Wednesday, June 29, 2005

draft "coming out" letter to co-workers

Here's a first draft of a letter I am planning to make available to my co-workers when I meet with them in person next week - let me know what you think!

I’m writing this because my life has undergone some radical and wonderful changes recently that may effect how you and others within the college interact with and view me and I want to make sure these changes go as smoothly for all of us as possible. The goal here is to get this unusual circumstance out of the way so that we can all go back to doing our jobs. I don't want to make a bigger deal of this than is necessary, but I felt the best way to approach it is by being upfront and honest with everyone. What I’m about to tell you is something I hope will not make you uncomfortable in any way or disrupt the working relationships I have with all of you. I consider everyone here a gifted and open-minded colleague and hope you can accept this “new me.” The bottom line is that I am still the same hard working librarian you know, except a lot happier and comfortable with myself. In fact, I feel the most content and confident I have ever felt in my life!

Deep breath…ok…here it is: I am what is commonly termed a "male-to-female transsexual." In other words, I was born into the wrong physical body and it is my intention to correct this and finally bring my physical self into balance with my mental self. This will be done through hormone therapy (which I've already begun) and, eventually, surgery, so that I can express my proper gendered self and live in a way that makes me comfortable.

While this is something I have struggled with my entire life, it was only in the last 2 years that I have been able to come to peaceful terms with it. I have dreamed of being a woman for as long as I can remember, before I even had a name for how I felt or realized there were many others like me out there. However, these feelings were something I learned at an early age were frowned upon and so I fought hard to suppress and keep that part of me far away from others. Needless to say, that path was so pervasively and negatively affecting every part of my personal and professional life that I made the conscious decision a couple years ago to face my fears and embrace this central part of myself. I haven't looked back nor had an ounce of regret since.

Where am I now?
I have essentially been living as a woman most of the time at home for a couple months now. I have been taking hormones to change my physiology for about 6 months and I plan to start living and working 24/7 as a woman by the end of the year.

Believe me when I say I have not taken any of these decisions lightly and have done tons of reading, research and talking to doctors, therapists, and others who have gone through the process; weighing options and paths and considerations about what is possible and what will make me happy. But the truth is that I have never been so sure and confident of my path. And to be honest, it is a necessary step for me. My family and friends all know and support my choice in this and it is my hope you can find it in your heart to do so as well. I am not bringing this issue out into the open looking for pity or anything like that, but I am hoping for tolerance, if not friendly acceptance. If you feel otherwise or are uncomfortable with this I will completely understand and will not blame you for that in any way, but I hope we can continue to work together effectively and harmoniously.

Practical Issues:
Bathrooms: I'll be using the unisex, single-person bathrooms on the 2nd or 3rd floors exclusively (in fact I have been doing so for the last month or 2)

Name and gender pronouns: I intend to legally change my first name to "Dana" in the next couple months. I know from experience that changing the way you instinctually think about and refer to someone's gender is not easy to do and I assure you I will not be picky or overly sensitive about the use of my new name or gender pronouns. What I do ask is that as the end of the year approaches and I start coming to work as a female, that you make an effort to refer to me as "Dana" and use "she" and "her" when referencing me. Until then, use whatever you're comfortable with, but as the end of the year gets closer (and past), I will gently remind people of my proper gender.

You may have other questions about this and to me that is a good thing. I also know most of you have never encountered anything like this and might not know what to ask in the first place. However, if you have questions, I encourage you to ASK ME ANYTHING anytime – I am happy to answer all questions to the best of my ability, whether in person, e-mail, in private, or in a group setting such as this. I have included below a few links to some web sites that, if you are interested, can give some general insight into what a “transsexual” is and is not, current understandings of causes (which is basically unknown), etc.
So that's it! Again, my main concern here is making this as comfortable and smooth a transition for everyone as possible (including me :-).


