I am one of 8 siblings from the loins of two beautiful people. My parents were as loving and supportive as they knew how to be. Times were different in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s America…much more than today. My elementary school, rural area (24-30 thousand pop.), was made up of a dying ‘Leave it to Beaver’ mentality that was quickly and forcibly experiencing social change. We moved to a larger city, in which I attended Jr. High, and High School. This was an upsetting awakening to the status quo. The influx of lives of so many different, wonderful souls…made up of different ethnicities, colors, and culture. The green grass of our known culture was being flooded with beautiful color…forever to change the landscape of our single cultural and social existence.
The Family Scruples
My oldest sister had started dating a handsome man, a talented man, involved in the sports community. There was only one ‘problem’, he was a black man. My fathers knowledge of this made him outraged, not only to realize his step-daughter was dating a black man, but was impregnated by him. His Archie Bunker mentality could not be quieted. I remember him slapping her across the room, in an outrage that she would be with a “N* word”. My mother was concerned, but not for his color, but for what society and family would think and the actions that would hurt my dear sister. My mom was a loving, protective mother that we all hope or know our mothers to be. Remember, this was just after the roll out of civil rights, and times were still testy. This was a very diverse experience for me and my family. Others in my family went on to date and marry others of color, African American, Latin, and Asian and Caucasian. A very beautiful and colorful and diverse family, indeed.
The introduction to ‘God’, and the Church world
The closest brother and I would dive into the music world, absorbing all we could during this awesome Music Revolution that was changing the face and diversifying the music world forever! All the boys in our family were gifted in music, as my boys are as well. It was a mainstay to a very upsetting time in our lives and continues to be to this very day. My brother and I were proselytized into a very evangelical religion, very strict in rules and regulations…but full of life and spirit! We made many friends in that selective sect, but it was the ‘family’ that I desperately craved for. My brother was fighting his own so called demons, which turned out to be his key to freedom…being gay. Then considered a deviant, he was finally able to start on the path of freedom and discovery that would not chain him to servitude to a death cult, known as religion…but I remained behind. I loved ‘god’, and fell in love with the whole idea of a ‘family of god’, one eternal, loving presence…enveloping us all. As my musical talents began to blossom, I quickly became the church pianist and organist. I enjoyed working with the song leader, pastor, throughout our services, which would last for hours! Everything from tongue talking, dancing in the spirit, prayer for healing, all night prayer meetings, foot washing’s, baptisms, and weekly door-to-door outreach. It was a full, exhausting life…but with a feeling of reward. It gave me a feeling of belonging that I had never experienced prior to that, but there is always a hitch to these illusions…you must remain and believe all the stories, revelations, and ramblings of a ‘man’ that is supposedly hearing from god. A good thing I thought, but it was as a thief stealing you blind while the years passed you by.
A middle aged woman and her 4 children had just started attending church one year, and she was the ‘fun’ lady of our youth group. I enjoyed her energy and her commitment to the youth, always supplying rides and help when needed to those that had none. She would take many of us to Church Youth Camp every summer in upper state NY. What wonderful times we had there! The choir and music was so fabulous!! It fed my love for music, especially gospel music. I grew up in the Motown era, and loved soulful gospel. I was learning all the rifts and chord progressions and LOVING it! It also was attractive to the girls. Soon, while helping the firstborn of this dear woman, I actually felt something for her. It was an attraction for sure. I wanted to protect her from a boy her age that was trying desperately to take advantage of her, and I would NOT have it! Soon, we started dating. She started in the church orchestra playing the accordion, and then moved onto organ. I enjoyed our musical time together…but hormones were raging and well, we decided to get married. We had a big wedding on the coldest day in February, so cold that when I tried to wand wash the car, the suds flowed only momentarily, and then froze in a formation that looked like a cooling lava flow. So Cold!!! Her mother made all the bridesmaids gowns, and we rented our tuxes. My gay brother was my best man, and he tried to talk me out of it the whole time we prepared for the wedding. He saw something brewing in me. Something that had been quieted by all the active religious lifestyle…quelled…longing to surface. We went on with the wedding, as planned and honeymooned in the Pocono Mountains. It was a beautiful time. I thought I was so in love. I was, as far as what I knew of love. We soon had 2 beautiful sons; I had already attended Bible College in Mississippi, as a Music Major and we were installed as Music Director in a church in Maryland. Our newborn daughter was only one, and the race was on in our new position. I was installed as the very first paid Music Director in the Mid-Atlantic district. It was a first, but not the last of my ‘firsts’ by any means.
