My soul is dancing – I have had this crazy idea my entire life that I could have a love that is committed, stable, supportive, a SAFE space to come home to and to grow in together, set and work on goals together, real open communication, be able to be true to self, and have respect and yet have adventure, abandon, spontaneity, wild passion, freedom, playfulness, and the freedom of exploration. Most people seem to feel you get one or the other of the sides of this coin in relationships and it is certainly RARE to find a model of this that is successful in the world.
Those of us who are on the fringe of society because we are different, face even more challenges then the average person to find fulfilling healthy relationships. In fact, when I officially announced that I was going to medically transition I had a dear friend who is very open minded say to me, ” Now that is going to make it difficult for you to date.” As a person who had ridden a roller coaster in the dating world partly due to figuring out who I am inside and how to navigate that in this society safely and communicate it, this statement from my friend stopped me in my tracks and made me think. My motivation to transition of course had nothing to do with dating or thinking about dating, it only had to do with being true to myself. But my friends statement did make me wonder how would people view me? Would they view me as even more of a freak? Would there be anyone who understood and or got me? I did not have the answers to any of these questions and went forward anyway because I was at a point where I could no longer live my life as if I was playing the part in a movie, or wearing a Halloween costume year around to make others feel more comfortable. I could no longer live a lie. I am happy to say that since transition the opposite has been true, I have had even more people want to date me, which surprised me. I asked my partner why she thought this was so, and her response was ” that when a person is authentic and true to themselves, that is attractive and rare.”
I have struggled with traditional models of things from an early age from gender roles to relationship models. I always questioned what society feeds us as the way or the right way to be or have a relationship, although I did try to make parts of their way work for much of my life and failed miserably. The models of monogamy and marriage we grow up with in society are usually accompanied with shame and guilt. If it is not done in the way the majority do it in our society even though that way has not been very successful for most we shame people as a society. I have always said as a business person if marriage is my product and it is brought back to me because it did not work more then fifty percent of the time, I would be out of business! Why do we keep using this model? It makes me think of the Einstein quote “The true definition of insanity is, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” Yet I have to recognize that there are defiantly some things about the concept of marriage that are attractive to me.
- Having a strong home base
- Knowing you have a safe space
- Taking care of one another
- Knowing someone that well
- Creating a healthy sense of family
- Someone you can count on
The parts that I want nothing to do with are
- Feeling boxed in – lack of freedom
- Guilt if it does not work out – or if you are attracted to anyone else
- Expectations to fit a societal mold
- Gender role expectations within traditional relationships
- Weight of the concept that I had to be that persons everything and they had to be mine, FOREVER
- The things above created the feeling for me and does for many that I have talked with about this feeling that I could not be honest about my feelings and desires (coming from the south did not help with this, where few talk about anything REAL)
I have examined this and been able to look at the fact that there are some things I would like to take from that concept and create in a relationship. Part of the freeing beauty I have discovered now is that I and my partner or partners have the liberating ability to CREATE how our relationship works best for us. WOW! Why don’t they tell you this as a young person. I don’t have to do it the way mom and dad or my grandparents did, or the way the majority does it. I can breathe, create, experiment, and explore what works with my partner/partners. There is no wrong or right way, there is the way that works for us. I discovered that a polyamorous style of relationships works best for me and there are even different models of poly. Some people seem to think being poly means free sex with many, these are the same folks who think that all that gay men do is have sex. If that were only true, laughing. Poly to most in the poly community, is having more then one committed relationship with open communication with all involved. This is not easy, this requires great communication skills and communication times two or three or whatever. Then in the poly world there are primary and secondary relationships, triads and sometimes just now and then play partners. This maybe something that works for you or not, that is not the point.
The point of all of this is to examine how what we are doing is serving us. I ask many people when it comes to tradition or rituals, “why do you do that.” Most reply, “because my family did it that way or my church, I don’t know.” My next question is, “how is that serving you now?” The same can be asked in the style of relationships we have or the way we negotiate or navigate our relationships. Is using the model you are using serving you or could you create something more fitting for you and your partner or partners. I have questioned myself this way about everything I thought I knew about relationships and sex to come to this place of discovery of what works for me. My life’s work now is to create safe space for all to be true to self and this is another area that many are not living true to themselves in for a variety of reasons and the reasons really don’t matter. What matters is finding a way to get to a place that we can be true to self.
The beauty, fun and freedom to start from scratch and create what actually works for you is amazing and enlightening. Most of us have never felt that we have the right to create our own, few people are told they can or it is ok to create your own. I am here to tell you it is OK, you have the right. Here are the guidelines that my partner and I have developed for our relationship that work for us.
- Always consider one another in all we do
- Be respectful of one another and of all involved
- Remember real authentic love fosters growth – (change is not threatening)
- Always give one another a safe space to be and grow and come back to
- Communicate/communicate/communicate with love and compassion
My desire as I said is for all to have the safe space to be true to self and to live in love and happiness. I believe I had to walk the road of learning to be true to myself personally before I could have a healthy relationship with anyone else. Then and only then have I been able to examine what is being true to myself in a relationship and am now able to come from a place of authenticity that changes everything. I am so sorry for past relationships that I failed in because I was not at a place of authenticity within, because no matter how hard I tried to make those relationships work or my partners did there is no way to have open communication with someone else when one is not authentic with themselves or is living a lie. If you and I are authentic and real with ourselves then we navigate the entire world including relationships in an entirely different way. It is liberating and allows us to walk through the world with an new openness and willingness to be vulnerable. Being authentic with oneself is constant work, but choosing that path is ultimately releasing.
