Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Conservative media: The new bullies of Transgender people

Sabrina Samone, TMP

In the ancient Chinese military treatise, The Act of War, Sun Tzu states; “anyone who excels in defeating his enemies triumphs before his enemy’s threat becomes real.”

In July of 2012 Massachusetts Transgender Equal Rights Act became law; this is the same proactively leading state that was also the first on May 17, 2004 to legalize gay marriage.  Most recently, the “Guidance for Massachusetts Public Schools: Is Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment – Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity.”  There’s no surprise, why now, the conservative media is doing a Linda Blair head spin.  Unfortunately, considering the right wings ability to brainwash with Nazi style propaganda scare tactics, does present a problem for the lives and safety of every transperson in the country, especially in red states.  With the most recent events allowing trans-kids to use the appropriate bathrooms that best fit their presented identity.  This may seem like common sense but that is something continually lacking in most corners of conservative hate speeches and they’ve began to mobilize their efforts to bully…basically…transgender people.

They started simply last year with ads, attacking transgender people. Their ads are a common theme used first to gather the bigots.  A start to the New Year brought an Oregon LGBT equality group to start a petition, demanding fox end its transphobic news coverage. Who can forget comedian Robins William’s comedic character, Miss Doubtfire, being used to represent transgender people? Then we had to deal with sports casters on a sports channel spewing their hate.  Now conservative media and bloggers are in an up roar, that the state of Mass., Is trying to curve bullying and provide understanding for transgender youth.  They’ve already begun attacking CNN’s recent and compassionate story of a Colorado school’s decision to bar a 1st grader from using the restroom.  And what do they do when no one is listening to their news?  They get a few bigoted churches to preach hate from pulpits.

By now most that have been transgender for a few years and most lgbq people know, this is what they do.  Damn if anyone is going to be happy, emotionally sane and free, is their motto it seems.  But what are we going to do while they are preparing to attack every state in the union and prevent lgbt issues from even been discussed, are we just going to sit on the sidelines?  Create new labels for ourselves and continue to be divided by racial, sexual orientation and socio economic status, or continued apathy about anyone rights other than our own?  So many efforts are being made for anti-bully legislation.  Everyone in the media is crying ‘why is there so much bullying in the schools?’  The media, especially conservative talkers are to blame; they are the bullies, beating our kids in school.  They are the bully, that slips the noose around our necks and deny so many the rights to love whom they love.  Conservative media is the gun at the head of a teenager afraid to be who they are and the reason another trans-woman of color lay in a gutter with her throat slashed and I’m damn tired of what ‘they’ have to say about my one life given to me.

It just amazes me that the majority of lgbt people pay taxes for other peoples kids to go to school while they kill our young.  The countless stories of Republican conservative politician and religious leaders in sex scandals and swinger clubs but dictate to us the sanctity of marriage.  One of the reasons this country went to war against England was taxation without representation. It’s time for conservative media to be conservative and stop infringing on our rights.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013



At first glance she looks like the girl around the way, the neighborhood girl, the girl next door. According to her social network sites she idealized Lauren London and says she wanted to grow up and be like her. Starr studied dance and the Lou Conte Dance Hubbard Studio and at Visceral Dance Studio under Trae Turner, head director of Hip Hop Connexion, at dance crew in Chicago. After appearing in several dance shows she began appearing as a dancer in indie rap artist videos.

The world of hip hop has always been a male, macho dominated world. Regional rivalries of the past gave way to masochist, sometimes degrading lyrics of women as in “As Nasty as They Want to be” (Campbell, 1991), which with the behavior of the bad violated the Obscenity laws in Miami in 1991. The male dominated world of rap music gave little encouragement to anything to the contrary. Few women sat atop the dome of success in rap at once, Mc Lyte moved over for Queen Latifah, and then replaced with Missy Elliott. Then Lil Kim and my favorite song by her “Suck My Dick”, with a no hold bars approach like the men that preceded her. For different reason Lil Kim’s “ballsiness” was very refreshing to me as a Trans female. Most refreshing was her, in a man’s face not backing down approach that I admire. Still she was objectified to a degree in the industry.
This past July, Sidney Starr released a YouTube video apologizing she lied about sleeping with the rap artist Chingy. In the video Starr admits Chingy never hit it and that the story about dating him was false. Going on to say she did it for attention…because it’s hard being transgendered. Well she’s commended for coming forth with any truth, but wait did she say transgendered? It seems she did and now the transgender queen of rap dance video has become a rap vixen herself. Let’s remember that this is the rough macho world of rap music, which has come a long way or has it? Thankfully the lgbt community has seen the rise of its first major rap artist Cazwell, and even the hip hop mogul whose probably considered the grandfather of the hip hop industry, Russell Simmons in a recent statement in Details magazine ,referring to new hip hop artist Frank Ocean, “The fans are more tolerant,” and Andreana Clay the author of The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back, went on to say in Details, “There’s always been a ‘queer’ presence in hip-hop. The magazine goes on to mention other lgb artist.
While the upper echelons of the hip hop industry maybe so opening, we can only hope with fingers cross for the future success of Sidney Starr as she climbs the ladder of the macho world of rap. The urbandaily’s recent article on Starr went so far as to say she has proven by showing her birth certificate, that indeed she was born a man. It seems some in the hip hop industry are still having shell shock. Even if she did come out as a transsexual as a hoax would that actually say more than her being Trans as to how far we’ve come? Imagine a celebrity claiming to be transsexual to get ahead wow that would be interesting, but for now we will take her word. Unfortunately Starr has had to endure the new name ‘hip hop tranny’. Regardless of name, Sidney Starr proves in her latest release and video she’s got a new Pièce de résistance (showpiece), to give to the world of Hip Hop. Transmuseplanet salutes our sister and hopes she stays strong and focus because she does have a much needed improvement that’s needed in the hip hop world.
If you didn’t see Sidney’s new release posted as a feature video on homepage click here, the apology video click here
Sabrina Samone, writer for T.M.P


In the Life aims to expose social injustice by chronicling the true stories and real experiences of the LGBTQ
Community. Becoming Me trailed eight families with transgender and gender nonconforming children. In July they
Featured “In Conversation With”, a conversation with activist, writer, and transmuseplanet's choice for
Number one most influential transperson, Janet Mock and model Isis King. Both transgender women in the media
Discuss Trans depictions of Transwomen on television.

Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 Maybe the year of the T

By Sabrina Samone, TMP

Six weeks in and 2013 is beginning to look like it could be the year of the T. T being slang for your Truth had been used by sections of the Trans community for years to describe our biological gender. Later to be used more widely to imply the truth of any situation. In 2012 on the new sitcom, The New Normal, the character Rocky tells Jane not to let a guy know her T adding, not to reveal her real intentions. This sly inclusion of an lgbt slang in a gay comedy with several other uses of gay lingo maybe inconsequential or could have been a hint to what’s to transpire.
2013 started with a bang for the transgender community in mainstream media. Starting with the end of the previous year when ‘The Donald’, made the decision to allow legally transgender females to compete in the Miss USA and Universe pageants, giving Trans-women everywhere a long desired goal; to enter, compete and have their beauty and talent judged not as a Trans-female but as any other woman. January 11th, 2013 +Kylan Wenzel became the first transgender to benefit from the new changes by competing in the Miss California, USA pageant. A week later, the most historical inauguration speech for lgbt people, possibly the nation, took place when re-elected President Barrack Obama mentioned Stonewall in the same context as Selma, Alabama. By doing so, he linked both riots as equal struggles for civil rights. The President is also now considering using an executive order to end discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
A bigger clue of the future came in smaller packages and in the form of an eleven year old Trans-youth named +Sadie, who touched the world with major media attention when she wrote a heartfelt letter to the POTUS about his lack of mentioning transgender people. The young future of Trans Society continued to make headlines last month as Barbara Walters revisited the story line of Jazz, now an outspoken twelve year old public speaker of transgender visibility. Then on February 10, the Showtime original series Shameless, introduced in its third season yet another to mainstream media by adding a recurring trans-youth character. This is the first continuing transgender role in television history. Just six weeks in and things are looking up, even under the major radars. Transgender people are influencing and shaping history in every field like never before.
Excellence in Advocacy
Several bloggers and writers continue to influence, featured and or receive creditable mentions in one of the most influential national papers, The Huffington Post; +Monica Roberts, +Toni Newman, +Kortney Ryan Ziegler, PHD, +Buck Angel and +Janet Mock are a few of many transgender people with featured stories covering a wide range of topics affecting the Trans community.
Breaking barriers in Politics
Though a few transgender have made attempts and even won elected seats as in the re-election of the Mayor of Silverton, Oregon, +Stu Rasmussen. This year transgender people worldwide were breaking barriers. Poland elected Parliament member +Anna Grodzka in 2011 and this year was nominated to deputy speaker of the house, a second first for Grodzka and Europe. In Ecuador, +Diane Rodriquez is attempting to become that country’s first transgender in congress. In the land of the lady boy, +Yollada “Nok” Suanyos won an elected seat against a major money candidate and continues her work as a leader of social justice and acceptance of Thailand’s transgender society as founder and chairperson of the Trans-female association of Thailand. In America next month, the people of NYC’s upper west side and Houston will have the chance to elect for the first time a transgender to city council seats. If elected, and reports are strongly suggesting so, they’d be one of the first to do so in any major US city. +Mel Wymore, a respected community leader is favored by the city’s transgender population for the city council seat in NYC. In Republican Party Mecca Texas, the push is on to elect that states first transgender, +Jenifer Rene Pool, to Houston’s City Council at Large Position 3 seat. Even a little progress is coming to my state of South Carolina. Stephen Colbert of the hit show The Colbert Report and Charleston native’s cis-gender (born female) sister, +Elizabeth Colbert Busch is campaigning for coastal South Carolina’s District One seat. Busch would be one of a very few and potentially, the most lgbtq friendly politician in this state’s history. I’ve proudly made a small donation to the last mentioned three candidates.
Many positive changes for transgender health continue. According to The American Psychiatric Association, transgender is no longer listed as being a mental disorder. For now we are listed with gender dysphoria, which means emotional stress related to gender identity. This is an end to 20 years listed as a mental disorder, yet work remains. California and Oregon leads the nation now in providing insurance for transgender health issues. Chicago is a leading city in medical and well being services for transgender. Chicago House’s Translife Project provides employment support programs, fixed and scattered site housing for transgender persons and linkage to culturally-competent healthcare and social services. Lurie Children’s Hospital opened the regions first gender identity clinic, providing a professional one stop for families in transition nationwide. Chicago is not only providing health for trans-youth but now the Old Wrigleyville police station will be turned into one of the nation’s few lgbt senior housing complex.
Campus Pride named the nation’s top Trans friendliest Colleges and Universities. Brown University now allows it’s student health plan to extend to cover sex-change surgery beginning in August. Brown is not the first but the 36th college now to do so. Others are Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, Penn, Emory, Northwestern, the University of California, Yale and others. Several other colleges and University around the country begin to address transgender issues from campus quality of life to providing transgender public restrooms like The College of Charleston, where areas that are made known only to the transgender students are called safezone.
+Lana Wachowski, a transgender director/producer made headlines with the gender-bending box office hit ‘Cloud Atlas’. During NYC’s fashion week, transgender celebrity, model and now fashion designer +Isis King , has débuted her new collection. This year TS actress +Laverne Cox will be producing a new television project. What started as a rumble in beautiful Brazil, +Lea T leads a face of a now growing list of transgender supermodels. Fashion houses Benetton and Givenchy; lead the pack with top transgender models. +Jack Ori, Toni Newman, and +Ryan Sallans are a list of transgender authors making headlines and best sellers list so far this year. Even American Idol has the transgender fever with  +Jada Davila amazing the audience. Not to be out done, cable network is showing support with the first ever recurring transgender character on Showtime’s Series Shameless and Sundance Channel is making even bigger news by currently developing the first ever scripted drama series to ever focus as its main character a transgender man. Also in development, a reality show examining the lives of a group of Transgender musicians; their work, lives and stories from the creators of Taxi Cab Confessions.
And in weeks…a first, never before imagined business venture happens. Chrysalis lingerie has developed lingerie specifically made for transgender women and if that’s not getting you thinking the finish line of the struggle is in site then maybe the fact the company is transgender owned will. The line will reveal the answer and forever bury the old ancient Chinese secret of tucking; hiding the candy, no more jail house tuck or bulges from our unwanted birth defect. Also another new transgender entrepreneurial venture has been introduced, the two-knotty-girls and its line of handmade jewelry debuts. Also recent is‘s transgender pride clothing. And the fun and exciting legalize Tran’s company with its fun and trendy; shirts, buttons, and key chains of the wildly popular new phrase “Someone I love is Trans” items, also found on at Zazzle.
Believe it or not even transgender in religion is becoming an extremely hot topic of conversation in the past few weeks. Books on the Native American teachings of the two spirit people are on spiritual top sellers list. The Kabbalah is an ancient Jewish mystical teaching. Becoming increasing popular with transgender people do to the teaching and belief that God is both male and female. Even some ministers in Christianity are telling untold stories of genderless (or eunuch) characters in the bible.

