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Showing posts from 2014

A Christmas Eve story and a photo—seven years later.

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Story: Excerpt from Chapter 27
“The Day the Music Stopped”
Transparently: Behind the
Scenes of a Good Life. 

This was the 7th Anniversary of our shopping trip to Costco on Christmas Eve, which we now celebrate by going shopping at Costco on the 24th, followed by brunch! Photo: Selfie with Duncan at the Richmond, BC Costco, Dec. 24, 2014. Here’s the back story.
How and when I would begin transition—that was the $64,000 question. I still did not have the confidence to present as a female when I started to disclose to people. My friend Duncan convinced me one day to come visit them as Lisa. His argument was that I needed to start presenting, and what better place than in the safety of close friends. He wouldn’t take no for an answer, insisting this was something I had to do. 


There was a lot of truth to what he was saying and I concluded he was right about my feeling safe with them. I finally did this one Friday afternoon in early November, 2007. I wore a long-sleeved top with a crew neck, …

Come and see.

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Such a simple invitation, but when acted on, it has the power to change.
One might think it's getting better. After all, how many millions saw Laverne Cox, the transgender actor of the popular "Orange is the New Black" Netflix series on the cover of Time Magazine? And what about all the buzz regarding the Amazon TV series "Transparent"? I'm talking about transgender inclusion. But I have my doubts that even such high-profile public relation coups have made that much impact on most of the population.
I hate to sound so pessimistic, but when school boards, city councils and other elected members continue to debate whether or not to give gender non-conforming persons some basic level of human rights protection, what else can I think?
Even in Canada, with its fair share of progressive people, there is little to no discussion about the Canadian Senate's stonewalling of a proposed bill to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code. The bill wou…

Popular professor at Regent College weighs in on the transgender debate by sharing a link to an Oped first published in WSJ.

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I won't malign this said professor, but I did take issue with the OpEd and his comments on Facebook.


All the discussion had to do with the recent debate at the Vancouver School Board regarding their policy on how transgender and gender-variant students are to be treated. This turned into a bit of a circus when parents self-identifying as conservative Asian evangelical Christians lobbied against it.

Needless to say, there has been much said for and against this policy, including the comment thread in the professor's Facebook wall.

I just added this comment. That's all I'm going to say, I think I've said enough.

One perspective missing in all of this banter is that we are talking about only two to three transgender persons per two hundred (1-1.5%). Additionally, at most, only one in three experience gender dysphoria that is severe enough to warrant social and eventually medical transition. In other words, all the pedagogical anxiety expressed is for the most part unfo…

Paradox = Father’s Day for a trans woman.

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It seems innocent enough, to have a day to celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society.








If one’s relationship with their father was a good one, this day of honor will seem completely appropriate and welcomed. If your dad was not deserving of this kind of respect, then this yearly reminder could be extremely painful.

Equally, if you’re a trans woman who fathered children, this day can either be a good or a bad—if not surreal—experience. It all depends on the kind of relationship you now have with your children. Father’s Day is extremely painful when your children have rejected you and want nothing to do with you. As far as they are concerned, you might as well be dead. It hurts. However, If your relationship has survived, then you can count yourself extremely lucky.

I was fortunate on two counts. On one hand, I had a dad who was loving and, best of all despite his relative old age when I came out to him (he was 89), he did not reject me. On the oth…

We're in, we're out.

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It’s a dizzying time for trans people.


Last night I attended a meeting at the Vancouver School Board (VSB) as it listened to the final presentation from medical experts. The issue being considered is the revision of a VSB policy that has been in place since 2004 that spells out the district's guidelines for providing a safe, positive environment for transgender and gender-variant students in all grades, from kindergarten to grade 12. According to the associate superintendent, “The biggest change, really, was about getting some clarity of language.”

This simple administrative procedure became the entrée for a well-organized and vocal group of conservative parents who self-describe themselves as Chinese evangelical Christians. They used this as an opportunity to lobby against the adoption of the proposed updated policy, arguing that this policy took away their rights as parents and guardians to decide what was best for their children. It's unfortunate these parents are using bot…

Can I Trust You With a Secret?

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Another friend, Susan Cottrel, also invited me to write some thought.  This is the link to her blog, FreedHearts http://freedhearts.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/can-i-trust-you-with-a-secret/ I invite you to visit her blog.

Do you have a secret? How big is it? How do you think people will respond if they find out?
Disclosure, revelation, exposure, or whatever word you may have for it, is a visceral, frightening process to go through. Especially if the information is so sensitive, some would prefer death by flaying. But in fact, that is what disclosure is all about, peeling away the layers that hide the “body” of truth. Perhaps that is why it can be so traumatic.