For more information:
-coming out of the closet (reasons for it):
-Primer on Transsexuality (in straightforward language):

Sunday, June 26, 2005

a walk in the park with a purpose

Dana update:

  • had my second laser session last wednesday. the effect when these hairs fall out in the next few days will be really good I think - just can't look decent until then...
  • one and half weeks until I completely come out at work. my department boss and the college admin already know and are going to help me tell everyone the wednesday after next at a big meeting. i'm putting together an outline of what I'll say along with a letter/FAQ with more details for those interested...last real goal to dressing how and when I want is now telling my grandma...breathe, Dana, breathe....
  • been running about 4-5 miles a day (6 days a week) and loving it. i got new running shoes and a sports bra (compliments of a gift certificate from a good friend) that i'm gonna try out next week up at the camp, july 4th weekend.
  • with no one around yesterday (saturday) up at the lake, i donned my little bandeau bikini and did some sun bathing and some swimming! it felt awesome to swim in that outfit - way, way, way more comfy that the usual baggy shorts i use.
  • my eating habits and barely shrinking beer belly continue to haunt me - wish i didn't love good food so much (and that i wasn't such a damn good cook :-). but i have a purpose, am focused and have no doubt i'll get there, just more slowly than i'd originally hoped!
  • night sights behind my place have been spectacular - must be firefly mating season because all the 250+ acres of fields have been lit up with millions and millions of twinkling little faerie lights for the last week or so - a truly awe inspiring thing to see each night before sleep!
  • this coming weekend its back up to the lake for fireworks shows over the water and all the usual daytime water activities that i truly enjoy. my fav being a respite from the heat in the form of lounging in an inner tube bobbing gently amongst the undulating waves with a beer in hand...
  • think i've come up with my new middle name: Harmony - i've always like that name.

la pace, i miei amici (per favore scusarme per macellare la lingua!)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

funny walk in front of the sanity vanity

monty moment
The missmanagement of Danamage, Inc. wish to apologize for the aforesaid words. Our editor was otherwise occupied, wink-wink, and steadfastly stuck to a self-imposed strict headline-deadline, so said possible "incitement to riot" rant resulted...A statement has been released to the media stating succinctly that said rant in no way reflects the opinions of the spineless, ethic-challenged officers of Danamage, Inc. No really! We mean it. Just because we're heartless corporate managers armed to the teeth with multi-million dollar homes, good 'ol boy ivy league legal educations and bottles of expensive single malt scotch hidden in our otherwise empty desks doesn't mean we don't care...

vanity check-in
i think I figured something out just now shooting pool - in trying to understand my sexuality I was foolishly trying to fit my rotund self into a square social peghole. "Do I like women? Do I like men?" I had been wracking my brain and succumbing to shallow outside pressures attempting to define myself using a limited vocabulary (as all vocabularies that are defined are). 'Gender is totally separate from sex, remember dummy?' I said to myself when that dim bulb sparked in my brainpan as I banked the six ball in the left side pocket. I know it's impossible to remove gender considerations entirely from the equation, believe me - it's like trying to imagine a society without money - idyllic perhaps, but unknowable!.

So I think closer to the smaller things that matter to me; the way someone's electrons dance around their proton-soul and my impression of the inner-balance of aggression/ambition/directed energy against patience/empathy/conservation of energy. One or the other one way or the other doesn't matter but together I weigh, I choose.

I find myself drawn, conceding that we are sometimes forced to use incomplete definitions, more towards a feminine mate. Biological gender aside - I want someone who I instinctually sense as a woman by current collective american ideals, but with some buried tint of machismo in there. Male or female parts don't matter, but I suppose a more masculine girl or a more feminine man might be a base to build on. Or is this simply a reflection of who I want to be and not necessarily who I want to be with?

hahahahahahaha! I'm no closer to my prey than before...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

freedom is burning [soapbox rant #16]

The day I can no longer protest the actions (or inactions) of my government or country by burning a mass-produced piece of cloth (probably made in China btw!) bearing our national emblem is the day that freedom from oppression and the freedom to express ourselves has died.

Don't let these fake-patriotic conservative republican maneuvers come to pass!

Go out onto your own yard this July 4th and declare to all that fear will never conquer us and that patriotism is having the will to do whatever it takes to maintain the freedoms and equality for ALL that are the essential core ingredients to our democracy!!!

To ban ANY expressions of freedom or protest (as long as those expressions do not harm anyone) is to abandon those core beliefs and is the very definition of unpatriotic...