Those are a few of the positive happenings in the first six weeks of 2013 for the transgender community. Of course, now more than ever, none of us need get complacent. Along with progress, also have come more negative critics in past six weeks than in the past year already. Evangelicals are now finding ways, along with their own personal interpretations against Trans people. Even pushing legislators to make legislations targeting us and adding more hate to increasingly newly used terms like Transphobia. Murders, suicides and assaults on lgbt people are alarmingly on the rise so far this year, as national political debates of lgbt issues push everyone closer to what seems at times like a cultural war. We’re also forced more so than ever to see our own communities mirrored reflection of imperfection. Making us answer the question, are we willing to hinder progress by not facing the internal divisions of race, sexual orientation and cis-gender (including gay and lesbian’s) femphobia views on gender, that without continued promotion of Trans-unity, threatens to eradicate any positive progress the Trans community has made. After Gays and Lesbians have accomplished their goal of marriage equality, how many of us are willing to leave our livelihood in their hands? Especially considering how many in the Trans Society feel our issues have been brushed under the carpet for years in favor of theirs. Why should we expect the gay and lesbians to take up or agenda? We should continue uniting and building a foundation of our own political empowerment of Transpeople’s, as they have done. Creating and supporting our own political leaders. Beginning with the two current Trans city council candidates, donations of a dollar or yet a quarter from nearly every Trans person would be more support than those candidates have received yet. Pushing the Trans cause one step further from the past of cis-gender bigotry, division and one step closer to a continued brighter more fulfilling future. A future where one day as a Transpeople’s, we could truly be seen, by the world, how we see ourselves , the person we are inside. Isn’t that the very reason and meaning of our transitioning?

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Vote Mel Wymore For NYC Council 2013

The Rise of the Transgenderation?

Vote Elizabeth Colbert Busch For SC Congressional District one March 19 2013

Jack Ori: Transman and one of the Carolina's Most Respected Motivational coaches/speakers releases book.

The College of Charleston to install gender neutral bathrooms, also addresses issues for students who don’t fall in line with standard gender norms.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Vote Mel Wymore a Democratic Trans-man with a plan

Excerpt from
Mel Wymore is a proud Upper West Sider who stands firmly for progressive values of social justice, economic fairness, environmental stewardship, and civic engagement. As a Democrat running for New York City Council, he is out to do what he has done for over 20 years: achieve real, tangible results for the people who call the Upper West Side—and New York City—their home.
Mel is a natural problem-solver and longterm thinker: he holds a master's degree in systems engineering from the University of Arizona. His 30-year career encompasses strategic planning, large-scale project management, and executive leadership in manufacturing, high-tech development, nonprofits, and community action.
Mel has chaired Manhattan Community Board 7, the Board of the West Side Y, and the PTA of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. He created leadership and job-training programs for teens, health and wellness programs for seniors, and co-founded community organizations including the Stratford Arms Meal Program, Citizens for an Accessible West Side, the Carbon Squeeze, and the West 70th Street Block Association.
Among his proudest achievements is the reshaping of Riverside Center, a three million square foot mega-development. He secured 600,000 square feet of permanent affordable housing; a new, 100,000-square foot K–8 public school for the district; and $20 million for parks and playgrounds. He also marshaled public and private resources to reconstruct the 59th Street Recreation Center.
Throughout his time as a community leader, Mel's passion for building vibrant, sustainable community has earned the recognition and respect of a wide array of Upper West Side organizations. As the city council member from the sixth district, Mel will serve as he always has: by bringing people together to identify real solutions, and then seeing them through to completion.
Mel Wymore (trans-male) running for NYC city council seat in 2013, he could use the community's support: like, share and spread the word. A good man with a good platform making a difference for the "people" and just happens to be one of us....

So reblog if you support transgender issues, trans men or a real decent politician for the people. Show your support by spreading the news of Mel Wymore's Campaign.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

TMP's Book of The Month------Peninsual of Lies: A True Story of Mysterious Birth and Taboo Love by Edward Ball

Feburary 17th, 2013's Book of the Month

A few centuries ago there was no South or North Carolina, it was just Carolina. Before the American Revolution it was known as the Province of Carolina and soon due to a land dispute divided. North Carolina created a central city to both Carolinas, Charlotte. A major chunk of the metro area today actually lay south of the North Carolina state line in South Carolina. Charlotte was spared, due to not being relevant, during the civil war. This was a blessing and a curse for Charlotte. Charleston had been one of the largest cities in the United States and since Charlotte was spared the blow, people in Carolina flocked there to restart their lives. Today you can tell who isn’t a native or hadn’t lived in the Carolinas long enough by the fact that when you say Charlotte they think Charleston and vice versa. Fly on a passenger plane over the Mid-Atlantic States and more than not you will hear the pilot refer to “Char-North” and “Char-South.” The former refers to Charlotte and the latter to Charleston. And Char-South is the primary setting for Edward Ball’s Peninsula of Lies, an examination of the life and allegations of Gordon Langley Hall, who spent the later portion of life as Dawn Langley Hall.
In 2004 I arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, a town that seemed to receive internal pains at thoughts of embracing the future. No one seems to propose a new project in building or city planning without nearly a year of opposition. This makes the process of getting something done extremely slowl. After a few years being here, I find that friends that knew me before as a quick on my feet type of person, tell me how I seem more go with the flow now. If I am it’s no surprise, the unofficial motto of the low country (area from just south of Savannah GA to just north of Mount Pleasant SC and all east of God forsaken Columbia and has Charleston in the center), we take it slowly here. While this true to changes of aesthetics, socially the area is quite cosmopolitan. Here it’s full of social scandals, not only those of today but of a cherished history of scandal. It’s expected here but to speak of them openly is scandalous itself. Even as we know lgbt people everywhere else in America may use the word fabulous excessively, it’s more often heard excessively here as scandalous, seriously.

The story of Dawn Langley Hall and the book Peninsula of Lies was told to me by an elderly patient. She knew and remembered hearing the stories. When I read it and researched more about the main characters, I must say I was somewhat surprised. In 1969, NYC was dealing with cops raiding gay bars and in California Harvey Milk had yet to arrive to tell gay and lesbian kids that were alone, to pack their bags and head to San Francisco. At that moment in time culturally, there was little difference in California and Arizona’s lgbt communities. To my surprise, reading this novel, I was astonished to find that Charleston, South Carolina seemed to enjoy a rather vibrant lgb (seemed near unideal for T) society of want to be gay aristocracy. They enjoyed their own central neighborhoods and known transvestite prostitutions, that was very well known yet ignored in Charleston at the time. And very interesting is the view of racism and not just in main stream society. That much is to be expected for 1969 and in the south, but the dynamics of race and the lgbt community of that time ( I was shocked by interviews of Gay Billy Camden, who says the gays would have nothing to do with Dawn, cause she entertained Black Queens, omg really?) and how Dawn Langley Hall brought the topic to the tables of every gay household in downtown Charleston.
Hall, the son of a servant girl at Sissinghurst Castle in England, made his way to America and ultimately to New York City in his twenties. He became a biographical author of some renown and befriended a number of dowagers, one of whom left him a small, very comfortable fortune. Hall's windfall permitted him to buy and furnish a mansion in Charleston, South Carolina. As Ball notes near the end of this extremely well written novel, Hall reinvented himself a number of times throughout his life, and his move to Charleston at the age of 40 in 1962 permitted him to slip into the role of the Southern gentleman and author. Hall's world changed irrevocably, however, when in 1968 he underwent sex reassignment surgery and presented him, now herself to Charleston, no longer as Gordon, but as Dawn Hall. It was Hall's contention, one that she put forth until her death in 2000, that the surgery had been corrective: she had been misidentified as a boy at birth. Hall's dramatic catharsis would have been enough at that place and time to give her a permanent notoriety. But she broke new ground when three months later and with much fanfare, she married a young black mechanic, decades her junior, subsequently presented herself as pregnant, and brought her daughter Natasha into the world. These circumstances heralded the beginning of the end of her fame and fortune and resulted in a slow but inevitable slide into notoriety.

