstice. Then the cycle renews itself and the days grow longer again with the promise of Spring and the rebirth of life, come March.

With my gender transition, I find myself more in harmony with the cycle of the seasons, of the earth and of life. This summer I have rekindled a dream from long ago to live off my land to as great a degree as I am able. A dream left behind in my twenties. One that was left behind when I left this place I love so much when I was 18 and went off to college. Though I returned to live here in my mid 30’s and made a few stabs at successful gardening, I had lost the vision of wanting to homestead on my own land and of what was possible.

Perhaps it was being inspired again by watching several of the television shows about life in Alaska, particularly the ones where we see people wholly living and subsisting off the land. Perhaps it was the realization that in only six years Patty and I will lose between 20 to 25% of our take home income.

Perhaps it is watching the breakdown of our social order and recognizing that our government over the past 30 years has squandered our prosperity and national security. Both of our political parties have had a hand in that. We have led a life of illusion thinking our government will keep us safe and secure and because of that we shall not know want. But now our own natural born citizens are increasingly finding themselves without jobs and going hungry. Some find it more profitable to be on public welfare rather than work because they almost make as much living on the dole than they would make taking a job at entry level pay and don't have to work as hard, because those jobs are hard jobs for the most part. The influx of illegal aliens who will work for less than many Americans will work for only exacerbates the problem.

We can't take care of our own anymore because of the flood of illegal aliens from Mexico, Central America and South America. Additionally, we are increasingly pressured to take in Muslim refugees who are flooding Europe. Apparently they don't defend their own borders anymore either. Our government will not and cannot keep us safe anymore. By promising to be all things to all people, it has greatly reduced the opportunity to become prosperous.  It had driven us to accept mediocrity as the highest aspiration and punishes excellence. Our enemies are coming for us and we are told not to worry. We are told that we should just appease them and the threat will go away. We just aren't tolerant enough.

 We have become so dependent on technology and computers that our children don’t even know how to write because writing is not taught. We rely on computers to run everything. Most people don’t know how to do anything without them, including how to relate to each other on a face to face basis. Too many people interact or socialize only over social media. We are just one electromagnetic pulse away from collapse.

How short our institutional memory is as a result of living in a life of instant gratification and a throw away culture that does not produce things we that last and does not value self- reliance or individualism. In fact we produce very little ourselves. We have shipped our manufacturing capabilities overseas. My parents were children during the Great Depression and World War II. Few are left to teach us the lessons of endurance and survival, the willingness to fight for our way of life, and that the price of Freedom was paid through personal sacrifice.

As a result, my dream of homesteading has been reborn. Nothing too grandiose to begin with, mind you. We grew some vegetables on the patio this summer. Nothing more than something to enjoy here and there as something bore a few vegetables. Some fresh spices to use in cooking too! Something to rekindle the imagination to create the desire to explore and see what possible goals could be realized with our beautiful country home.

This summer we have learned to can vegetables. That’s nothing spectacular; people have been doing it forever it seems. We have been buying from the local farmer’s market and a local produce farm to can enough food to last us into the next growing season when our own garden begins to produce vegetables that we have grown through our own efforts. This will save us money from not having to buy at the grocery store. Even with buying from our local farmers directly, we will save hundreds of dollars over the coming year. Canning is so easy that it was not hard to learn to do at all!

Nothing succeeds like success, as the old saying goes. We have a six year plan. We don’t have to do it all in a year. Next year we are planning to grow a garden for two people’s needs for a year. We will again supplement what we still need for the coming fall, winter and spring with produce bought at the farmer’s market and a local farm. Then we will expand it by growing for two more people each year until we have enough for ourselves and have our own produce to sell to others to supplement our income.

This coming year we will try several different ways to garden. I have had very good results with raised bed gardens in past years. Additionally, we plan to try straw bale gardening and using grow bags to determine which methods are easiest, and most cost effective in producing a bountiful harvest.  We plan to grow potatoes and corn in the traditional tilled earth manner. We also plan on trying winter gardening beginning next fall, something I have never done before. I have started composting on a moderate scale as well. Why put things in the landfill that will become fertilizer for  next year's garden?

We plan to have our own chickens for producing eggs beginning in the spring. This winter I will build a chicken coop and we will start with a rooster and three hens. We plan on expanding this part of the operation until we have enough eggs for ourselves each week and be able to sell the eggs. Fresh eggs from free range chickens are wonderful; another savings from not having to buy eggs at the grocery store and a source of income from selling what we can produce ourselves.

There’s plenty of help and advice available to take advantage of for free from the Virginia Tech agriculture extension agent. I've also found the local farmers to be willing to offer their advice based on their experiences and a willingness to help with things like plowing and tilling for a very reasonable price.