Now go Create what serves you! Find a way to “BE TRUE TO SELF”
This is a published article – follow the link to read
Body Diversity & the “magic letter” – the importance of being true to self my latest article in Seattle Gay News – follow the link to the story
Here is my recent article published in Seattle Gay News about self – defense – informative tips in this article as well as some of my personal story
Follow this link to the article “Trans Ninja” that I wrote for Seattle Gay News
Warning:this blog talks about both taboo subjects of religion and politics.
Define Queer: Queer is an umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities  that are not heterosexual, heteronormative, or gender-binary. In the context of Western identity politicsthe term also acts as a label setting queer-identifying people apart from discourse, ideologies, and lifestylesthat typify mainstreamLGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual) communities as being oppressive or assimilationist. Since its emergence in the English language in the 16th century (related to the German quer, meaning “across, at right angle, diagonally or transverse”), queer has generally meant “strange”, “unusual”, or “out of alignment”.
I recently had an interesting experience. One of my girlfriends mother’s friend saw her and I post a few things on Facebook and then she looked at my profile and found out I am Transgendered. I have never met this woman and she rarely sees my girlfriend and yet she called my girlfriend’s mother and told her she could not be friends on Facebook with her anymore because her daughter was dating a transgendered person and she didn’t want her grandchildren to be exposed to such things. Wow, of course I felt bad for my girlfriend’s mother, this was a long time friend. Her mom and dad’s response was “well he is good man and my daughter is happy so if you feel that way then ‘fuck you'”. They were very supportive, yet it made me think a lot about where does this kind of discrimination come from? What makes people be that judgmental toward a person they have never even met. The only conclusion I could come to is the fear of the other. The fear of things we don’t understand and that are different then us. That fear is so great in many people that they are willing to give up a long friendship. Some people even believe this is what “God” would want them to do.
The fear of the other, or something different then us, causes separation and hurt in our world. It amazes me how afraid people can be of something that they don’t understand. Things that are different then us are not a threat; they can color our world and make it much more interesting if we can only get over the fear. Those of us that live out on the fringe or the edge, while being true to our inner selves, run the risk of causing said fear because we don’t fit into the “Norm”. This fear sometimes manifests itself in discrimination. Discrimination comes in many forms; the blatant in your face discrimination, the more subtle discrimination, and the discrimination that is an undercurrent in our environment, our society and region, tribe and so on. The undercurrent runs deep in our world.
Here are some examples of those undercurrent messages our society and those who have power exhibit and which we all have to live with or overcome;
- Heterosexual relationships are what’s expected and natural
- White skinned people are smarter and safer and better
- There are two distinct gender roles and you better fit into one
- Women are second-class to men
- If you don’t have or want to have children something is wrong with you
- People who are overweight are lazy
- If a woman is assertive she is a bitch
- People of color are lazy and feel entitled
- Women are fragile, men are tough
- If women are sexual they are sluts; if men are sexual they are studs
- All gay men have sex all the time with many different people
- If you are not Christian you are not a real American
- Girls cannot be physically strong (girl push ups & so on)
- Lighter skinned people of color are better then the darker skinned ones
- If you are a smart woman you are not desirable
- Immigrants are ruining America, stealing our jobs and they should all come here speaking English
- Academics and having a mainstream job, or buying into capitalism is more important then following ones heart
- Men who cry or show emotion are either weak or gay
These messages affect us all even if we are not consciously aware of it. When we realize that these messages are fed to us by society as a form of control through shame we can then choose to keep them or let go of them. We can ask ourselves, do they serve us? If so, how? If not, what affect has this message had on my life? Do I want to be apart of passing this message on? These messages are so ingrained in our society that people make judgements about people they don’t even know and never give people a chance to prove otherwise. Every person is a beautiful soul with strengths and weaknesses and what their strengths and weaknesses are varies with each person”s perspective. Regardless, we all have both strengths and weaknesses, this is why I think the great teacher Jesus said “you who is without fault cast the first stone.” Therefore, even if you really believe who someone is or what they are doing in their life is morally wrong, as fellow humans our job is only to love them and be kind — not to judge. ” All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness the important thing is that they should be a part of our daily lives.” Dalai Lama
I always say there are only five things in life that I know for sure and those are;
- Life, the universe and we as people are all in a constant state of flux and change
- Anyone who says they have it all figured out – makes my bullshit meter go off
- There is always more then one path
- It is never my place to judge another’s path
- Loving each other, forgiving and being kind are the most important things we can do
I have learned that the old statement “the older you get the more you realize you don’t know” is so true. Most things I thought I knew when I was younger I laugh at now.
I believe it is our responsibility as adults to examine what we have been fed by our families, our churches or synagogues, society, school, and friends and decide for ourselves if these are the best messages to serve us now. Are those messages what we want to aid us in living the way we choose, not the way someone else thinks we should, or said we should. Our path is our own and the path of our parents, families, church, or society may not be suited for our own journey. I am certainly not saying that we cannot learn good things from all of those people and places, my point is that I don’t find it’s best to just blindly follow. I examine what message I as an individual want to put out to others? How do I want to treat others and be treated? When I feel a judgement come forward I ask myself, where does this come from and does it serve me or my life?
“Be Kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Dalai Lama
It is our responsiblity to create a more loving, accepting world. One way we can start doing that is simply to be kind to people even when we don’t understand them or they are different from us. What an amazing change there would be in the world if everyone just did this one thing. My wish is that one day having an open mind and open heart will be a societal norm.
I am curious what your thoughts are on these two questions;
Do I think the world needs more judgement or less? Is there any love represented in judgement?
Buddha said “Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”
“When did you start transition?” The most commonly asked question and misunderstanding