The catalyst for PENINSULA OF LIES occurred when Ball was contacted by Hall in 1999 concerning a piece of antique furniture she had owned that had previously passed from Ball's family. Ball answered the letter and intended to follow up on the matter but failed to do so before Hall's passing. Ball was of course aware of who Hall was, but his missed opportunity to meet with her led him to wonder if, perhaps, Hall had an ulterior motive for contacting him, if she had perhaps wanted yet another sounding board for her story. Ball accordingly commenced the research of Hall's life.
That research, as much as what Ball discovered, forms the basis for PENINSULA OF LIES. His search for the truth, obscured not only by time but also by Hall's exaggerations, half-truths and outright misrepresentations, led him throughout Charleston, to London, California and back again. The result is an intriguing examination of a life lived half in daylight, half in twilight. Ball is an extremely interesting character in his own right, and his occasional, wonderfully snotty commentary concerning Charleston is not to be missed, even if one finds oneself wholly in disagreement with it.
This following is an excerpt from the blog that reminded me of this book I read shortly after I had arrived here, it’s pointedly titled Charleston Revisited, as it was with me reading this blog, a revisit to the Peninsula of lies. Mark Jones, a writer in Charleston, also has written more novels about the scandalous past of Charleston. This and other stories are also featured in the books Wicked Charleston, Vol. 2: Prostitutes, Politics and Prohibition, which is sold anywhere there are books to be sold in Charleston. It is also a good read as well.
Charleston has been described as America's most aristocratic city and it may well be, since aristocracy in Charleston has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with heritage, family and tradition. Charleston has always been a city that worships its past and is blindly proud of its Southern heritage. During the turbulent 1960s, Charleston was a city completely out of step with the times. Most people had yet to install air conditioning, in a city where today living without air conditioning is unfathomable.
In September 1962, a young English writer named Gordon Hall arrived in Charleston by chauffeured limousine. Gordon was accompanied by his parrot Marilyn, and his two pedigreed Chihuahuas - Miss Nellie and Annabel-Eliza
Dawn Langley Simmons before she died in mid 90's

Gordon moved to arts-oriented Charleston with money to burn and a plan to take the city by storm. He had written several books, including biographies of Princess Margaret, Jacqueline Kennedy, and a critically acclaimed volume on Mary Todd Lincoln. Gordon soon became part of the social elite in Charleston, throwing lavish parties and attending most of the exclusive social occasions in the city. He claimed friendship with Hollywood legends Bette Davis, Joan Crawford and writer Pearl S. Buck. His godmother was famed British actress Dame Margaret Rutherford, who lavished motherly affection on him.

At age sixteen Gordon decided to leave England. He took a job for a year as a teacher on an Ojibwa Indian reservation in Ontario. He also got a job as the obituary writer for the Winnepeg Free Press. He then moved to New York City where he lived with his distant cousin, Isabel Whitney. “Visiting Isabel's home was like entering some Tiffany cathedral,” Gordon later wrote. Gordon moved into the forty-room Whitney mansion at 12 West Tenth Street, taking over most of the top floor.
Through Isabel's patronage, Gordon was introduced to the elite of New York Society, including English actress Dame Margaret Rutherford, who had recently won an Oscar as best supporting actress for the film The V.I.P.s. Like Isabel, Rutherford and her husband, Stringer Davis, were childless, and soon Gordon was calling them Mother Rutherford and Father Stringer. Gordon soon became quite a personality in New York art and social circles.
In 1961, Gordon went looking for a house in the south with the intention of moving Isabel to the warmer climate to enjoy her final days. Gordon purchased a dilapidated mansion at 56 Society Street in Charleston. Two weeks later, February 2, 1962, Isabel Whitney died in her bed in New York. When her will was read, Gordon had inherited the New York mansion on West Tenth Street, art, jewelry, furniture and stock in Edison, General Electric, Standard Oil, and Sears. All told it was more than $2 million. “I was surprised to have been left so much,” he commented.

Gordon took the money, moved to Charleston by chauffeured limousine and restored the Society Street house in Ansonborough. Today Ansonborough is one of the city’s most prestigious communities, however when Gordon moved in, it was just shaking off a century of neglect. From its antebellum heyday, Ansonborough had taken a steady downward spiral so that by the 1960s, many of its mansions had been converted into tenements, flophouses, and shabby apartments. There were small corner groceries and tobacco shops. The neighborhood was a mixture of blacks, blue collar whites and a significant population of gay Charleston men - florists, hair stylists, decorators and restaurateurs.
One of Gordon's neighbors, Billy Camden, lived in Ansonborough in the 1960s. Camden was the owner of the gay bar, Camden's Tavern, in the center of the city. He claims that the gay couples really restored Ansonborough. I was on the Board of Directors for the Ansonborough Historic Foundation - it was made of 80 percent gay men! There was a gay couple or person in almost every home. They should have called it 'Queensborough' instead Ansonborough’s reputation didn't rest only on the presence of a large gay population. There also were several houses of prostitution in the neighborhood. The first night in his new home Gordon was awakened at midnight by a group of drunken sailors. Seeing the lights from the chandeliers in the front room, the sailors had mistaken the newly restored home for a just-opened bordello.
Within a month Gordon had settled in his home. Gordon claims that the invitations from would-be matchmakers kept pouring in . . . leading hostesses gave suppers that I really dreaded. Always some poor husbandless girl was purposely placed beside me at the table. When I showed no particular interest in the feminine sex, there were those who decided that I must be homosexual.
Billy Camden described his impressions of Gordon: When he first came, everyone accepted him. He was small-framed, very effeminate guy with a thick English accent. At the beginning, the people connected with historic Ansonborough included him. But as soon as it got out what was going on - with all the blacks he entertained - that was the end of it! He would always be with a group of black, screaming queens. Charleston people would have nothing to do with him. He was an insult to the gay community; we were never friends.
Nicky, another Ansonborough man claimed that Gordon “patrolled Meeting Street at night. He loved black men almost as much as he liked old ladies with money.”
In the late spring of 1967 Gordon began a secret love affair with a black man named John-Paul Simmons. Secret because this was Charleston - the capital of slavery, the city that organized the Confederate States of America, the city that fired the first shot of the War Between the States. In the Charleston of 1967, blacks and whites did not engage romantically or particularly troubling, a homosexual affair.
For several months the two carried on their furtive courtship. John-Paul was poor, black and uneducated, a brutish, bulldog of a man. Gordon was rich, white, cultured and elite. He was frail, with fine features, gentle and quiet. A a more odd couple could hardly be found. But, Gordon was in love.
On December 11, 1967, Gordon Hall arrived at John Hopkins, in Baltimore. During the five days he spent at the Gender Identity Clinic he met with seven doctors. By the end of the week Gordon was placed on estrogen tablets and told to dress as a woman immediately, in preparation for sexual reassignment surgery. He returned to Charleston and while in the house he began to dress the part of a woman. He also underwent electrolysis to eliminate body hair and John-Paul began calling Gordon “Dawn” - to signal the dawn of their new life.

