Interview with a transgender friend – Darcy

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You were called a boy (girl/boy) at birth.

When did you decide your assigned gender was not correct?

I don’t know if there was a specific moment of decision. More an awareness from a very early age that something was not right. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I began to question the veracity of the identity foisted upon me at birth and throughout the first two decades of my life.

Parents typically assign toys, clothes, and such for the gender they think you are. Were you conflicted as a child?

I did feel conflicted. I was exclusively a girl in my inner thoughts and self-play. I would pretend others saw me as a girl.

Give me a little background about the “processing” of your thoughts and feelings that something was not quite right.

Honestly, I repressed my feeling of dissonance regarding my gender. This repression led me to binge eat from middle childhood onward. Later, in middle school and high school, I repressed even my inner life as a girl. This ld to intense depression and thoughts of suicide.

When you started to realize something was not quite right, did you talk to your parents, relatives, friends?

No. I never spoke to my family or friends about this as a child. When I was an adult, I did talk to supportive friends and eventually came out to my family.

Was that a hard thing to do, talk to people about it?

At first it was hard. The more you come out the easier it becomes to do it.

How did people react to your decision?

Reactions varied. Most of my friends were like “yeah, I know.” My supervisor at work wasn’t surprised, “I’m a Clinical Psychologist, Darcy,” she said, “I’ve known for a while.” My dad was furious. He told me I was ridiculous and would never be a woman.

How did you/do you deal with the derisions and jokes, teasing and bullying?

I cried myself to sleep a lot. Still do. I started binge-eating again pretty heavily. I would stand in the kitchen and literally inhale food to deal with the stress. I gained 200 lbs post coming out. After four years of therapy, I’ve learned to self-sooth in healthy ways. I take long walks. I actually started my nonprofit as a coping mechanism. Writing support articles for other transgender people made me feel as if the suffering was worth it. It’s still hard. Honestly, I am sad most of the time even though I come across as really cheerful and happy. If you see me working myself to death chances are I am miserable and trying to cope.

What is the best thing that ever happened to you – regarding your transition – with a word of support from a family member or friend?

I rediscovered the things I love about myself. I have a very healthy relationship with myself, and getting to know her every day is a major blessing.

What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you – regarding your transition – bad words spoken to you by horrible people or stuff people said to you, those who just don’t understand or refuse to accept you?

A lot of bad things happened to me. I was homeless for a few months. I’ve had to do things I didn’t want to do to survive. I think the worst part is the loneliness. It eats away at me like a cancer. Friendships can be touch and go sometimes. Family relationships are awkward, and I often have to sacrifice my needs to maintain them. Romantic relationships are out of the question. Can you imagine having to disclose the state of your genitalia to potential partners prior to the first date? I do because I don’t want to end up dead in a dumpster after a date gone wrong. It’s humiliating. I’ve had several men interested in me who either run after they find out I’m trans, want just an emotional relationship, or play out some sick fantasy with me and use me like an object. Honestly, this is the worst part of my life post-coming out. I’m a 25-year-old woman, and I’ve barely had a relationship. What I have had has been terrible, soul-crushing, and frankly abusive.

What advice would you give to others who think they might need to transition?

Surround yourself with social support. Find a good therapist. Visit my website MyTransitionPartner.com.

I have interviewed several other trans people. One said something like, it’s not what the haters say but what your friends and family say that hurt the most. What do you have to say about that?

When you truly love yourself, it hurts when anybody rejects you or says bad things about you. It’s like if someone said something awful about your partner or sibling…you’d hurt. It is especially hard when family rejects you.

What can we do to advocate for transgender without looking or acting like butt-heads? Any advice for allies who might elect to stand up for a transgender person?

Listen and continue to educate yourself. My website has an entire section devoted to educating allies (MyTransitionPartner.com/ally)

I heard once in an LGBT forum that LG&B don’t treat T with respect on occasions. Have you experienced this?

All the time. There is rampant transphobia and misogyny in the LGBTQ+ community. I have cis gay men challenge me all the time in regards to gender identity. We are consistently ignored and silenced. I’ve endured countless vigils for victims of anti-LGBTQ+ violence where there were no transgender people asked to speak (we experience the most violence) or where there were subtle jokes about transgender people. It’s disgusting.

What about 45s latest announcement that he doesn’t want to allow Transgender in the military?

The President needs to learn to think before he Tweets and to seek wise counsel. His views are not based on empirical data or a sound understanding of the law.

When did you start your foundation? Tell us a little bit about why you started your foundation, and how, and where, etc.