Other projects include harvesting blackberries in the early summer, which are abundant on our property as well as gathering walnuts, hickory nuts and chestnuts in the fall to sell. All of these are good moneymakers with economy of effort as well.

Our lake is large enough for us to pump water for the garden in dry conditions and also big enough to sustain feeding us a meal of fish once a week when the weather is warm enough to want to fish without having to worry about restocking the lake every year.

Though I have no desire to hunt or kill animals, I do enjoy venison. Our land is large enough and the deer are plentiful. I could easily harvest a deer or two in extremely difficult times if I were in need of meat, and squirrels, rabbits and wild geese are plentiful as well. I hope that I will not have to do that, though.

It seems we are only limited here by our imagination and physical ability to do the work. I look forward to the challenge, the adventure and the realization of a long time held dream.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Further Along: A Summer Evening

White Chocolate Bliss
At Days's Last Light
Ice Constant Comment Tea
Life's Soothing Companion
Quiet Outdoor Sounds
Soothing the Spirit

Time After Time
Across Stand the Three Older Sisters
Having Looked Over Me Since I Was a Child
The Oldest Sister is Gone Now

Each Year They Grow in Grace
Offering the Safety of Constancy
And the Natural Gift of Spirit Love
Simple and Pure

I wrote this about sitting outside on my patio and looking out at the woods and my lake. In early summer my magnolias add to the beauty with their wonderful white huge blossoms and their wonderful fragrance......

Thursday, September 3, 2015

It Seems Like Being an American Citizen Doesn't Mean Much Anymore

Today, I saw a news report from a source called "The Daily Caller" that reports an illegal alien who is also a convicted felon under our law (besides having entered the country illegally) was granted asylum because she claims she is a person who is transgender and alleges she was abused sexually by family members.


Federal Court: Illegal Immigrant And Convicted Felon Can’t Be Deported Because He’s Transgender

Blake Neff reports:
"A federal appeals court has ruled that an illegal immigrant and convicted felon can’t be deported back to Mexico because he identifies as a transgender woman, which leaves him vulnerable to torture back in his home country.
Edin Carey Avendano-Hernandez was born male in Mexico, and claims to have been raped by his brothers and suffered other torments. In 2000, he illegally entered the U.S. and took up residence in Fresno, California. Avendano-Hernandez also started taking female hormones and began living openly as a woman in 2005. In 2006, he committed two separate drunk driving offenses, the second of which injured two people and resulted in a felony conviction. After serving a year in jail, he was deported back to Mexico in 2007.
Back in Mexico, Avendano-Hernandez claims to have been subjected to more harassment from family and neighbors and to have been raped by members of the Mexican army. He illegally entered the U.S. again and, after being arrested, petitioned for sanctuary in the U.S. under the U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT), arguing that deporting him would violate the CAT because he would more likely than not experience torture at the hands of Mexican authorities.
An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) both rejected Avendano-Hernandez’s arguments on the grounds that he had committed a serious crime (felony drunk driving) and was not likely to face official torture.
Now, a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals says Avendano-Hernandez must be allowed to stay in the U.S., because he “more likely than not” will be tortured if returned to Mexico.
Judge Jacqueline Nguyen, an Obama appointee, chastised immigration officials for improperly handling Avandano-Hernandez’s gender identity.“The [judge] failed to recognize the difference between gender identity and sexual orientation, refusing to allow the use of female pronouns because she considered Avendano-Hernandez to be ‘still male,’ even though Avendano-Hernandez dresses as a woman, takes female hormones, and has identified as woman for over a decade,” Nguyen’s decision says. “Although the BIA correctly used female pronouns for Avendano-Hernandez, it wrongly adopted the [judge’s] analysis, which conflated transgender identity and sexual orientation. The BIA also erred in assuming that recent anti-discrimination laws in Mexico have made life safer for transgender individuals while ignoring significant record evidence of violence targeting them.”
Nguyen cites the repeated sexual abuse Avendano-Hernandez claims to have endured as evidence of de facto torture, and furthermore concludes that these actions were not crimes co“Avendano-Hernandez provided credible testimony that she was severely assaulted by Mexican officials on two separate occasions: first, by uniformed, on-duty police officers … and second, by uniformed, on-duty members of the military. Such police and military officers are “public officials” for the purposes of CAT,” Nguyen wrote. She added that this torture was likely to resume should Avendano-Hernandez ever return to Mexico.
The belief that Avendano-Hernandez was raped and tortured in Mexico appears to be based entirely on his own claims, which were deemed to be “credible” by his immigration judge.
Nguyen said it did not matter that in recent years Mexico has passed laws intended to protect its gay community, arguing that those laws don’t extend far enough to protect the transgendered.
The belief that Avendano-Hernandez was raped and tortured in Mexico appears to be based entirely on his own claims, which were deemed to be “credible” by his immigration judge.
Nguyen said it did not matter that in recent years Mexico has passed laws intended to protect its gay community, arguing that those laws don’t extend far enough to protect the transgendered.
“[L]aws recognizing same-sex marriage may do little to protect a transgender woman like Avendano-Hernandez from discrimination, police harassment, and violent attacks in daily life,” she said. She added that Mexican police sometimes target the transgendered for extortion and sexual favors, and said the country has an alarming number of unsolved murders of the transgendered.
The decision technically doesn’t spare Avendano-Hernandez from deportation, but it means his deportation will be delayed until he no longer faces a risk of being tortured.
While the decision only applies to Avendano-Hernandez, it could encourage more transgendered Mexicans to seek asylum in the U.S., as Nguyen’s description of torture in Mexico is quite general."
It seems to me that our government is not so concerned with protecting our U.S. Citizens and guaranteeing the rights of law abiding transgender citizens as they are trying to weaken the rights of American citizens across the board. 
It amazes and appalls me that our courts find that illegal aliens have the right to bear arms under the second amendment of the United States Constitution. Sanctuary Cities are allowing to illegal aliens to vote in their elections.