Gordon's first public appearance as a woman was sitting in a car at a drive-in restaurant. Next, he went shopping at the Piggly Wiggly on Broad Street. Soon, he was making daily trips around the city in dresses and heels. However, there was a legal issue to deal with. Charleston had a city ordinance that prohibited one gender as going out in public dressed as the other. Gordon was afraid there would be an incident and he would be arrested. Gordon hired a lawyer to alert the authorities that he was going though the process of having sex change surgery so he would not be arrested.
On September 23, 1968, after successful surgery, Gordon woke from anesthesia in room B-403 of John Hopkins Hospital as a woman - Dawn Pepita Langley Hall.
Dawn was welcomed back by many in Charleston society who tried to understand and be sympathetic. After all, she still had a lot of money and a good family background. There were persistent rumors of her affairs with several prominent Charleston men. The dinner invitations now included seating arrangements next to eligible bachelors. But not everyone was so accommodating. Many who had welcomed Gordon into their homes now shunned Dawn when they passed on the street or encountered her in the pews at St. Philip's church. Even so, the dissenters were in the minority . . . until Dawn and John-Paul announced their engagement.
At that time, the marriage of a black man and white woman was a crime in South Carolina. The state constitution prohibited the “marriage of a white person with a Negro or mulatto or a person who shall have one-eighth or more Negro blood.” However, in 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled a similar Virginia law unconstitutional, so their marriage looked possible. Dawn hired a local African-American attorney named Benard Fielding to help obtain the license.

Charleston's first 20th century inter-racial marriage of record was set for January 22, 1969. John-Paul was hanged in effigy and several of their dogs were poisoned. Dawn (and Gordon) had always attended St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Charleston, the oldest Anglican congregation in America south of Virginia, established in 1680. A bomb threat to the church convinced Dawn to hold the ceremony in her home on Society Street. In the Charleston News and Courier, the marriage was written up on the obituary page.

On the day of the ceremony, the local radio stations alerted listeners that Charleston's wedding of the year (or any year) was to take place. A crowd gathered on Society Street. Curious onlookers mixed on the street with dozens of reporters, everybody shouting, jeering and cheering. There was a heavy police presence, alert for any violence. Dawn recalled that “the street was packed, their bodies rippling like waves.”
Dawn had spent an incredible amount of money in a twelve month period. The wedding, a trip to Europe, and the Ford Thunderbird she had purchased as John-Paul’s wedding gift. When he totaled that car, she bought him a second, and a year later, she purchased a third Thunderbird. Dawn refurbished her mother-in-law’s house. John-Paul also told Dawn he had decided he wanted to fish for a living, so she bought him a twenty-seven foot trawler, which he used for drunken parties. The boat ended up abandoned in the marsh along the Cooper River. In the meantime, John-Paul was continually unfaithful and fathered an illegitimate son another white woman. He was diagnosed with chronic schizophrenia, which often caused delusions and hallucinations. John-Paul began to hear voices and having conversations with a three-eyed woman from Mars he called “Big Girl.”
Dawn's extravagant life proved too much for Charleston’s closeted gay community. Her interracial marriage also sparked racism in the black community. As Jack Hitt wrote: Typically when one crosses forbidden lines: interracial marriage, announcing one is gay, taking a lover from another religion or class, or even changing one’s sex at least there is a community on the other side waiting for you. But Dawn charged across so many borders at once that she slipped into a country where she was the only inhabitant. In 1995, Dawn published her third memoir, Dawn: A Charleston Legend. Her first two, Man Into Woman and All For Love, had been published more than twenty years before. For several years she had been living in North Charleston in a federally subsidized housing project. She published a novel, She-Crab Soup, which managed to sell seventeen copies in its first year publication.
Dawn Pepita Langley Hall Simmons, the former Gordon Hall, died quietly on September 18th, 2000, of effects from Parkinson’s disease. The funeral took place at the chapel of the J. Henry Stuhr Funeral Home. Her body was cremated.
Back to me
I really enjoyed the books history. The fact this was happening in 69 during the stonewall riots, the racial tensions of the civil rights era and that it was here in the south, Charleston South Carolina. The delicate city that likes to keep their scandals in novels or behind closed doors. Dawn Langley came through and well upset the children….I hope you enjoy it. The pictured link is below if you choose to purchase it. Aslo the Mark Jones novel for other scandals and Dawn Langley’s own novel Dawn: A Charleston Legend

Peninsula of Lies at

Friday, February 22, 2013


We’ve all been told that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In our modern world now one may also add, if you have the money you can have the looks, when you don’t the results can be deadly. Many Transpeople’s in the beginning of their transition are eager to see the results of the estrogen or testosterone injections. After spending a number of years trapped in a body we may have grown to hate. We can easily see how so many of us, holding a syringe of estrogen or testosterone, see it as our magic potion that will bring the happy ending to our long suffered story. Corazon Aquino once said, “Faith is not simply a patience that passively suffers until the storm is past. Rather, it is a spirit that bears things - with resignations, yes, but above all, with blazing, serene hope.”
In the late seventies and early eighties most Transpeople’s, more specifically Transwomen, being part of the greater LGBT community found themselves as entertainers in countless gay bars around the country. As one friend, a 35 year veteran of female impersonation has told me, “In the early days, there wasn’t a gay bar around that didn’t have showgirls.” What seems to be the norm in gay club culture in the early eighties maybe now considered passé? Whichever you choose to believe the point she was making was that for many Transwomen performing as female impersonators, competing at the local, state and national pageant systems was the only way or maybe most profitable way Transwomen were able to make a living and enjoy being who they are. In that atmosphere, and this is only my hypothesis, of competition it seems the need for instant and fast results in appearance may have begun. With weeks before a national pageant, many transgender showgirls would increase the work of in house, not license doctors to perform medical silicone injections. The temptation to stand before your peers in competition with a near over night increase in bust size or enhanced facial features has led many Transwomen over the years to disfigure their bodies.

Over the years, the iron curtain of discrimination has begun to be lifted for many in the Trans community. Doors once closed and limit young Transwomen to ballrooms, gay bars cabarets and the streets now many are seen in the work place, Universities and the media. The need for quick results unfortunately also has increased and in recent years we’ve witnessed several top media circulated horror stories of silicone injections. One the most memorable maybe O’Neal Morris, the crudely nicknamed fix a flat nurse, who after an allegation by a female victim Shatarka Nuby, 31, reported that her skin became hot and turned black after the injections harden under her skin, O’Neal was later arrested. “Investigators determined that Morris injected substances such as bathroom caulk, cement, super glue, fix-a-flat and mineral oil into the bodies of her victims,” Sheriff’s office told NBC6 South Florida.

