Life is a Journey - Make sure you get the right roadmap to the universe

I'm quite sure I picked up the wrong one on my way out the door....

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Stereotyping of Transgender Women Continues

There's still a lot wrong with our greater society when transgender women are viewed as having been "men".

Watch this video and then read on.

As friend of mine pointed out, the woman in the stripes was in disbelief of these beautiful women (as she stated), that they "were" at one time "guys". The problem here is that the general public still views trans women as having "changed" their identity.....that they were once guys and now they are women. Sorry, it doesn't work like that. Transgender women were always women but the ideology is lost because it's not "graspable" tangibly by the greater masses of our cis-gender population. Those who are not able to experience first hand what it is to be transgender can not understand the gravity of the error being made when they say that a transgender woman "was a guy". For most if not all, transition was just a changing of the outer packaging. The "guy" everyone saw was just an actor in a theatre of their own life.

Second point. Although a television show such as this has the capability to bring about yet another immersive experience into the lives of transgender individuals, it also could be utilizing media standards to promulgate stereotypes of transgender women who do not represent our mainstream population. Of course our mainstream population of transgender women would make for a very, very dull show because the majority of transgender women are NOT supermodels and do NOT vie for attention in any way more than any other cis-woman would. In other words, the average transgender woman is just a woman and being just ordinary is not fodder for a network television show.

To the credit of Whoopi Goldberg, and this is what I took from the segment, she did provide a heartfelt dialog to the audience to show that she really is a person that seems to be on our side, that is making a wonderful attempt at trying to understand us as an ally would!

In summation..... if it is the intent of the media to create television programming that is focused on the transgender community, they why not have programming that lauds transgender women who have contributed in their accomplishments to society?

Short segments focusing on the achievements of transgender women as professionals in our society could be an interesting premise to a series that would aim to relate accomplishments rather than exhibitionism. The viewers would see that we are scientists, engineers, writers, pilots, astronomers, physicists and a plethora of other occupations. They would see that we are achievers and see the contributions of our work in our modern society. Wouldn't that be a show to behold, and perhaps......just perhaps, it might inspire another generation of individuals, trans or not, to spark the same sort of fire in their own lives. Think about it.

Friday, May 20, 2016

On the Eve of a Birthday

In a few short hours, I will have completed a journey of life that has taken me 51 times around our nearest star. Although we as humans mark this journey at the visceral level by the delimiter of time, it is much more a celebration of life itself and all it entails. For me it has been: 
51 years of sunrises and joys and 51 years of sunsets and sadness; of those who have walked into my life and of those who are no longer with me on this world, relegated now to the cavernous vaults of my memories. 51 years of learning and discovering; with each year bringing more understanding and at the same time, an even greater realization of what is yet to be understood.
51 years of friendships made. 51 Years of people who have walked with me in my life. Some have walked but a mile and many have marched miles more; yet each person who has walked with me has imparted me with gifts that shall ever be a part of my being.
But what of this past year? What is it that I am thankful for since the last 20th of May? This has been for me, an amazing year of discovery, of change and accomplishments. I have reached farther than I ever have in this past year and found that I was supported by those around me, buoyed up by their belief in me and bolstered in my strength through theirs in me. The admonitions I oft held for myself melted into oblivion through what love and support I have found
This has been the year that has further solidified my sense of self, of being. Understanding and accepting that I have always been a woman at heart and a woman in my soul has manifested and blossomed physically, spiritually and sensually through those around me. I have had the privilege to begin to feel as the woman I am, in ways I had only conjectured I might feel in years past. The feelings are amazing and indescribable in their intangibility yet they are such a core to myself as I truly am as a woman. 
I have been blessed to find myself in the company of those who bring spark to my life in ways where the fires of my adventurous soul had, in recent years, diminished and dwindled to but glowing embers of hope. I held onto that hope such that I might regain that spirit and to begin adventures anew. A nomad I am at heart, but relegated to the mundane I have been, taking care of business which had to be taken care of; taking care of people who needed my presence in lieu of emptiness in their own lives as they struggled in my family to struggle in their own lives this past year. I am feeling hopeful that the ensuing year will bring new adventures with special people in my life this year who hold similar vision.
The coming year shall bring many changes as my journey starts to accelerate forward. I have held back on the brakes of a roaring engine for far too long now. It is time to let go and to experience all that life has to offer me as a woman. Who will be on this journey with me? My arms remain outstretched and open to accept all into my life who wish to share it....because life without sharing is but simply self existence. Be with me, if you wish to walk the most unique of paths, as I share what amazing discoveries are found in the year ahead. My life is better because of you; you who walk with me; you who are part of what makes my birthday very happy.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Christen's Testimony: The Story of My Life