I’ve been doing advocacy work since 2012/13. When I moved to ND, I started doing it more fervently and strategically. I spent the better part of two years writing support articles for my personal website, and a friend encouraged me to develop it into a nonprofit. We launched MyTransitionPartner.com in January 2017. My foundation is taking the money I’ve earned speaking and consulting (and money we receive from donors) and using it to maintain the site and provide grants to assist transgender people with transition expenses. We are also able to provide administrative support to other transgender, nonbinary, gender queer, gender fluid, gender nonconforming people who want to have their own outreach project but don’t want to go through the hassle of managing their own organization. I’ve been very lucky to get to where I am. I am really successful for a transgender person, and I have gotten to where I am really quickly. My successes, my ability to support myself means nothing to me if I cannot use that privilege to pull other people out of the hell I lived in for such a long time.

______________________________

Resources provided by the Darcy Jeda Corbett Foundation. www.mytransitionpartner.com

North Dakota Resources:

http://mytransitionpartner.com/transgender/resources/state/nd/

US Resources, by state:

http://mytransitionpartner.com/transgender/resources/state/

 

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Interview with a transgender friend – Kadan

Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 5.21.52 PMTo better understand each other, we just need to talk to each other.

I started transgender interviews with the idea that I could better understand transgender, just for myself. But I think sharing these interviews might help more people understand better. This is one interview in a series.

The following is in response to interview questions I sent to Kadan Kaej (pronounced Kay-den Cage). Kadan is a North Dakota native and a former student of Minot State University. He will be furthering his education at North Dakota University in Grand Forks this fall with Majors in History and Accounting.

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From Kadan…

I’m glad to answer any and all questions you may have! I believe that keeping people informed on LGBTQ+ topics is vital for communities to allow better relations between topics, issues, and people.

I am a transman, and I was:

Born a girl – though in the trans community many state AFAB (assigned female at birth) or AMAB (assigned male at birth).

I never really ‘decided’ my gender wasn’t correct. It wasn’t a “one moment I’m a girl/the next moment I’m a boy.” It was more of a general understanding that I didn’t fit into the standard gendered norms. It was not so much a decision, but, instead, I was just trying to be myself and show my own personality.

As for what I did, this too plays into the idea of just being myself. Meaning, I acted like those around me. If kids around me were playing rough, I’d play rough too; if they were playing some made-up fantasy game, I was ready to play some adventuring hero or evil villain. It wasn’t so much that I’d only stick to “boys only/girls only” games but to wherever I felt I fit in and was most comfortable.

As for dress, I definitely limited my style to keep away from overly feminine clothing. The older I got the more picky I became because I realized how important what you wear defines you as a person to others. Wanting to stay away from looking like a girl I chose to wear baggier clothing to hide my chest (and dresses and skirts were the absolute worst). Now, I recognize that clothing can be a part of anybody’s style regardless of their gender. So shout out to anybody who can rock a dress and a nice pair of heels!

I have never talked with my parents about these issues or any other LGBTQ+ issues that I have faced. Friends were and still are my go-to people for support and discussion. My family isn’t very accepting of LGBTQ+ so topics like this are never brought up in our conversations.

I am currently in the beginning stages of taking HRT, with me being at around four months in, and I am soon going to look into official name changes/gender identifiers on legal documents, plus I will look into both Top and Bottom surgery.

Dealing with bigoted, rude people – You don’t know who are making jokes, in my opinion, is a lot easier than dealing with people you do know. You can always try and avoid strangers and ignore/block their comments, but you can’t necessarily do that with those close to you. I feel it’s also a bigger toll when you hear something hurtful from someone you thought you could trust and talk with. Hearing them say something may put the thought into your head – “Should I keep trusting this person when they use it against me? If this is what they say to my face, what are they saying behind my back?” In general, if I hear crude comments or jokes from people close to me, I feel uneasy around them and take more caution in what I say around them.

The best thing happening to me in regards to transition, I’d say it would be the support I have received from friends and others in the community. Both have made me feel like I can work toward the goals I have for myself and the motivation to help others in the same situation as me.

___________________________________________

Advice from Kadan – If you make a mistake in pronouns with a transgender person, just correct yourself and move on. Do not make a big show of the mistake or correction.

___________________________________________

Resources provided by the Darcy Jeda Corbett Foundation. www.mytransitionpartner.com

North Dakota Resources:

https://mytransitionpartner.com/transgender/resources/state/nd/

US Resources, by state:

https://mytransitionpartner.com/transgender/resources/state/

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When someone dies…a billion stops

 

 

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I sometimes wonder…And I wondered a lot when my Mom died…

Why didn’t the world stop?