“She once told Nuby’s aunt she was using silicon from home depot.”
Alleged 'toxic tush' nurse victim Shatarka Nuby died in March after police say she paid thousands of dollars to have her buttocks, hips, breasts and thighs injected with a deadly mix of substances including fix-a-flat by fake doctor O’Neal Morris.
The 31-year-old mother of three died while incarcerated in a Tallahassee jail, Florida after what medical examiners called "massive systemic silicone migration" as a consequence of cosmetic silicone injections performed back in 2007 and 2008.
Nuby was in jail for identity theft, not for anything related to the booty injections.
Morris was facing charges of practicing medicine without a license and causing bodily injury to other women but she is now facing manslaughter charges over Nuby's death and is being held in jail.

Shatarka Nuby died due to injections The duchess aka O’Neal Morris

Two women lives forever altered for a fast quick fix to beauty. Even as we are informed as a society more and more of the horrors of silicone injections there are still many supporters and those still willing to roll the dice? In my community a friend had begun transition; she was not seeing the results she wanted fast enough. After months of other friends and I warning her of the dangers, she still did not see she could be a victim from silicone. Finally I said, since she was the girl that relied heavily on the opinion of males to ask a man. If it was beauty she was after, I realized there was nothing another woman could tell her that she wouldn’t doubt. Thankfully she had her eyes open drastically; she’d report that countless men told her of previous girls they have dated who had taken silicone injections. As she puts it, their barrage of negative comments about such Transwomen totally prejudiced her against the procedure. After two years of constant hormone therapy she’s now a natural 36c and very pleased. Again I’m reminded by wise words, ConfuciusIt does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”

Given time most transgender on hormone therapy will see redistribution of fat to the breast and hip area and given time will get the desired results. I have often heard you can at least expect to be half the size of your mother. Fact or myth the point is very few women have the same breast size or curves and how we develop is based a lot on staying with a hormone regime, exercise and good nutrition. In time you can have thebody you’ve always felt on the inside but rushing the process can leave you permantley scared for life. My friend struggles with what now to tell the younger transgender females she meets, and can’t seem to get them to understand the consequences of getting silicone injections. This effort led us to find Sinjuan K. Cassadine who has recently released a touching series of vlogs about her troubles with silicone. After serving time for the accidental death of her own friend whom she injected silicone she shares her own story about living with that pain and her own problems she now faces with the shifting silicone in her body.
Sinjuan K. Cassadine’s videos on YouTube see below

She’s commended for coming forth with her story. A warning to rushing the process of beauty and reminder that the most lasting beauty is the beauty inside that we have to share with the world.

By Sabrina Samone, T.M.P writer

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Surveillance state?

I’m a big fan of MSNBC’s +Up with Chris Hayes. On his Nov. 18th 2012 show the topic was about the surveillance state which got me to thinking about big brother. If you’ve never heard the term, Big Brother, I ask you to review the novel or movie of George Orwell’s 1984. Basically it's about a huge government that spies on the citizens of the country. Interestingly I was alive and well in 1984, though very, very, very young, maybe one too many very, but whose counting. My point is, to me I think there were signs in 1984 of Big brother. Obviously it’s 2012 now, and I can’t honestly say I think the same way. I have friends who can give you the updates on every major conspiracy theory out there and I’ll admit in the moment of watching or talking about them, I may get caught up in the moment but if there’s a question. Do I live my life as if I have proof of half of those conspiracy theories? I’d have to say no. But I can’t ignore countless people I know, for what seems a conspiracy theory, is very real. They will not under any circumstance have a facebook, twitter or even a myspace account. I’ve been given every reason from- they’re from the devil -to I sneak around too much- don’t want anyone(wife) knowing what I’m up to -to yes they say “Big brother is watching.”
Now let me also state , I’m a staunch-unashamed and proud liberal.It’s hard not to be when you’re a multiracial-transsexual living in the south. Though I can see some need to be conservative fiscally, my huge portion of liberalism is based mostly in social issues. Now unfortunately I believe that today’s Republican party is not an answer to either, as I’m convinced they are beyond any help now given to their total sell out to big corporation-business and their own personal greed. The tea party is a prime example of that and don’t just brush it off. If you really research whose behind that emergence it can’t be denied, getting one over on the public, seems to be the primary goal. Try viewing Alexandria Pelosi’s documentary, friends of God documentary or a great article on the billionaires behind the tea party movement and their alterative motives by Suzie-Q's Truth and Justice Blog. And one can begin to see why the Republican Party is now only the party of the top 1%. I say top, so the misguided folks making less than $200,000 a year and think they are part of the makers that the democratic party wants to take something from, will not for a second be mistaken on whom I’m referring to. The top 1% opposed to the “I may still one day be a one percenter”.
So if you may have guessed who I voted for in this previous election. Yes there is no doubt I voted for, whom I refer to as the people’s president, President Barack Obama. Let me also state for many reasons I want bother getting into in this particular blog post. But two NOT being that he is black or even simply just because he’s a Democrat. I actually lean more Libertarian because as I said previously, I do see a need for being conservative fiscally but I don’t see the republican party as an answer as I previously stated. The Libertarian party has been very outspoken how much more conservative fiscally they are, than the Republican party, by stating that they will cut spending that the Republican party seems to not want to cut for military and the wealthy. The difference to me is in those two parties, is one will cut spending for everyone but their big interest groups and the other, the Libertarian, will cut everyone from the federal govt.-the wealthy- the military and no breaks for wall street. In that sense they are more conservative and more justified in my opinion. And though I have no problems with the spending of the Democratic Party, that I feel at least does look out for the 98% of us, it’s their liberal social views that get my attention, and support. It’s the Libertarian party that dares to go even more liberal on lgbt rights even gender role equality-legalizing marijuana and the topic of this post, cutting back on government involvement in personal life. This is why that a discussion after General Petra’s indiscretions have come to light and the role of the FBI in the emails which has lead to the great show today by Chris Hayes’s show Up about a surveillance state, makes the Libertarian views even more needed in government. If only to bring more of a check and balance of the two parties now that seem to just play us back and forth like a ping pong game. And with a party that has transgender issues even on their tongue and not just as an accent to the gay movement, but the rights of people living their lives as they choose or even how they dress, really spoke to me. Recently former Governor Gary Johnson spoke on issues of transgender issues. One of his first press releases was about equality within the lgbt community. My only negative with Gary Johnson was that he went more after President Obama, whom I feel, on social issues he has more in common than Mitt Romney and the republican party that has constantly showed no support other than the log cabin republicans, whom the transgender community get no support from and the evidence was even noticed in a boycott protest of the HRC for their support of a version of EDNA, Employment Non-Discrimination Act. The HRC once supporter of all lgbt, now due to the efforts of the gay republican movement of the log cabins’ it’s clearer the T must stand for itself due to the lack of support from the gay right.
So while I will continue to support the Democratic Party and President Obama fiscal and social ideas, if there is a question that government is stepping more and more into our personal lives, I see myself more looking at the Libertarian Party. Most will feel at a national level they have no hope. I’d implore readers of my blog to think locally, since all politics are local, look into the ideas of the libertarian candidates in your local areas. Write and ask them their views and amount of support on transgender issues and I repeat “transgender” issues, which the party has showed an equal amount of support as the gay equality. And if you’re worried about the surveillance of the government take your time to read up on the Libertarian party and views they have shared about privacy long before this previous election, back in the Ron Paul days and next time you go to vote, think, is big brother watching my vote?