The following is a presentation I gave at our local Baptist Church on Tuesday, May 10, 2016.  This was read to our church community group which meets regularly together.  It was emotionally moving to some and informative to all.  Where ignorance is removed and replaced with knowledge, hatred can not so easily take root.  Special Thanks to Kelly Lepley, an extraordinary woman who graciously provided some inspirational passages which became part of this presentation.  -Enjoy


I’ve had the opportunity to stand before the entire house of representatives at our State House.  I’ve stood up before 350 students and faculty to speak and to share.  I’ve had WMUR and WBIN television stand before me with cameras rolling as I shared with them.  But in all honesty, these were trivial in comparison to what I feel in sharing this with you all tonight.  Perhaps it is my fear of the one thing happening, that thing we are asked by God not to do, and that is to judge others.  It has taken me many decades of my life to come to where I sit before you here this evening.  It has taken me as many decades to finally feel at peace and to finally, and for the first time in my life, feel happiness and joy in simply being able to live life truthfully to my own sense of self.

I am about to present you with something that has been with me for an entire lifetime. This is not something that has only come up recently. From the time I was a pre-school child until this very day what I will tell you about now has been present for me and has overshadowed every single moment of my life.

As I look backward at the various stages and days of my life until now; I see a life lived with more guilt and depression than most could possibly imagine. I blamed myself, not knowing the true reasons that caused this to occur.
So, to begin at the beginning…

Arriving here at this point in my life has not been easy.  I knew from my earliest memories as a small child that I felt different from others.  I didn’t have the words back then to relate the difference, nor could I see that how I felt that I saw myself was very different from about age 4 and 5.

I would often be complemented by strangers as being a cute little girl.  It was my head of curly hair that my mother rather liked about me that caused the confusion.

Growing up, I always felt more comfortable in socializing with the little girls in school.  I found their manner of play and of conversation on par with my own.  We were able to talk about all the things that girls like to talk to about and we were able to connect on a very social level and in play in a way that boys could and generally did not. 

None of what I am saying would seem to be a problem except for the fact that I was born, at least from what was known medically in the mid 1960’s, as a boy.

I would quietly lie in bed at night hoping that when I woke up, I would discover that everything had been corrected. I prayed for hours, asking God to fix what was broken.   When that never happened, I asked God why he had done this to me and asked him to take my life in the night so that I would not have to deal with this any longer.  I did not want to disappoint my parents and those around me and so, upon waking each day, I did what I was expected to do and tried to become what I was expected to become.

My feelings were not quantifiable and I argued with myself for years and years that they were therefore illogical and tried to dismiss them Later, in my twenties, that same frustration of trying to live my life to the expectations of others and the fear of shame in letting anyone know of how I fully felt inside for fear of their disapproval and disappointment led me nearly to take my own life in two separate suicide attempts.  I resolved to try again and continue my life forward.

I did my best to be a good actor! I did as many male things as I could over the remaining years. I participated in a few sports but found that I was happiest in such endeavors as hiking and sailing and loathed any male team sports.  I found solace in individual activities which removed me from any gender specific environment and from people.  Such pastimes as camping and hiking allowed me solace and a chance to be at one and alone in the woods, with just myself and God around me as I summitted mountains and paddled my kayak in pristine and quiet lakes in solitude alone.

From the outside looking in, I suspect one would have thought I lived the good life. In many ways I did. However, in many others, this was not the case. They say, never judge a book by its cover. Well, in my case, everyone was just seeing the cover. Inside was something much different. No one knew the internal struggle, nor the pain I have lived with most of my life, including my own family. Deep inside, I was hurting but could not tell anyone out of fear of rejection.

Growing up, I recall many trips to the doctors office and to urologists.  I was young at the time and didn’t understand many of the tests that were being performed on me.  It wasn’t until I got into high school and the whole locker room situation that I began to realize that I was just not built physically like any of the other boys and so I was made fun of.  I avoided such places after that, too embarrassed to say anything to anyone and often suffered being bullied by other kids.  On one occasion, I was carried off by a goodly number of the football team and tied up with hockey tape to a light post on Memorial Drive along the Charles River in Cambridge, MA and left there.  Eventually, and after some considerable time, a passing motorist kindly stopped in busy traffic to free me from my entrapment.