It seems to me that under the current government's interpretation of constitutional law, law abiding natural born citizens, including law abiding transgender citizens are not being afforded the Constitutional protections we are entitled to, while those whose rights have been suspended or removed due to criminal conviction, or because they are here because they entered the country illegally (which is in of itself a felony) are being afforded more protections and freedoms than the rest of us.

It really doesn't mean much to be a law abiding transgender American citizen, much less any American citizen anymore. Convicted felons who identify as transgender get better health care and more access to transgender health care up to and including sexual reassignment surgery. Anyone who claims they are transgender who are illegal aliens get asylum and get all kinds of access to social welfare programs and transgender healthcare no matter what crimes they commit, in addition to entering the country illegally.

Those of us who are natural U.S. citizens who go to our jobs and work every day and meet our daily obligations are pretty much short of luck in getting the health care we need. On top of that, to add injury to insult, we have to pay the government to take care of the people who have committed felonies and come here illegally. If we protest, then we are branded as racists and inhumane. We have to pay to provide transgender health care for convicted felons that we can't afford for ourselves. What a crock of junk this is for us to have to swallow. So yeah, I'm pretty disgusted at this point and to me it really does seem that being an American citizen doesn't mean much anymore. There's not much left to take pride in.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Whose Rights Matter Here?

I saw two news reports today involving two transwomen. In one case the question is raised about the rights of the individual vs. the rights of society, in this case, the rights of other teenage girls to be afforded a dressing room without a preoperative teenage transsexual girl sharing the locker room with them. The other case involves the rights of an adult transsexual woman to complete her transition by having gender reassignment surgery vs. her parents' desire to block her from having the surgery. In that case, a Pennsylvania judge has issued a stay preventing the woman from having her surgery until the case can be heard.

Because the transsexual girl is a minor, I have chosen to delete her name from the news report by the CBS news affiliate who did publish her name. I don't think publishing her name is the proper thing to do.

In the first case, the CBS affiliate in St. Louis, Missouri reports: " Over 150 Missouri high school students voiced their displeasure about a transgender teen using the girls’ locker room by walking out of class.
Students at Hillsboro High School staged a two-hour walkout Monday over 17-year-old  (the student), a student who has identified as a female since she was 13, using the girls’ locker room during gym class.
The school offered (the student) a gender-neutral bathroom, which she turned down. St. Louis attorney Timm Schowalter says, “All students have a right, under Title 9, to access the bathroom of their choice.”
Family members of high school students were also holding a protest.
“Boys need to have their own locker room. Girls need to have their own locker room, and if somebody has mixed feelings where they are, they need to have their own also,” protester Jeff Childs told KMOV. Childs was holding a “Girls Rights Matter” sign.
Tammy Sorden, whose son goes to Hillsboro High School, believes it’s not right to give (the student) special treatment “while the girls just have to suck it up.”
“The girls have rights, and they shouldn’t have to share a bathroom with a boy,” she told the Post-Dispatch."