But it did.

I was reminded of this just recently when my Uncle Jerry died. I hadn’t seen him much in 17 years (he lived in Delaware, I lived in New Mexico and now North Dakota and didn’t get “home” much), but I did see him two years ago.

And now, when he died, I thought, “Why don’t people stop?”

Why don’t people acknowledge his life?

But people did stop.

His wife stopped. His kids stopped. His grandchildren stopped. His twin brother stopped. His nieces, nephews, cousins, stopped. His in-laws stopped.

Everybody who read his obituary stopped. Everyone who had any cognitive recognition of him…stopped.

I posted his passing on my FB page, and friends who never met him stopped.

If even for just a moment, even for a blink of an eye, Uncle Jerry meant something to millions of people.

So, when you see a loved one’s passing. Stop. Take a moment. Imagine the loss. Imagine the love. Imagine the hole left from that person’s passing.

Just stop.

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The Lost Arts – Introductions

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Shawn MacKenzie: This whole idea has me thinking – I wonder, aside from the generational or regional differences, if the modern cyber world in which we live doesn’t foster distance. We use e-monikers, avatars, and digital personae, which may or may not be based in truth. To actually meet someone face-to-face takes one into a whole new – very real – world. You can no longer hide behind aliases and cyberian anonymity.

*   *   *

I remember…years and years ago…how, when people walked into the same room, or happened upon each other on a city street, or bumped into each other at the drug store, introductions ensued.

“Oh, hi, John. May I introduce my mother, Lois Sanderson? Mom, this is John Smith, my friend at school.” They shake hands. Chit chat a bit. Ask and answer a few questions.

Many times in the last few years, I’ve been the stranger in the room. I walk in. No introductions. Another person walks in, no introductions. A couple walks in, no introductions.

I have been in situations where I have to introduce myself. I’m not shy, so I say things like “Hi, I’m _________’s _______. Who are you?” Or “Hey, you must be ________, I’m ______.”

If you have an encounter (same room, city street, drug store) and you think, perhaps the person you are with and the person you ran into might not know each other, you should extend an introduction.

It’s not complicated. Though I do remember from Emily Post that you should “present” the older person first. Hence, I would present my mother to the younger pal o’ mine we ran into.

But even if you don’t follow Emily Post (and who does any more), you should at least say something that resembles an introduction.

A few comments about introductions, from friends…

Shawn MacKenzie: Hmmm. We are a curious species. I remember when I came to Vermont people greeted/introduced each other differently than in MN – always a handshake but often only first names. It would be sad if it’s another sign of declining civility.

Jessica Messinger: Perhaps making introductions is a lost art, or feels too formal for today’s society. I try to introduce people, but sometimes I forget names (even if I’ve known them since I was little!) and then it’s kind of awkward to make introductions,

Nancy Winden Gooch: Forgetting names is often my excuse. Embarrassing! I still think about those “rules” when I introduce people, although I don’t always get it right.

Esther Hastings Miller: This has bothered me, too. I remember practicing in grade school how to introduce people…older people first, women before men, etc. Maybe that’s overkill now, but I still appreciate being introduced when two people meet who know each other and I don’t know the third party. I usually try to do the same.

Ilil Arbel: It is one symptom of a strange decline in general manners, but I realize that perhaps that is how my parents felt as my generation grew up. Customs change. I don’t like the current manners, but I feel I must adjust.

*   *   *   

I don’t like adjusting to things that I feel are rude, or at least not very nice. You stand with a friend…another person walks up…how hard is it to say, “Hey, do you know so-n-so?” Not hard at all.

 

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Which religion is it? Does it matter?

 

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Since the election in November, I’ve become connected with so many more diverse people than I ever thought possible. I’ve joined solidarity groups, marching groups, LGBT groups, science groups, and religious groups.

What I find the same in all these groups? They are all fighting for each other. They don’t care if you are male or female. They don’t care that you are a different color. They don’t care that you celebrate a different religion.

That’s what gave me the idea for this post. If I don’t label a religion, would you know which one it is?

And does it matter?

FIRST PERSON’S ANSWERS

How often do you pray? I pray five times a day. I am always trying to do it on time but sometimes say them a little later but do them.

