Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Transition - One Year down and a Lifetime to go . . .

My dear readers:

It has been a little more than a year since I stood up in front of my Westminster Choir College classmates at our 40th reunion, and stated: "Well, there have been a few changes..."

Little did I realise at that time that the changes were only beginning...

First of all, for those of you who are new to these ramblings, transition is not a matter of what clothing one wears, or how one walks and talks, or even of what's been added or subtracted...

It is more a change in one's thinking, for women and men are not just from different planets, they are from different universes. It is a change in how one best reflects one's soul.

One woman who went through mid-life transition and lived to tell her tale likened it to a tornado. One day, without warning (even if you have been thinking about it for years), you wake up with sirens screaming in your head. This is The Day. You are ready for it.

Or so you think...

And then your whole world collapses as the Transition Twister tears apart your life, everything you have held dear for 30, 40, 50 years, and deposits it in itsy-bitsy little pieces in your front yard. Your friends desert you. Your enemies spread evil stories about you. You may lose your job, and you certainly lose may of your civil Rights. If you are especially unfortunate, you lose your family.

But wait! While you are surveying the aftermath, you notice that something is changed. Something is different in a big way. The air is now still, but breathtakingly fresh. It is clean and crystalline, as God intended it to be. What has happened?

For once in your life, in a way not granted to many people, you are at a point where you can start over totally free of other people's notions. You can remake yourself as you would have yourself be, not as someone else demands. It is an awesome prospect, with even more awesome responsibilities; for as of this day, you are become the only one responsible. You can't blame your kid brother, or Aunt Sally, or mean old Cousin Saunders. You can't say anymore "But that's what my parents taught me."

That day is your re-birth day and the first day of your new life, and you have to make the best of it because once you take that fateful step out the front door, you cannot ever go back.

I have had many bad experiences within this year, but the good experiences outweigh them. Let me tell you about just a few of them. Naturally, no names are divulged, as that won't do anyone any good


- There is the church I have served for more than 30 years. When I told the Music Director, he said "I don't know about this. How on earth am I going to explain to my 85 year old Life Deacon that our organbuilder is now she instead of he?" Whatever he told the man must have worked, as I am still on board there.

- There is the church I served for 20 years. When told of my transition by the Music Director, the Rector, I am told, said: "It's time we had a new organ technician. Do it immediately." End of story.

- There is the man with whom I had been personal friends for more than 10 years who, when I told him, said "Well, you can't come here any longer. What will the neighbors think if I start entertaining a woman in the afternoons while my wife is at work?"

- There is the church where the Senior Minister advised me that a woman on the office staff complained about my using the Ladies Room. She wanted me to use the Men's Room "where I belonged..." Sez me: "And what if her husband and I happen to exit the Men's Room at about the same time?" She hasn't complained again...

- Then there is the client who, after receiving my Transition Letter, invited me into his office and fired me on the spot. And then he laughed and said that by my announcement of transgender status I am no longer eligible for protection against discrimination under Federal Statutes and he is going to take the opportunity to get rid of me.

And yes, he can legally do that. Illegal aliens have more legal protections against discrimination than I do. { an inclusive ENDA}

- And there is the minister who used to be my client who won't even reply to my request to become a friend on Facebook.

I have learned now that the key phrase coming from a man, especially over the phone, is "I'll have to think about this..." And you KNOW that the second after he puts the phone down all thought of the matter had passed into oblivion, never to be raised up again.

- There is the ladyfriend who, after being told over an afternoon glass of Chardonnay, gave me a big hug, and said "This calls for champagne..."

- And then there is the Organist with whom I had worked for more than 10 years who now looks straight through me when I explain a technical problem and each time says "I will have to get a second opinion." As if I had suddenly become less than competent... And I am not even a blond...

- And furthermore, there is the man I have known for a while whose eyes keep straying downward to my chest while we are talking, He never used to do that before... Oh, and, by the way, the answer is "Yes."

- And there was the female TSA agent at the airport who looked at my boarding pass, then at my driver's license (with its photo of me with my very long hair and its big, annoying "M"), then at the boarding pass and again at the license...handed them back to me, said thank you, MA'AM and gave me a big thumbs-up.


Each day has been a challenge. Each day has been an opportunity to discover the great richness of diversity in and on God's Earth. Each day has offered unimaginable blessings along with seemingly insurmountable challenges.

They say that when you transition, you find out who your true friends really are. I have many fine friends, and thank God each day for them. I hope that when the time comes, I can support them as freely and as well as they have supported me.

Where do I go from here?

Well, writing more in my blog for one. Composing more music for two. And taking more time to be with my friends.

There is one special lady who always has a tag line at the bottom of her emails, my favorite of which is:

"If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it"

I look forward to whatever God brings me to in this next year, knowing that I will be cared for by God and my friends.




  1. I suppose there will always be people who can't accept some segment of the population. I wish you didn't have to go thru this. Of course living in Charleston, the unHoly City where so-called Anglicans are Baptists in drag doesn't help at all. {{{Olivia}}}