Trans March 2106

I participated in Trans March for the first time ever—and just a few weeks after coming out. I went with someone who has been
a loyal and supportive friend since we met in a support group months ago. Transition is not easy, and it shouldn’t be done alone.

In the past several years I’ve had that “Me too, me too” feeling in the back of my head when I encountered trans people, and I’ve been struck lately by how much they ARE my tribe, even when we don’t have anything in common other than our gender identity. I may not always LIKE them, but I always LOVE them, if that makes sense.

I’ve been in a few protest marches in my day, and I admit I always feel awkward as a protester, but this was different. I was the nice white lady in the big pink hat and was very aware of my privilege. I was marching with trans people of color who are fighting for justice, for freedom from police violence and discrimination, for jobs, for housing, for basic health care. I was marching with wonderfully militant gender queers who seemingly have to do daily battle with transphobia and the threat of violence.

The march ended on Turk street at the former site of the 1966 Compton’s Cafeteria riot when the drag queens and trans sex workers of the day fought back against police brutality. It used to be illegal to even be a cross dresser, you know.

I shook hands with Miss Major Griffin-Gracy who was one of the trans women of color who led the Stonewall riots. She’s been getting long overdue recognition thanks to a new documentary and I was honored to meet her.

They are all freedom fighters and American heroes, the same as any solider, maybe braver. For decades they’ve been getting their skulls cracked and worse for demanding a better world. All people benefit from that, in my opinion.

This thing I am doing is not easy. It’s incredibly hard and scary sometimes, but I have so many advantages it’s humbling. The people who fought the fight before me have my respect and gratitude. I hope I can be useful going forward.

But that’s the end of Pride festivities for my weekend. Too hot and too many people for me. Happy Pride. Be fearless.

Coming out on Facebook

My coming out on Facebook went really well. A huge outpouring of love and support. A lot of attention, which in my case, was pretty fun. To finally be seen–really seen…No more assumptions based on who they thought they knew or what I was presenting. The real deal now.

It’s part of the coming out process now: How and when to deal with your social media neighborhood. Being in the closet was especially irritating when I used social media. You are participating in this whole world without sharing how you REALLY feel. Gay marriage comes along and at best you are an “ally”. Some big story is happening about trans people, some Caitlyn story or a bathroom bill. You might address it as a citizen, as an ally, as a liberal-minded person, but you can’t speak to it from your real authority. In my case, I didn’t speak it at all. I had to take a break from Facebook until my family and I were ready to come out because I couldn’t bear to censor myself anymore.

It’s awesome to be out for me. I’m lucky to have the community I do, in the place where I live, in the time we are in.

Red Car Crash

I made this painting during early recovery.When I used to speak at Overeater’s Anonymous meetings I would use a metaphor of a sports car to describe being skinny and beautiful. After being a chubby kid with a homely sense of self image I suddenly had this skinny gorgeous body. It was like being a teenager with a new license and a sports car. Too much, too fast. I promptly wrapped it around a tree and burst into flames. Or burst into fat, more like it. And then I was in hell.

The lyrics are from the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I’m certainly not the first trans person to find intense meaning in those songs, and I’ll accept being so “on the nose”.

Forgive me for I did not know
For I was just a boy
And you were so much more
Than any God could ever plan
More than a woman or a man
And now I understand how much I took from you

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My Kid

People always ask how my son is doing with this transition. My wife and I have strong feelings that it’s not your place to ask. The implication that we are harming him is implicit in the question.

In general, experts say kids will be fine. They are more accepting than most. There is no reason to think that my transition damages him.

There is much more that could be said here, but for now, just know that we are a family that loves and cares for each other. My dedication to him has not changed one bit. To the contrary, I am called upon to be an even better parent now.

Homozone 5

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When I first encountered drag queens I immediately thought of them as super heroes. Statuesque, larger than life, colorfully dressed for battle of one kind or another. I wanted a way to fit in the queer culture of San Francisco in the early 1990s, to contribute my talents to the cause. I was not inspired to lip-synch or do Judy Garland numbers. I wanted to draw!

I started drawing drag and gender bending superheroes and rediscovered my love for illustration along the way. Working on this book inspired my return to art school where I completed a degree in illustration and went on to a decent career as an artist in the animation industry.