[to read more about this isue and proposed legislation: and]

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

street smarts

"the final score can't be rigged, I don't care how many players you grease, that last shot always comes up a question mark. But here's the thing - you never know when you take it. It could be when you're slugging it out with the legion of doom or just crossing the street deciding where to have brunch. So you just treat it all like it was up to you, the world in the balance, 'cause you never know when it ends...."
-Charles Gunn

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

silk sheet shambhala

glitterbugs and heat lightning dance upon the weed tops of my back yard
in a billowy sheen of white burst-blinks
flash floods and thunder crash in on the counties to my north
just beyond the hilltop horizon
but here only crickets and an occasional bird song
along with the spectacular light show, of course

i giggle like the amused, amazed child i am in this moment
eyes open for a blink into the essence of truth
a few tics of time that will last an eternity
as electro-embedded pathway-memories

a labyrinth of perception and ego-awarelessness
this is the moment, this is the now
light, dark
lost, found
wave, particle
birth, death
self, all

all in endless loops of discovery
the only goal to giggle again
when the next clash of nature
and perception arrive

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Things are really picking up speed and momentum now! I finally got to talk to my brother and tell him about my transition (he already knew about the dressing) during his visit last weekend. As expected he was his usual tight-lipped self, but after some prodding I did manage to assure him and our mutual friend C who had flown up from Baltimore to visit, that I'm still the same person and that our ritual sibling ribbing and joking will continue unabated. He said it would take some getting used to, of course, but he assured me he had no problem with it so I hope all is well on that front. On friday we played golf with a bunch of his high school and college buddies - great guys I have known for decades (but almost all, like my brother, of the keep-it-all-inside, don't-talk-about-feelings type of manly, family men).

Anyways, my brother had already told me he had shared my dressing issues with a couple of his friends when they asked about my appearance the last time I saw them around x-mas, which I was totally cool with and my brother said there were no problems there. As we were playing golf (and I was playing horribly btw - I may just give that sport up!), playing with the two guys that knew about my dressing and another that didn't, I was wracking my brain for how to bring the subject up. Finally, after about 5-6 beers in the searing sun, I came up with a (in retrospect probably foolish, half-assed) plan. In between holes I just blurted out, "Hey - wanna see something weird?" and then I lifted up my Hawaiian shirt and flashed them! Needless to say, they were a bit stunned. The two in the other cart didn't say much, but my cart mate asked me about it and I gave him the 2 minute version of my story and plans, which I hoped he might share with the others if asked. The rest of the weekend went by uneventful except for the tons of food, drinking, swimming, tubing, sun, cards, horseshoes and lounging that typically goes on at our Adirondack lake camp when there are guests.

On a slightly different note, I also met again with the diversity officer at work (a local college) and she told me of her efforts and education since I had shared my plans with her a few weeks ago. Things are looking awesome on that front, albeit, they will be happening faster than I first anticipated. She assured me that she had spoken to the college president and senior administration about me and that they were behind me completely and were also going to make an effort to amend college policies to include gender as an explicit legal protection from discrimination (because there is no such protection in NYS law). However, she also confirmed my own research in that there have already been several state agency precedents for gender-expression protection as well as state court interpretations to include gender in the already existing "sexual orientation" protections. I was never that worried about those aspects of things, since I think I'm pretty good at my job and valued there, but it was still good to hear all this.

We also worked out a rough schedule to share things with the wider college. Short version: I'll be having several meetings with my immediate library co-workers, and department and building colleagues in July or August to reveal all. I am still sticking to my plan to start living 24/7 around the start of the new year, but we both felt it would be better to reveal things sooner than that and to give people (and me) time to adjust to, ask questions, and voice concerns about the realities of working together before I start showing up in skirts and heels!

And while the heat and humidity has been very oppressive around here lately and I feel a little stress with changes happening so fast, I still feel all smiley and light and free because everyone so far has been so amazingly awesome and supportive with all this. And most importantly, I am moving closer to realizing the real me! As always, there are still lots of barriers to cross, but every moment I'm getting closer to realizing the biggest goal I have ever had in my life - and enjoying the ride as well...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

New England Mädchen (teil zwei)

On the walk to Denny's from the car we had to walk through a small gaggle of working class men waiting for a bus to what I surmised were graveyard shifts, sweating at some kind of back-breaking task for a paltry salary. As we passed, the first, older guy said a polite "hello ladies" but then a second, younger smart-alec chimed in with "hey fellas." I let it go but I could tell Toni wanted to say something. Beyond the fact that the guy was about 6'2" and Toni is somewhere in the vicinity of a foot smaller and a hundred pounds lighter, peace and forgiveness won the day temporarily and we passed by without further incident. Safely inside (if being inside a ghetto neighborhood Denny's at 3 am can ever be considered safe), we ensconced ourselves in a corner booth, Angela sober, me buzzing, and Toni slightly more so.

