I was reminded that while I have posted on a number of discussions I have not really posted an intro blog so thought I would do so now.. Mea Culpa Chloe.
I will start by dittoing my early childhood as those who are 'Trans' understand and have shared many similar if not duplicate experiences and memories. However I will share a few that stand out in my mind. My family has roots and a long history in Southern Arizona at least pre-civil war or as we call it here in North Carolina, the "War of Northern Aggression". :) Not many know this but Southern Arizona was part part a Territory of the Confederate States during this time.. many Southerners... ended up in Ariz and stayed there...anyway..
My father migrated to California where he married my mother. I was the oldest child, the first born son in whom his biggest dreams could finally be realized and lived out in the life of his son.. It was more than a shock when he realized that I was much more interested in playing with my sister's dolls and dressing up in her clothes. I was told later that he tried his best to ignore it, but when it didn't stop he decided HE would put a stop to it. He dragged me from my sister’s room one day.. and opened up a small guest closet in the living room where a few dresses just my size were hanging.. Oh good! (NOT). My uncle walked in.. then my father stripped me of my clothes, put the dress on my while deriding me, and saying while I was in tears...you want to be a girl, well here is your dress little girl! Is that what you want... to be a girl? huh! huh! HAH, HAH HAH... my father and my uncle laughed as I was humiliated in the living room of our home..not knowing what terrible thing I had really done..but that which seemed so natural... time wore on... I had my hiding places even then… for my special things..I learned to hide...both my special things and... who I felt I was.. My father was not satisfied though... as he enrolled me into every conceivable male oriented sport and activity. He made sure my time was completely absorbed so I could be Transformed at least into what he knew I had to be, a man... what emotional turmoil... I grew up learning to "balance and hide" who I was against who I was supposed to be, had to be, and thought.... I needed to be..
I was married, had two beautiful children and a very successful career in the Pharma industry. But I wrestled desperately with staying focused on my work and the projects. I was desperate and knew something very wrong was going on with me. I had to be one sick individual.. I found myself increasingly in medical school libraries with medical students except I wasn't studying for class. I was trying to find out what was wrong with me..What was it? Was I crazy, some aberration of humanity? In the research area I found some original papers done not long before by Dr. Harry Benjamin? Oh my Go_! This is it! Studies of transsexuals and transsexualism.. After reading and re-reading as many of his papers as I could lay my hands on... I began to wonder if I might find him... if I might find a way to meet with him;.... I needed to... I had to meet with him! I searched and learned that he had died. But what about the people who worked with Harry Benjamin? Surely some of them must still be alive. I had to find someone who worked with Dr. Benjamin.. someone who knew of his work, someone who worked with him on his research and his papers.. I finally found Dr. Leah Schaefer , one of the few researchers and experts in the field who had written several papers about Benjamin’s work but was also a recognized professional in the area... I went on a nationwide search.. and found her name listed in New York City! I called her and she answered1 Yes, ma'am are you the same Leah Shaefer who has written extensively and was doing research associated with Dr. Harry Benjamin's work? Yes she said. ... I pleaded with her to see me...She said she really wasn't seeing "patients" but she agreed to see me...
I flew to New York and traveled to her home, a beautiful apartment overlooking the Hudson River..Her home was warm...and somehow just being there, with her... gave me comfort. After some small talk she asked me to sit down and tell her about myself, my life and my journey.. She closed her eyes and listened intently as I poured my heart out to her...it seemed like hours. She opened her eyes and said, no, you are NOT crazy. There are thousands of men and women just like you... You were born this way.. There is nothing wrong with you that cannot be addressed and fixed, if that is what you need and want...Oh my Go_!!! I broke into tears. She understood. Finally, confirmation of who I was and I was Not some aberration or humanity! Leah shared with me TYPED copies of some of her research papers she had written, one on with Dr. Benjamin's work. I found out that she was past President and Board Member of the Harry Benjamin Society from which the first HB Standards of Care were developed... The weight of the world had been lifted from my heart and my shoulders.. I talked to Leah a few more times and while she said she would see me, I couldn't keep flying to NYC to do so..She encouraged me to seek a counselor and seek out others who were on this same journey..
She pointed me to IFGE as a resource.. She recommended several Gender Specialists, and said that there weren't many experts in this area yet but more professionals were learning and being educated..
Next post.. "My first failure at transition... or Pharma Companies Talk the talk but find ways to Not walk the walk......
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