As a preoperative transsexual myself, I find myself agreeing with the female students of the high school. I don't think they should have to share a locker room with a preoperative transsexual. That is an environment in which there is not the privacy afforded in a regular women's bathroom. This is an environment in which women are fully disrobed in front of each other and I do think it is important to be sensitive to their feelings about this situation. Personally, at this point in my own transition I think it would be terribly disrespectful to subject genetic women and postoperative transsexual women to my presence in the locker room. In the news report or in the protests by the high school students, I do not see any mention of the girls objecting to this preoperative transsexual girl sharing the regular restrooms. This indicates to me that this particular school's students and faculty are rather tolerant of the transsexual students presence in another intimate place, albeit not as intimate as a locker room. To me the transsexual student is being insensitive to the feelings of the very people she is trying to assimilate with. This is not the way to go about it, in my opinion.

In the second case, I will include the name of the transsexual woman because she is an adult.
The Associated Press reports " A transgender woman whose parents went to court Wednesday to block her gender-reassignment surgery in Pennsylvania said she would rather die on the operating table than continue living with male anatomy.
Christine Kitzler, 48, said during a break in the emergency hearing that the risk factors her father raised - including complications from her HIV and Hepatitis C diagnoses - were worth enduring to have her body match the gender she's identified with since growing up in suburban Cleveland, Ohio.
The surgery, temporarily halted earlier this week by a suburban Philadelphia judge as he considers a longer stay, would also save her from backsliding into alcohol and drug addiction, Kitzler said.
Her parents, Klaus and Ingrid Kitzler, contend Kitzler is not competent to make an informed decision to have the surgery because of depression and a childhood learning disorder, and want a temporary guardian named.
"I might die from this. But it's worth dying," Kitzler said. "I would rather die than live the way I was and return to my bad addictions, like alcohol, because I can't do it and I won't do it."
Kitzler's surgery had been scheduled for Tuesday in Pennsylvania, but Bucks County Judge C. Theodore Fritsch Jr. stopped it after her parents' lawyers filed for an injunction and asked for time for reflection before she goes through with what they called an irreversible surgery.
Testifying at the hearing, Klaus Kitzler underscored his concern for his daughter's health. He said he would accept her surgery if an independent psychiatrist deemed her fit to make the decision.
"I accept it, but I want to stop it," Kitzler told the judge. "I would love to have a son back who goes to church with us on Sunday mornings."
Christine Kitzler, who lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has already been through 16 months of pre-operative preparation, including a 24-hour fast before Tuesday's scheduled surgery, and has received clearances from mental health professionals that she is knowingly and willingly undergoing gender reassignment, her doctor said.
Her lawyer, Angela Giampolo, said she had never seen competency invoked to block a gender-reassignment surgery.
"This isn't a competency hearing. This isn't a guardianship hearing. It's a difference of opinion," the prominent Philadelphia gay-and-transgender-rights lawyer said.
Giampolo said Kitzler's parents are trying to prevent her from living an authentic life. They said they fear Klaus and Ingrid Kitzler want to bring her back to Ohio, win a court action there and permanently block the surgery.
"They have a daughter. They don't have a son," Kitzler said. "I'll have the parts. I am a woman." "

Ms. Kitzler is an adult and she has made a carefully informed decision that having gender reassignment surgery is necessary for her to have a quality of life that makes life itself worth living.
In my opinion, the arguments that she has suffered from depression, has a history of addiction and has a learning disorder are all specious arguments. And here is one reason why the WPATH standards of care exist. 
Let's take this point by point: 1. Ms. Kitzler is an adult and as an adult it is her right to pursue gender reassignment. 2. Show me a person who is transsexual and never suffered from depression to one degree or another. I don't believe there are enough of individuals who have not been depressed in people who are transsexual to be considered statistically significant. 2. Transsexual individuals experience higher rates of addiction and substance abuse than the general population. 3. Having a learning disability in no way impacts the decision to make a gender transition. 4. Having HIV and Hepatitis C infections does not necessarily preclude one from having surgical procedures. 5. None of the above factors generally diminish legal competency.
Because of the guidance of WPATH standards of care, Ms. Kitzler was screened by mental health professionals and found that her mental health and substance abuse issues at this time are not a barrier to treatment and that she is making a well informed and competent decision to pursue gender reassignment surgery. Her physicians have assessed her and found her to be a good surgical risk and are willing to perform the procedure. This should be the end of the story, but it isn't. Her father's sole reason for seeking the court's intervention is that " I just want to have a son who goes to church with us on Sunday mornings." 
If the truth be told, he never had a son, though I do believe he didn't know that for many years. Transsexuals become skilled at living a life and acting out a life that is not authentic. Wouldn't if be more loving and affirming if her father had said, "I'll be looking forward to having my daughter to go to church with us on Sunday morning." 
When this sad episode is over, I'm guessing he will neither have a son or a daughter. My guess is that Ms. Kitzler will never wish to speak to her parents again, or at least for so long a period of time that there will not be much time left in life for them to share. Really, how sad is that? What a terrible thing to happen.