We could tell Toni had a good buzz going because she started talking about ordering meat. Normally, she holds to a loose but logical land creature vegetarian philosophy. And being in Denny's, even I, an avowed meat and potatoes affectionado, was hesitant to get anything along charred animal flesh lines. But Toni waved off our suggested veggie alternatives and instead ordered a chicken-fried steak breakfast platter! I settled for a ham and eggs plate myself and Angela got something similar. About a fucking hour later(!) and several apologies from our server, we got our (lousy, tepidly warm) food. I think at that point, after several heated discussions about eating habits and the economic factors contributing to Denny demographics, we lost most of our appetites and did not eat much. This was probably a good thing, although Angela felt bad for a lot of the next day. Somewhere in there a black kid sidled slyly into the booth next to ours to check us out and left snickering a second later once he confirmed our "freak" status with a closer look at my fuzz-encrusted, sweat-grimed puss.
I helped beat his retreat with a hearty "fuck you" middle finger.

I also ventured to the ladies room as we were leaving. A squat, fat female security guard followed me into the bathroom and I can only surmise was making sure I wasn't some kind of pervert or something. Bitch! On the way out, the male security counterpart (like fucking Denny's needs TWO security guards?!!!) warned me not to go in there again, which I met with a shrug and a "whatever." I also managed to catch the security guards' eyes as we were heading out the door and showed them the backside of my two upturned middle fingers. Like I would ever step foot in that place or for that matter, any other Denny's again...

The next day we all rose from slumber around the crack of noon and basically bummed around a couple hours until we managed to get in gear and set off my my family's cabin on the Great Sacandaga Resevoir. Sacandaga is a huge, man-made lake that is used to regulate the Hudson river; to keep salt water from the ocean from coming up it. Anyways, we headed up there to check it out. We started on a short bushwhack/hike on the logging trails behind our cabin, but Toni only had sandals so we turned back about halfway - we were all breathing heavy by that point anyway! My parents were up at the camp doing some renovations and they invited us to stay for dinner, which we did, Angela and I enjoying a couple beers while Toni indulged in one of my dad's extra dry martinis. The dinner, as it always is when my folks cook, was excellent. It consisted of a buffet-style "asian-wrap" setup. Using several leaves of bib lettuce, we created wraps with various asian foodstuff (noodles, peanuts, chicken, etc.). I thought it was very creative, especially since my mom never makes ethnic foods. I guess my complaining about that finally sank in!

I think it was also helpful to my parents to talk and interact with another transsexual. Toni looks and acts naturally femme (bitch :-) and I think (hope) that gave them a little reassurance that once I start living 24/7 that I will also be able to lead a somewhat normal life. But they are still struggling with it all, evidenced by my mom's suggestion to use a "transition - transition name" when referring to me that sounds more like my boy name. I pooh-poohed that immediately tho. They still call me by my boy name unfortunately, but I know they'll come around in their own time. I will be very happy indeed the first time they instinctively refer to me as "Dana!"

After dinner, wine and some good conversation, we departed back to my homestead. We then decided to stop in at my club (Club 22) in the bustling metropolis of Glens Falls to see what was happening. That morning I had given up hope of going anywhere in girl mode until the stubbornly clinging lasered hairs started falling out, so this night was to be my first time EVER showing up at the club in non-femme mode. I opted for a simple white T, jeans and some light eye makeup - looking a little like a very, very butch lesbian and sort of androgynous. Angela also wore jeans and a top, but she was in girl mode. Going out in boy mode wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. It took a while for people at the club to recognize me and I had a bit of fun going up to them and seeing their reactions. The bad part was that the club was absolutely dead; even deader than normal! Arggghhh - it only happens when I have guests!

