Who I Am

cropped-jenna-2016-l45-copy-2.jpgIn the latter 1970s, Cold War, I was in U.S. Naval Intelligence, NSA, NSOC, NSGA, Ft. Meade, MD, got out, switched, had SRS in 1981. I’ve been employed as a forensic psychiatric social worker (MSW, LCSW) working with convicted sex offenders and the criminally insane, spoken in universities, counseled trans populations on social and familial integration, stealth living, employment discrimination, surprise violence, assault, rape and suicidality.

The well-known transgender sociopolitical movement is on the wrong path. It’s hiding trans sexualities, promoting obfuscation and subterfuge, misleading the public, and hurting transgenders and transsexuals, alike. We hide because we fear rejection. If we want society to accept us as equal and valued, we must accept ourselves also as equal and valued.

I’m not new. I’m not guessing. I’ve lived through social and personal evolutions for decades, known many participants, been a member of HBIGDA and through it’s morph into WPATH (left WPATH because it politicized transgenderism, marginalized transsexualism, conflated sex and gender). In these pages, I’m sharing experience and perspective, my opinion, and my life.

My views are different than people expect because these ideas evolve through us over time, I’m very long-term, and because I’m transsexual, not transgender. I believe grouping all Ts by a gender role shift hides key issues of people who are very different, even opposite, hurts us all in a way that doesn’t need to be.

After I was settled in my new life, I got my pilot’s license. I say I’m a “double ATP” so I don’t have to say “I’m an ATP S&M,” kidding myself that people will get the wrong impression with my history. And I’m a CFI.

In 1989, I met a man who changed my life. It was unlikely: He was a conservative Christian Republican, Caltech Master, aerospace engineering icon, 40 years older; and I was a liberal Democrat Jewish transsexual who had gone to Caltech only to buy a T-shirt. But respect with difference was natural to us both, and we were both pilots, so…we were glued together from the first, fell in love, lived together, then married.

It’s been suggested to me several times that all that is false, but it’s true. It’s just the way life can work out when you don’t put constraints on it—

—except that I foolishly did then put constraints on part of it and enabled hate crimes we suffered for years as a mixed marriage. After having trouble years before with rejections, discriminations, I went “stealth,” as it were, living privately, refusing to let my transsexualism be the issue—exactly the wrong thing to do.

Most trans people are hiding what it means to be who they are. Those who transition more closely to a social binary norm may go stealth, or try to; and those who are out as “transgender” usually focus on the gender switch but are still stealth on issues of physical sex.

Hiding those important characteristics hurts all of us, and I need to help. The problem is “stealth” living, and it causes the same problems for them as it did for me. If someone doesn’t speak up about the problems, others may not see them until a few decades pass, like it did for me.

I share myself in Shadow Life as an example of

  • how love can exist between opposites,
  • how we hurt ourselves by hiding who we truly are, and
  • how we can eventually learn to embrace ourselves.