I suffer from what is called Gender Dysphoria, and the title ascribed to me is a transsexual. It means that I am one of those people that you might hear say “I am a woman trapped in the body of a man”.  Well, Let me just say that I was never a woman trapped in a man’s body.  That is absolute nonsense to me.  This is the body that God gave me, odd as it is not being fully male or fully female.   I would hope that you would disconnect me from those grotesque caricatures we all too often see on shows like Jerry Springer and the like. They represent an extreme fringe and only serve to create an incorrect view of the nature of this problem. The symptoms of Gender Dysphoria  exists, by known statistics, in about 1% of the population.

About five years ago, at age 45, I had a nervous breakdown and a complete collapse.

I spent a considerable amount of time studying “Gender Dysphoria,” seeking answers to what I was living with. Endocrinologists, medical doctors and psychologists and other experts in these fields who gave me insight as to why I was suffering. In short, I was told this was biological in nature, and nothing could be done to change it.  The results all point to a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.  There was clear evidence that I exhibited medicially all the signs and symptoms of a diagnosis that was most definitely, “transsexual”.

It was not until within the past few years that I learned from my sister that my mother had taken a drug known as DES before and during her pregnancy with me.  I had read many stories and seen much correlative evidence of developmental issues prenataly in boys when mothers took this drug.  As it was a concentrated form of estrogen, it, for me, had profound effects on both physical development of the body and mental development of the brain and it’s measurable effects helped solidify the variance I had felt internally all my life and had fought for years inside.

Popular belief outside of the medical community holds that people with “Gender Dysphoria” are “Gender Confused.” This is far from the truth. No one would choose to undergo a drastic change, being “Confused.” We are born with it and is inherent with us from our earliest recollection.

Within weeks of beginning hormone treatments, the anxiety I lived with most of my adult life began to fade. Never before, had I felt such comfort. The feeling of dysphoria was no longer there. The war going on inside my brain was subsiding to the point of tranquility. No amount of therapy, suppression or mind altering games, was able to provide such a relief.  This had been the only thing that did give me relief.

Being transgender has absolutely nothing to do with being gay or lesbian or anything sexual.  It is not about sex or having sex.  It is all about identity; who I am inside and how I relate to the world around me and how the world around me relates to me in return.  It is not pleasurable or fun.  It is likely one of the most difficult struggles one can face in a world that is only today, just beginning to understand.

I would like to share with you,  Paul's admonition in Galatians 5.  In reading it, none of my circumstances fit anywhere on the scale of what is right or wrong. My realization of self does not equate to sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, envy, drunkenness, or orgies.

If anything, as a result of seeking my true self, I am all about the manifestations of the spirit that Paul lists. As a reminder they were; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

The more I strive to understand this world through the study of the sciences, the more I am amazed at the diversity of God’s work.   I look up at the stars at night, realizing that although they are all moving away from each other through space at great speeds, and, realizing that they all emanated from a point of creation so many years ago….. I realize in that moment that science can not explain the vastness of the entirety of God’s plan.  Scientists agree that our universe began from a single point of matter that exploded with great force but it cannot explain how that single point of matter came to existence.  It can not explain how something became from nothing.  Science does not deny the existence of God.  If anything, it helps us understand the magnificence of God and that we are, even with our greatest minds and greatest scientific instruments, to be able to only scratch the surface and to see behind the curtain only so far.  It leaves us, and me, with greater respect for His work and creation.

Similarly, as science breaks into the study of humans in being able to look at how we are made up by our DNA and our Chromosomes, it has become known to those who strive to understand, that we are more complex as humans than could have been ever imagined.  Our DNA and our Chromosomes tell a story that paints us as children of God in the greatest pallet of colors imaginable.  Our genetics tell a story that helps us and me to understand that I am not a mistake but a child created, as each of us are, as God intended.  I take what makes me different and, rather than hiding from the world in shame, come forth proudly as a person who perhaps received what I now consider as a gift….a gift to see into two worlds, of man and of woman, and to realize that we are all much more than the shell of the body we occupy.  I realize that the diversity inherent in my creation can only define a God who brings a plethora of colors to a world that would have none without Him.

Last week, I was honored at Plymouth State University to accept an award at the graduation ceremony for the work I have done to legislate before the Plymouth Selectboard, that all people have self worth and do not deserve to be ostracized or discriminated against within the town of Plymouth.  I have the honor of being invited to dine with the president of the university tomorrow night as a celebration of the work I have done to create a more inclusive town that discriminates against no one, including those who are transgender.  I never expected or wanted such an honor.  I simply felt in my heart of hearts that we are all children of God and that no person should feel shunned.  Jesus accepted and loved everyone, even the sinners…..and we are all sinners in some fashion.  It was my calling in life to take what unique gifts had been bestowed upon me at my birth to help others who might find themselves being repressed in our communities simply for who they are, much as Mary Magdalen, who was set to be stoned publicly for her actions. 