The topper was that Jim, one of the DJs, had burned me a copy of a great techno version of Gwen Stefani's "Rich Girl" that night. But then, only minutes after getting the CD and placing down in our booth at the back of the club, the CD disappeared! The only people that I saw go near the stuff were two regular transsexuals who I thought were my friends. I guess I always felt they had some kind of jealousy or resentment of me because I have a more natural look and get more attention from the guys. But I didn't think they would stoop to this crap! I hope I'm wrong, but won't worry about it. Right after the CD went missing, so did the girls, which made me even more suspicious. Well, we danced briefly and then, bored, went looking for another bar (and looking for the bitches that may have stolen my cd!). I had heard about a lez bar down ther street that I had never been to, but it was fucking closed. Needless to say, all the places nearby were either dead or way too hick even for me! So we settled instead on the pizza shop next door, where a local, older ts happens to work. She is a nice girl - I had only met her the weekend before - but she basically glommed onto Toni when I introduced them, giving her her cell number and asking for Toni's in return. Needless to say, I think Toni gave her a fake one...

When we got home, Toni and Angela started in on my Absolute, while I stubbornly stuck to my steady light beer consumption. In about a half an hour, Angela, who only weighs about 125 lbs by the way, was passed out on the floor! Toni weighs about the same but she has a bit more tolerance than Angela, not to mention that when they were swigging from the bottle, she was only taking little sips while Angela was guzzling. After Toni helped Angela toss her cookies (and she didn't spill a crumb either) and get into bed, Toni and I stayed up for a while longer talking about various girly issues - love, boys, transition schedules, etc. It was really energizing to talk candidly and share experiences (and do so in person) with someone who is in the same general place as me transition-wise and has the same sort of basic philosophy and outlook on life. We are different in a lot of other ways, but I think (and hope she feels the same way) that we became friends that night. so endeth parte deux...(part thrice is the last of this series, I promise :-)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

couple articles for you to read


Sunday, June 05, 2005

visit from some New England chicas (pieza uno)

This past weekend my humble home was graced with a visit from my dear friend Angela (she was my party partner in Boston), along with her friend (and now mine), Toni. I can't say enough about how cool these girls are. They were perfect guests and we had a ton of fun, despite the fact that the party scene up here just plain sucks, especially on a holiday weekend...

The transdynamic duo arrived friday afternoon from points east and we quickly sat down to some beers and girl chatter; to catch up/get to know each other and plan out the evening's festivities. We settled on a trip south down to Albany and the straight/gay mixed club called Waterworks - in my opinion the best dance option around these rural parts. I had arranged earlier that my statuesque, flaxen-haired friend Kelly would meet us out there as well.

From my perspective, however, there was one major glitch: the initial laser treatment I had survived only 2 days before made shaving and getting rid of the blatantly dark beard shadow impossible! The hairs had basically been mushified and simply did not come off during multiple close shaves. Toni had tried to warn me on IM the day before, but I thought it might still come off. Needless to say Toni was right and I looked horrible. I was utterly mortified, especially to have someone meet me like this! I got over it tho. I swallowed my vanity a little, said fuck it, and with the help of a thick, goopy layer of Toni's cool concealer stuff, I looked, in dark lighting, like a woman with a decent body who has an out of control facial hair problem. I was wearing my pink jeans, black cami top with mesh overlay, and black biker boots.

With Angela as our designated driver for the night we managed to find our way downtown and to the club without major incident. The lower level bar area was the usual mix of old farts and college kids and upstairs in the dance area hadn't gotten going yet. After a drink or two however the dancing did pick up and a very old, practically toothless man asked me to dance. He sort of appeared out of nowhere right on my shoulder, mumbling in an almost unintelligible voice and I instinctively turned the offer down. Toni felt sorry for the guy and offered to dance with him in my stead (she is such a softy at heart). Soon thereafter we were joined by Kelly and we all joined the growing population on the floor. Over the course of the next few hours all four of us managed to get hit on by several mostly gay men and Angela and Toni somehow both lost an earring. They were also dancing barefoot. I only stepped on Toni's toe with my two left feet once :-)

We left sometime around 3 am with Kelly talking animatedly with a nice gentleman and assurances she could get home. It was about that time that some late night post-dance munchies kicked in. I was thinking of Taco Bell, but knew Angela had had a bad experience with them before, so we settled instead for a slightly different bad meal, Denny's, across the street on Central Ave...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Awash in yellow and green... Posted by Hello