On October 2007 I began disclosing to family and friends that I had been diagnosed with acute gender dysphoria—that I was “transgender.” I had already lived eight years with this verdict; it took me that long to reconcile myself and my faith to my diagnosis. The news was a shock to everyone in my life; only my wife had known my secr…

On Belonging and Mattering to God

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A friend, Matthias Roberts, recently invited me to write some thoughts on belonging. This is the way he put it: "Specifically, if you could share a story on a time where you felt that you truly belonged — even if was just for a moment." He published my response today (May 17, 2014) so I'm sharing it here too. This is the link to his blog, Not Boring Yet http://notboringyet.com/saturday-stories/belonging-saturday-stories/ I invite you to visit his blog and read some of the other stories from other contributors.
















For nearly two decades I felt like I did not know how to pray. Oh, I prayed, but my sense was that my prayers were ineffective—like lead balloons—my prayers didn’t even reach the ceiling, let alone God, so I thought.

Maybe the reason I felt this way had more to do with my expectations and not with my prayers. I really wanted to be “normal.” I did not want to undergo social, medical and surgical transition from male to female.

At times I preferred death than all the …

Personally, I look forward to falling into the hands of God.

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Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, but not into the hands of mortals; for equal to his majesty is his mercy, and equal to his name are his works. (Sirach 2.18 – NRSV)
In all the reading I've been doing in preparation for my Hebrew Bible class, I’ve come across several verses that have captured my imagination. The one above made me pause and the more I reflected on what it describes, I couldn't help but compare it to the admonition in the letter to the Hebrews were the perspective of falling into the hands of God is described as a frightful experience. (Heb. 10.31)

Because of my personal involvement a couple of years ago with respect to the "Kill the Gay" Bill that eventually was passed in Uganda, I have kept an eye on the key players—the American fundamentalists who are recognized as being fully responsible for instigating the kind of homophobia that resulted in the infamous legislation.

In an OpEd in the Los Angeles Times on March 23, 2014, Kapya Kaoma (an A…

No, I haven't seen the movie Dallas Buyer's Club and don't plan to.

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It's my wallet that decides what I do these days!

But in the mean time, I have been reading the on-going negative commentary about the portrayal of the transgender character "Rayon" from the perspective of the trans* community. 

What needs to be taken into consideration is that there is today a generational divide in the trans* community that needs to be understood. For us who are over 55, our experience is vastly different from those in their thirties and forties. And a universe away from those who are in their youth and into their twenties.

I suspect that all the clamor is coming from the younger sets who have not lived through the painful years when we did not have the nomenclature to make sense of our lives. 

In 1980 I was thirty. I had been married for six years and was terrified. I didn't know what I was. That year I came out to my wife. All I could tell her was that I felt inadequate as a man, that I felt feminine and confessed to my secret guilt-ridden cross-dres…

A sad postscript to "My highs and lows of transgender advocacy."

In my blogpost of a couple of days ago, I touched on some of the things that lift me and those that, well, shoot me down. However, I have not been able to get one thing out of my mind since I received the news on Sunday evening. Let me explain.

At last week's Gay Christian Network (GCN) Conference in Chicago, I met Betsy, a fellow Canadian. She attended as an ally and we had a long chat about an old friend from her high school, who like me, transitioned from male to female in her fifties, Amanda. She shared how Amanda had friends who supported her but these relationships had slowly cooled and Betsy was concerned for her friend. She thanked me for my work and was looking forward to being a more informed friend of Amanda.

The note I received from Betsy on Sunday night was short; Amanda had ended her life.

This my friends, is a very low low. It is a sad commentary that life is made to be so impossible for some that they cannot envision living another day. That impossibility is often a…

My highs and lows of transgender advocacy.

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Sometimes I preach to the choir, sometimes to the genuinely curious and sensitive; at other times to hostile skeptics, but often to myself.

I had the distinct honor and privilege to do a workshop at this year's Gay Christian Network Conference (GCN) last weekend. I cannot begin to describe what it is like to be among 700 attendees who have one thing in common, a hunger and a love for God, and for whom faith is not a legalistic dogma, but a the river of life.

To say that gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgender, and gender-queer persons are excluded from the "banquet" of the King is to deny the essential message of the Gospel, and comes pretty close to that unforgivable sin, which is to ascribe the work of the Holy Spirit to the devil. One only needs to meet the large number of parents of LGBTQ persons who attended this year's conference, listen to their stories and see the love in their eyes to appreciate our Heavenly Father's heart more fully. No one can sit throug…