I have seen one too many friends “stoned” for their attempts to live their lives truthfully to themselves simply because they were called outcasts for so doing.  Jobs, friends and families lost, many in isolation and reduced to poverty and many, many people, some who I have known personally and called friends, taking their own lives in suicides.  The statistics show that over 40% of those who are transgender will attempt suicide, the highest percentage of any group.  I myself would not be sitting here to speak with you today had I not sought out professional medical help to understand the how’s and why’s of the way I was born and to take steps to live life truthfully to my own sense of self.  I came frighteningly close to feeling ashamed and worthless as a human being, not worthy to be a part of this world.

I believe in love and I believe there is much more to our lives than our limited minds can comprehend.  But the one thing I do know is that the path towards God can not be achieved without accepting Jesus Christ in our lives and that we must live our lives with an open heart, an open mind and with love that extends without exception for all.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Time has Arrived

The path to glory is paved in humility.
The path to enlightenment is strewn with obstacles we must overcome.
The path to truth is in accepting first that we have lied.
The path ahead to me is clear.

That path that had been ever shrouded in swirling mists and endless fog.....
That fog has cleared and the light shines from beyond, striking my eyes with such lucid clarity of presence, with such brilliance, that it is without doubt where the path I take beckons if I stay the course of truth.

The story of my life is one which, like everyone's, started the moment I was born.  For some, like myself, the journey was one that I forced to fit the mold that everyone else set forth for me to fill.  Truth be told, I did this for so many many decades. 

To live one's life as others would see and wish you to is to suffocate in a sea of expectations and an ocean of despair and depression.

My sojourn in life has taken me on a path unlike one I would ever have expected.  The paths I have found myself on were thrust upon me by realizations and acceptances of things which forever, in my life existed, but which I ignored and locked away within the recesses of my mind.  I did this in exchange to adopt a life which was not mine.  I did this to live a life for the benefit of everyone else.  I lied.

I find myself at the crossroads to yet another divergence in the paths and choices I will make.  These choices are less choices than they are simply the actualization in deed of what has been manifesting and occurring in my life, and the conscious choice to not shun or shy away from that which has been shown to me, and that which I have felt as being truly and deeply core to my inner sense of being and of self.

The path ahead to me is clear.  If it had ever been shrouded in swirling mists and fog, they have cleared and the light shines from beyond, striking my eyes with such lucid clarity of presence that it is without doubt where I must go.

My love for those who have shared my life continues.  The person who I have shared 23 years of my life is now my sister.  I have come to let myself go and to realize that my true inner sense of self is as I am today as a woman.  Those who would meet me as I am today would testify, after coming to know me, in no other way.  Those who might not are but relics from a time when I allowed for others to rule my identity and my life.  My life is my own.  It is not anyone elses.  It is not a bargaining chip and I will not be held victim or hostage to the tyrannies which I realize others might inflict upon me for my baring the truth of my inner soul and self.

I have come to allow myself the freedom in life to understand that my identity, my attractions and my love is as a woman.  I am, as a woman, attracted to the character and the nature of things different from the core of my personality, of what defines me.  I am attracted to the masculine and not the feminine. I am attracted to what compliments me, finding greater wholeness in my so doing.  I have passions and desires where I had thought, for decades, that I had none.  Thoughts of being asexual, of not being interested in sex, was a fabrication of a reason for my lack of desire because I was not truly attracted to the female realm.  I denied myself because I am at odds with the plumbing, off the median norm as it may be, as a male.

It is time for me to change my name and my gender marker legally.
It is time for me to align my body with my mind in all ways.
It is time for me to live and to love completely and truthfully.
it is time for me to feel my life, to feel my love, as a woman.
....In all ways
....In wholeness

I've had to hold on to my legal name and gender marker to not break the engine that has powered my life to this point.  Having lived full time inwardly as a woman my entire life and outwardly to the world as a woman now for over two years is more than enough time to know that this is right.

There is no glamor in what I do or in who I am.
There is no bravery in the steps I take to actualize the person who has lived inside for so long.
There is only a sense of belonging to self, belonging to this world.
There is only a sense of contentment to sigh a breath of relief in lying no longer.

It is time now for me to live what remaining years I may have on this Earth truthfully to myself.  The prices we pay in life are highest when we do not take ownership of our own life and our own destiny.