As time went on, my desires for the same sex came back, as it had been continually quieted through prayer and ignoring my desire as this would surely ruin any hope of a long term career in the church I so loved and gave my whole life for. My quiet times were filled with the thoughts of times earlier in my life when I would sneak into my mother’s room and into her clothes, dressing as pretty as I could, sliding into heels and letting my emotions fly! Those times were so real, so fulfilling, but oh so wrong, as I would be shamed beyond embarrassment. My times then as an adult, would find me on off days, shopping in the stores to buy once again, those feminine garments that let my feminine mind go free. I felt so beautiful, but had to hide it all. As time went on, I found myself going through the personals in the local paper where I found men actually advertising for other men…and wow, I never thought it possible, especially for me. I responded to an ad by calling the gentleman up (you were allowed to put your number in a personal ad back then) and we started seeing each other during my third shift hours of work. He never knew of my feminine desires or dress, I just wanted the touch of a man so badly, to be held, to be loved. I do not play games well, as I’m very transparent when something is wrong and soon my wife started to wonder. She even noticed that some of her undergarments were ‘stretched’ out, to which I quickly denied anything to do with that! It was a scary time. I time of terrible uncertainty. Could I continue the ruse? The real question was, “Do I WANT to continue the ruse any longer?” I prayed and prayed and no, god did not answer. No one came to aid my aching heart, knowing that my family was about to be broken up for just answering the call of reality in my life. I decided it was for the best of all of us, to answer that call…so I did.
The Gay Years
I left my family and moved in with my boyfriend, who had a gorgeous 6000 sq. ft. mansion and I began to understand the gay term “Fabulous”! It was all new, all beautiful, for the time being. I had a man in my life and we were a very passionate couple. We were viewed as gay men, but unbeknownst to him, his woman. I thought that being gay would allow me to spread my wings and it did, but only sexually. You see, sexual orientation is just that, it’s who you want to wake up in the morning ‘with’. I would come to have two other long term relationships with men that I loved, still hiding every bit of the ‘woman’ that was inside me. I gained many friends, friends who I could never see me without. I’ve traveled more that I could have ever wished for in my “old” life, expanding my mind and experiences in ways I would or could never, being tied to a church pew. I experienced various cultures, different peoples, various cities around the U.S. and the world. I could nor would, ever be the same. I began to slow down, quiet my mind, and get to really know more about ‘me’. I was a big man, muscular, masculine, and was a great chameleon…a master at ‘fitting in’. I was a body builder, tall and strong, but hid the woman deep inside…knowing there would probably be no hope of letting her out, only occasionally…when no one was around. Although I had many friends, I still felt out of step with my gay peers, I was beginning to wake up to my reality, the reality of being truly ‘me’. I began to YouTube various MTF (male to female) videos, to learn more about this “trans-ness” or transgender facts, and I was on my way! My kids were all grown, and I was on my own and I was finally entertaining that lady inside once more. It was time to get professional help as to what it was I had been dealing with all my life. I could remember back to 9 or 10 years old, these very specific feelings of being a girl, and how I’ve always thought as a girl, wanted to be with the girls, etc.. It was time to make official, what I had always known inside…I am a transgender person.
Coming Out – take two
Having came out as a gay man 18 years earlier, I thought this one would be a breeze…not quite. Coming out as transgender upsets the very foundation that you have laid, and the person you’ve always been known as. The choice to transition to the correct gender for me (woman) would not only be difficult, but monumental! You are not the only one who has to transition. You affect all of your friends and loved ones, forcing them to ‘transition’ with you. Their understanding of who you are and your need to do this is an ongoing experience of enlightenment and education. I came out to my boyfriend first, and he was and is incredibly supportive, although many changes have occurred. My mother and family were extremely supportive and loving. My children have all but written me off, and I’m hoping with time, things will progress. This path I have chosen to take (transition), would lead me down a path where some friends and loved would not follow. There has been loss, but there has been much gain! I have a ‘glow’ about me now that I have never had. When coming out to friends in my femme dress and demeanor, they were all supportive and noticed a ‘glow’ that I had never had in my life! I am finally who I have always been, now unwrapped and enjoying a life I never thought possible!
In conclusion, I have no doubt I have “been around the world” both logistically and socially. From a supposed ‘boy’ at birth, to a socially acceptable heterosexual lifestyle, to a gay (homosexual) lifestyle, to finally blossoming into the beauty of a transsexual woman, my full being…a potential I am now just beginning to realize!
“To Thine Own Self Be True”