What do you pray for? I pray because it is my obligation to God as He gave me life and its bounties and I am showing my appreciation for his generosity and mercy.  I pray for myself first for a healthy long life to be able to see my children settled and comfortable. I pray to be there to see their children, their successes and their happiness and for them to have long lives with good fortune, good health and right guidance.

How many people are in your organized prayer group? I do not go to organized prayers but pray at home by myself.

How often do you attend your organized prayer group? I only attend organized community prayers twice a year on religious festivals.

What does your religious group do for the community? My religious community where I live is not very active in the larger community.

Favorite inspirational quote:

This is from the Prophet’s final sermon. Not an actual quote and I’m parsing it “No man has superiority over another man, no white over colored, no Arab over non-Arab. A man’s superiority is only by his piety and his help to his fellowmen.”

SECOND PERSON’S ANSWERSScreen Shot 2017-02-20 at 10.45.22 AM

How often do you pray? Almost daily.

What do you pray for? Family, church, country, known needs from our prayer group leader.

How many people are in your organized prayer group? About 90.

How often do you attend your organized prayer group? A minimum of weekly.

What does your religious group do for the community? Financial support to many religious groups. Volunteers for local thrift store. Food for local homeless. Occasional community meals. Adopt social service families during holidays. Collections for area food pantry. Just opening a weekly food pantry ourselves. Provide food and beverage for two of our town’s holiday events.

Favorite inspirational quote:

For yesterday is but a dream

And tomorrow is only a vision

But today, well lived,

Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness

And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

~Ancient Sanskrit writings

THIRD PERSON’S ANSWERS

How often do you pray? Depends on the day, but usually at least 5 times.

What do you pray for? I pray over my meals – asking God to bless them, and thanking him for the food; I pray for my children to be safe and to do well in school; I pray for people my Facebook friends ask for prayers for; I pray for friends and family who are ill or in dangerous situations, or struggling with something; I pray just to thank God for the blessings He’s given me; I pray that our house will sell; I pray for our country’s leaders and for my church leaders; I pray for my husband when he goes on business trips; I tell God that I’m frustrated with something, or I ask Him for help with something (even as simple as finding a book in the piles in my living room until we get bookcases built in our new house); basically I pray about anyone, and anything, and at any time of the day or night.

How many people are in your organized prayer group? Probably about 60 who are regularly active.

How often do you attend your organized prayer group? Every Sunday, and sometimes we meet during the week.

What does your religious group do for the community? We serve at clothing banks; we help people stack their wood piles (and split the wood if we need to); we help at the annual Labor Day Picnic with several other groups in the chicken dinner tent (serving food, setting up tables and chairs and taking them down, washing dishes); we help people who have been involved in disasters (flood clean-up; storm clean-up); we visit elderly people, house-bound people; we take meals to people who are ill or whose family members are ill.

Provide a favorite inspirational quote (does not have to be from a sacred text) Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” (that’s not the whole verse)

COMMENTS FROM ONE MORE PERSON

I pray daily … my prayer is called ardaas.

It is a gratitude prayer from the Sikh faith, and I pray for “may there be peace, may we remember God’s name and prosperity for the whole world.”

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Winter Haiku

I meant to post some winter haiku months ago, but then DT happened…and I got my late-blooming political activist thing going.

So!

Before it’s too late, and the snow drifts melt, here’s some winter haiku for you in the more severe climes. And for those of you in the milder climes, be glad.

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Skiing on white caps

White out blinds the shushing eye

Casted leg propped up.

 

 

Snow shovels scraping

Driveways and sidewalks cleaned up

Kids break out snow day.

 

 

Time for a long nap

Hibernating furry bears

Roly-poly cubs.

 

For those of you inclined to purchase a book of poetry, my book is available! I have loads of haiku and other personal free-verse poems in this collection, written over decades of life. I hope you enjoy. https://www.amazon.com/No-Boundaries-Karen-R-Sanderson/dp/0998127604

 

 

 

 

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I’m published!

noboundariescover-frontonly

 

Here’s a holiday selection

From my collection

(changed slightly to accommodate Thanksgiving)
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Holiday Dinner

Chicken runs round the farm yard,

Wishes he was the duck.

Duck runs round the barn yard,

Wishes he was the pig.

Pig runs round the pig sty,

Wishes he was the horse.

Horse smiles, relaxes in stall.

Thanksgiving Eve, he’ll mourn them all.

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My collection includes Family and Friends, God Bless Our Military, Limericks, Beautiful Earth, Art, Imagination, & Miscellany, Haiku, and My Funny Bone.

To order, go to “No Boundaries” at Amazon.

 

 

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