I had been a wanna-be comic book artist my whole life and had spent my teen years steeped in 80s X-Men comics and their epic battle as an oppressed minority in a world that hates mutants.

I had a great deal of anxiety about joining the queer movement and I poured that anxiety into a comic book about a dystopian future world where a team of drag queens and transsexuals in a queer ghetto fought against a homophobic totalitarian system. It was occasionally fun, energetically drawn, very wordy, violently dramatic and politically paranoid. I loved the characters and am amazed to this day by the amount of time and energy I put into the 3 issues I completed before abandoning the project to focus on school and the struggles of my life. I feel like I let my characters down, I wanted to do so much more with them.

Homozone 5 became a guarded secret along with the rest of my past, probably less from shame about sexuality and gender identity than shame over the artwork and writing “not being good enough” for the horrible critic that lives in my head.

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Coming out Week

I came out to my business networking group last week via email and today was my first meeting in person as Robyn. I went in face, natural hair and my heeled boots. New cute jacket that has a little of the Banana Republic flair I’ve always enjoyed.

It was a phenomenal experience. Everyone  was so happy for me. One of my dude friends, a sports loving beer drinking British tradesman, said it was wonderful to see me smiling like that.

I have not been smiling much at these meetings. Getting up and selling myself as a business person was never easy, and I think it was because I just wasn’t being myself. I didn’t like who I was selling.

Plus, the stress I had been under with my marriage crumbling and all of the fears about being openly trans and the consequences I might face….I was scared.

It felt nice to finally be here on the other side of all that and not feel scared.

I created a new business card and took them to the meeting. Wonderful to see my name in huge red letters. My previous card you actually had to work to find my name, I so wanted to not be seen.

I’m excited about being in business. I’m thrilled to be Robyn again and to take that energy and bring it to the world and my clients. I have an urgency, yes, because life is expensive and getting more so. I have responsibilities to fulfill and in some ways that’s going to be harder than ever.

In other ways it will be much easier now that I am happy and free to be myself.

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I went pretty subtle. Very light makeup. I’m not trying to look “like a woman”. This isn’t an act or a costume. I’m trying to look like me as I understand me. I think I will look increasingly more like a woman with time and practice and shopping, but I’m not stalling or hiding, waiting until my presentation is perfect to come out and live my life. It starts today. All of the surface stuff will work itself out. In the meantime I am visibly trans, or gender-queer or whatever. I am asking for female pronouns, I am using the name I want to use and I feel really good in what I am wearing.

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I just feel like Robyn again, and that is a glorious feeling for me. Carrying that into the world with spirit and confidence as way more important than the right dress or a stuffed bra. Be who you are and the world will follow.

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2002: After a 175 pound weight loss. I’m feeling amazing. My life has been saved. I have come back from morbid obesity and am full of optimism and love for myself. I am sober and “wholesome”. I am exploring my sexuality a lot, but gender not at all, which I now consider to be a crucial mistake, because for me they do work together to make the whole. Or perhaps I do consider it, but I’m insisting that I can be a man. At least give it a good try. I hadn’t ever really tried. I went from boy to girl to monster. Now I will be a man. Not a woman. That, I don’t even consider it an option. “That was cute when I was 22”, I always dismiss it with a sneer. My body is wrecked from being obese. Sagging loose flesh that I will surgically correct, but I’m still left with scars and flab that bothers me. The notion of being sexy and feminine is inconceivable to me. I won’t entertain the question.

A Short Story About A Long Trip

robyn001In 1991 I was a pretty young transvestite and wanna-be drag queen in San Francisco, exploring my gender and sexuality. I called myself Robyn. I was very happily “out”, I had lots of fabulous friends and support in the queer community, but also had a punishing, self-destructive, and addictive side that eventually won out. Continue reading “A Short Story About A Long Trip”

January 2016: Returning from my trans group having met another trans-woman with young kids. Holy shit, I'm gonna be a "Mom".

January 2016: Feeling exceptionally happy and beautiful after returning from my trans support group having met another trans-woman with young kids. Holy shit, I’m gonna be a “Mom”. I am entering transition with a wife and child. We may not remian married, but we will always be a family. I am happy and excited to be myself and free to follow my truth, and I have people I love deeply for whom I am responsible. They are not mutually exclusive. Taking care of me allows me to take care of them. I believe I will thrive as Robyn, but it does scare me sometimes, what I am taking on.