Sabrina Samone, TMP

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

EXPOSED: Ex-Gay organization PFOX Transgender spokesperson exposed by former roommate

By Sabrina Samone, Trans Muse Planet

No one can deny being LGB or T is not a simple, easy life. That not so easy life can seem near impossible to endure in the bible belt of America. While I’ve blogged and celebrated stories of kids being accepted and protected by a families love, there are too many unheard stories of the opposite. The stories of parents abandoning and disowning a child due to them being Gay, Lesbian or Transgender, are too many and familiar. What happens to that child beyond them being or not being embraced by an accepting, supportive lgbt community? That desire to still have their parents’ love rarely dissipates. How does one psychologically and emotionally cope with the loss of the love of one’s parents? When a parent has become deceased, there is a normal painful grieving process. How do you process a parent who remains alive yet as absent as one who has passed away?

Recently I received a news feed titled, ‘Former Transgender tells his story.’ I had seen these types of stories and politely deleted. I’ve heard of the groups like Exodus that convert Gay men back to heterosexuals. I remember when, Darrell (Kim Avis to me), first connected with them. Usually the victims of these organizations backslide as it’s called. They’re forgiven and re-entered into more intense therapy over and over again until, some form of self acceptance, regardless how painful, inevitably has to be reached. Leaving scars of a life not spent and yet tormented.

Since the Victorian age many in the name of science, medicine or religion, have tried in earnest to alter sexual attitudes in others deemed unnatural by the ones producing the procedures. Today, we call it conversion therapy; a range of pseudo-scientific treatments that aim to change sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. The American Psychiatric Association has condemned psychiatric treatments such as reparative or conversion therapy. Many years ago, these treatments involved Electroconvulsive therapy (electro-shock), and continue to find support and funding from right-wing fundamentalist groups, despite evidence that being lgbt is not a mental disorder. The longstanding consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions is that homosexuality per se is a normal and positive variation of sexual orientation. Recently the association has modifies it’s standings on gender identity disorder as well.

In a society where many lgbt people are faced with discrimination; denied job advancement, bullied, have threats against their life and the potential loss of a parent’s love, it’s not too hard to see why a person lacking self acceptance would want to try to deny who they are, however impossible that can be. The social needs in Maslow’s hierarchy include such things as love, acceptance and belonging. At this level, the need for emotional relationships drives the human behavior. Whether denied or accepted, these needs are best achieved from: friendships, romantic attachments, family, social groups, community groups, churches and religious organizations. For many lgbt that have not found positive influences, love from family or personal acceptance, many if not all of these needs can be lacking. Regardless, the human behavior to possess these basic needs is never diminished.

Many in the Trans community referrers to mentors as; trans-mothers, drag mama, gay mom or hormone sisters. In order to find a girl or boy that feels the same gender dysphoria as you, intentionally or not, friendships of common interest in transitioning are sought after. These mentors you seek advice from sometimes take on a sort of mother or big sister role to you. That’s what Darrel aka Kim Avis became to me. When I arrived in Florence, SC from Atlanta, I had already begun transitioning. I became a local showgirl in a nearby gay bar as an outlet to my daily sixteen hour a day job as a C.N.A. I met Kim one night after a show. It being a small town with no other known Trans people, I was glad to see another girl like me. She seemed from the beginning, extremely ecstatic to be making a new friend. Immediately I wanted to know the names of local doctors she knew. She took me later that month to her doctor who eventually became mine. I had made many friends both gay and straight as a showgirl there. My family also lived only thirty minutes away in Hartsville, SC. Quickly I noticed I seemed to be Kim’s only friend that she could be herself with. Though she was fully developed at the time, she had returned to dressing as male due mainly by her family’s persistence. She and I found refuge in common souls, so we eventually became roommates.

In the PFOX website article, she begins by saying she had started having same sex attraction by age 13 and that a bisexual male introduces her to “men” like her. She states of being happy as she watched her body develop, becoming arrogant and being scared at the person she saw in the mirror. She speaks without names, of a man on a hill that took her to a dark basement to inject silicone. She seems to imply a degree of naivety about the entire situation. She continues then to speak of the years passing and growing depressed. Heartbroken of an abusive boyfriend that then later leaves her for a younger girl. She seemed to grow tired of the long process of getting herself made up in makeup, saying it became longer and longer to make myself look like a female and yet never was. She goes into briefly her drunken spiral of loneliness that leads her to find the people of PFOX who paid to have the dangerous silicone injected substance taken out of her therefore, removing her breast. She became a male again.

The problem with this story is the need to excuse self destructive nature on being transgender. As roommates Kim and I spent many long evening talks about life and being transgender. Religion was and is very important in our lives. She often spoke of the heartbreak, now ten years later, of the young man she loved that abused her and left her for a young trans-girl that was also a friend of mine, Indigo. Her long struggles with alcohol dating back to high school. I was there to witness her popular local career as a hairdresser. In order to convince her not to dress as a female, her parents bought her an upscale salon called La Rouge International. She accepted the idea to not dress and please her family. She did as so many do, seek the love and acceptance of family. Not being who she wanted to be drove her deeper into addicted behavior overtime. I knew of the occasional cocaine addictions and how hair clients would pay in drugs. Not having any issues at the time, her drug issues had not affected her life in a negative way yet, I decided we’d continue to be roommates and find another place. By this time I was working two jobs, visiting family more and traveling the state doing gender illusion shows. I saw Kim less and less. She was not welcomed at her families unless she was in male attire, so this would make her stay in the apartment alone. Most in the lgbt local community kept a distance. She was viewed by many as a little flighty or unstable. I was noticing the drugs getting heavier and heavier which lead me to stay with family even more. One day I decided to call the landlord to have an issue in the apartment fixed and was informed rent had not been received in three months. Since I was always on the road, the arrangement had been for Kim to drop off rent since the office was directly next door to her hair salon. This is when I knew the drugs had become more than just social and informed her family. Gratefully I was reimbursed and with all information being told to the landlords was not to have any penalties placed on me. Shortly after I was told by family of hers that she was in a rehab clinic in Virginia. I was happy she was receiving help. I began to move on, began dating an artist when I started receiving packages from her about the Exodus programs on conversions of transgender people. I ignored this attempt and it only showed to me, another example of her constant search of some type of acceptance and belonging to something. I wished her well and ignored further attempts of communication.

I decided to write this because to me this showed the lengths groups like these will use sad vulnerable people that seek affection and a sense of belonging to expand their propaganda of bigotry. I think of the possible young transgender boy/girl, whose family may see this as an opportunity to fix their gender dysphoric or gay child. Being transgender wasn’t the issue with Kim to me and many that knew her, but the lack of love, acceptance from family, a history of drug addiction and the inability to seek within herself a measure of self acceptance and love. I’m not saying she is not happy or better off. A friend from Lancaster, SC was always known to say, “Being transgender separates the boys from the women (mtf) and the girls from men (ftm).” What she meant was this transgender life sometimes comes with a lot more about life than hormone replacement therapy. Not all will find families support or love. Many want find a common supportive community. Many have and will continue to find discrimination in workplaces and find long careers ended and long sought after careers denied. It is true, not everyone on the journey of transcending genders will successfully transcend and that is ok. Personal happiness and self fulfillment is the goal of every human being on earth. But no institution should use the misfortunate attributes of a troubled person as evidence that leads to further bigotry and discrimination of others. How many people will be lead to more self doubt, self hate and self destruction by unrealistic articles like the one PFOX has entrusted in their new found former transgender spokesperson?  Groups like these should be held responsible for the countless suicides of young teens. On their website PFOX says, Blanket approval is not responsible parenting or love. True love is loving in spite of our differences and treating each other with kindness and respect.”
PFOX, go tell that to the next parent of a gay, lesbian or transgender child that’s taken their life. Part of loving someone in spite of our difference and treating each other with kindness and respect is to blanket anyone different than yourself with the same love and respect you have for yourself and that is something, I’d feel, any parent would be proud to see their child accomplish in life.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Transgender Romeo and Juliet

Sabrina Samone, TMP

After reading the story of transgender teen romance of eighteen year old Katie Hill, born Luke a and Arin sixteen year old, born Emerald on the online paper The Trans Daily News, it wasn’t long everywhere I looked there were stories of the happy modern day Romeo and Juliet. Both suffering from the birth defects of gender dysphoria. They had been teased and bullied throughout their childhood. Katie being the son of a Marine Colonel in a small Christian conservative Oklahoma town could bear it now longer and went public in the local papers about being transgender and teen. Her story so touch an anonymous donor so emotionally, they paid for her sex reassignment surgery. Katie had become the first known transgender to graduate high school after sex change. Though it took her father some time to come around she admits things are better and she could not be happier.

Left to right: Emerald Andrews will become Arin Andrews by 16 and Luke Hill before he became Katie. Featured video of the couple can be seen below
Arin grew up as Emerald Andrews, a young toddler beauty queen with hopes of her mother to continue in pageants. She also suffered from gender identity disorder and reached the point she could not deny the man she was. Both joined a Tulsa Trans support group and instantly feel in love. Katie said, “All I saw was a handsome guy. We’re perfect for each other because we both had the same troubles growing up. We’re both size five, so we even swap our old clothes we hated. We look so convincing as a boy and a girl, nobody even notices now. We secretly feel so good about it because it’s the way we’ve always wanted to be seen.” 
Arin, still in high school is undergoing testosterone shots to give him the more masculine physique he had long desired. Even his earliest childhood memories he says, “The teachers separated the girls and boys into separate lines for a game. I didn’t understand why they asked me to stand with the girls. Girly things didn’t interest me, but I was worried what people would think if I said I wanted to be a boy, so I kept it a secret. His mother encouraged him to compete in local pageants but Arin’s secret love was riding motocross bikes with his dad. Though Arin admits it was hard for his family also he now has the support of his mom and dad. Even Arin’s little brother Wesley has even started calling Arin his ‘big brother’ “It makes me so proud,” says Arin.

Though high school started similarly for the two as many transgender teens as Arin says, “It was horrible. I looked like a pretty girl but acted and walked like a boy. Everyone started calling me lesbian. It felt so humiliating. I didn’t feel gay at all. I started having suicidal thoughts and told my parents I felt confused.” Even after Arin’s family began to support him and he began dating Katie rumors around a Christian high school that he was dating a girl, Arin was kicked out of the religious school. He says, “I started another school and things have been better there. But everything changed when I met Katie.”

Both Arin and Katie were bullied growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and they want to help prevent that from happening to others.

Arin goes on to say about Katie, “All her loneliness and confusion over feeling she was the opposite gender all her life sounded exactly like me. It was the moment I first had an explanation for my feelings. I realized I was ‘trans ‘too. I finally had an answer after years of confusion. She was beautiful and looked just like Megan Fox to me. I longed to know who she was and eventually plucked up the courage to do the guy thing and asked for her number. She said yes and we started seeing each other.” The younger couple is now speaking out about their experience to help raise awareness of Tran’s issues. “More needs to be done to let people know about transgender issues,” said Katie. “We both spent years in the wilderness and felt so alone. Our parents didn’t know how to help because none of us knew being Trans was possible. Nobody should have to go through what we did.”

Reading their words as a transgender a decade or two older I can’t help but wonder as we all reach that milestone of self acceptance being transgender are we giving enough back so that teenagers like Katie and Arin didn’t have to feel so alone growing up. We should all be saying to ourselves what each of us as transgender could be doing to make ourselves and our community more visible. Kate and Arin’s story also gives me hope as we’ve all know too well of the young ftm and mtf that are no longer with us do to the bullying and being turned away by family, school and friends. It’s comforting in 2012 we can actually see more progress. A progress that is obvious in young Katie Hill the first to openly graduate a public high school as a post op transgender. Doubt we would have been reading as a happy story like this if it was 2002 or worse 1992 or sooner. Though this is Katie and Arin’s personal story in a way this is all transpeople’s story, a story of our continued struggle as a community. From those that came before us, to those who are full adults and living their lives continuing to educate the world simply by being here working living and being who we are. We can all smile at the thought that this young couple is the future of Tran’s world we all hope to see.

More and more stories of ftm and mtf relationships are being mentioned in the press, though as a diverse community we all aware transgender is not a sexual preference but as I like to say a sexual organ defect. We all choose different ways to love but we all share the one thing that unites us all, being transgender. Let’s us not get complacent in what we can do no matter how small or big to make each life of a transgender a testimony that we are here. Unlike the tragedy of the Shakespeare play ‘Romeo and Juliet’, this Modern day Romeo and Juliet’s acceptance of themselves, their families and the love they have found in each other hopefully will give them strength to continue letting the world know we are here. I was touched to hear their story but more touched knowing that many that came before them in some way has helped make this story one of a happily ever after story that it is.



Last month Arin finally had his much anticipated top surgery done, started  his T shots and has started major hair growth,  Katie is now in College. The couple remains in love and seems to be going strong.