Remembering a Trans Icon

Candis Cayne

 From “Today”:

“Now, viewers can binge “Pose,” “Supergirl,” “Euphoria” or even “Star Trek: Discovery,” but when Candis Cayne sashayed onto the screen on ABC’s nighttime drama “Dirty Sexy Money” in 2007, she became the first openly transgender actor with a recurring role on a network television series.

On the show, she played the vixenous Carmelita Rainer, who was having an affair with handsome New York state attorney general Patrick Darling (Billy Baldwin), who was itching to get out from under the thumb of his billionaire father (Donald Sutherland).

“Dirty Sexy Money” only lasted one season but it broke ground in a number of ways: Cayne was a transgender woman playing a transgender character. And Carmelita wasn’t the butt of the joke — she was beautiful, and as deliciously devious as her co-stars.”

Send in the Clowns?

 Recently I wrote a post concerning my opposition to drag queens having too much of an impact of
various Pride celebrations and received this comment from Connie: 

“It would make for a pretty boring parade if the drag queens were replaced by trans women “just wanting to blend in.” Not that one group necessarily shows more pride than the other; just different ways of expressing it. Personally, I much prefer to exhibit my self-pride with a quiet confidence – but, then, I’m not trying to entertain anyone with it. I’m not saying that drag queens are clowns, but I think that they serve the same purpose in a pride parade that the clowns do in a more-traditional parade.
I’m sure that the TV news show file clips of drag queens, when referencing Pride, because it’s sensational. The real life of a trans woman or man is rarely newsworthy or sensational. Although, I must say, just being able to be myself feels quite sensational to me!”


To be sure, drag queens make for good television but again the whole spectacle takes away from my respect for the whole event.  
As far as your comment about transgender women just wanting to blend in goes, I would prefer to see any of the trans women or men who are making a difference in the overall community be spotlighted. Perhaps a few of the big corporations are contributing to the event would be made aware of the problems the transgender community faces. Instead of the brief support  given the LGBT community, it could be more of a yearly process. 


Clowns are fun for a day or two promoting their weekend drag shows but do nothing for the transgender community. 

Therapy Day

 Today was my virtual therapists visit. I have been very fortunate in that  I have been able to maintain my relationship with the same therapist over the years. After all, the Veteran’s Administration is known for turnover. My therapist initially was the same person who signed off on my beginning hormone replacement therapy and later provided me with the paperwork to complete changing my legal gender markers. 

Also, I make no secret to others that I am bi-polar and no, embarking on my often remarkable  transgender journey to change my life did not solve my overall depression and anxiety. With my therapist I was always able to explain one did not connect with the other and magically disappear.  Before I started my journey, I had experience with other therapists who kept trying to connect imaginary dots with me. So, during our sessions I am always very careful to compliment her for her help and input. 

Coming up next, next week is my appointment with my nurse practitioner who monitors all my meds and bloodwork. She is also very nice and does a great job…as long as my blood work comes back OK. 

Even though I have to make the lengthy drive north to the Dayton VA for my care, I rather do it for the continuity of care I receive. Rather than switch everything over to the local Cincinnati VA Hospital. 

Pride

Drag queens wearing red, orange, yellow and green are walking in the street at Montreal Pride.

 June is LGBTQ Pride Month. Of course (per norm) I watched the local morning news  and almost the first story I saw was promoting two of the local Pride activities coming up this weekend. This year, the biggest local event (Cincinnati) was again canceled due due pandemic considerations. Even still, the television station used old footage of drag queens’ in convertibles for the story. Which leads me to this:

One of my biggest problems with the various events is the number of drag queens which are featured. 

My dislike for all the attention drag queens garner goes all the way back to my earliest days of  coming out into a feminine world. A world I desperately wanted to succeed in. The mistake I made was going to male gay venues…places which were nearly impossible to exist in as a novice transgender woman. I ultimately learned  I could be accepted much more easily in straight venues.  At the same time, I began to grow bored of the same drag queens performing the same songs. 

All of this brings me back to Pride. My earliest trips to Prides were immersed in the usual garishly dressed queens followed close by by cross dressers teetering by in their high heels and tight dresses. Very little appealed to me. I will say though, as the years have gone by, I have noticed more and more transgender women and men enjoying the day. 

Interestingly, the Trans Ohio organizers who are hell bent to put on a virtual event of their own, have a whole other take on why Pride does not represent trans people as a whole. Their take is the money these big Pride events bring in.  The big corporations who are lining up as sponsors are spending money in the wrong areas to truly help the immensely needy segments of the LGBT community. Too much of the money goes to support the event itself or back to the cis male gay groups whole are already doing well in the financial areas.

At any rate, Liz and I can’t attend any of the regional Prides this year for several reasons and even though I don’t like the attention the queens get, I still like to “people watch” the rest of the crowd. 

Memorial Day

 Once again here in the United States, Memorial Day rolls around . Memorial Day is meant to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Most of you regulars know , I am a transgender veteran. A fortunate one in that I survived a very ugly, unpopular and destructive conflict known as the Vietnam War. I have friends who didn’t survive  or returned with psychical/mental scars which never healed. 

I always try to mention too, the inordinate amount of transgender veterans  who served in their closets while attempting to reclaim their masculine gender status. When I see the number of graves and crosses spotlighted in media news shows on Memorial Day, I wonder how many of them took their gender secrets with them to the grave. 

What really upsets me too are the number of people who see Memorial Day as just another day off to BBQ and not spend just a minute to remember those who served and lost their lives. 

Without them, we would all be lost.

Transgender MMA Fighter

Retried MMA fighter is a veteran of the Navy and is from Toledo, Ohio.  

Now, Fallon Fox cannot wait to share her story with the world.

Fox, the first openly transgender mixed martial arts fighter, is working with Mark Gordon Pictures on a new biopic based on her career and life. Eight years after coming out publicly, Fox will now get a dramatized retelling of a story that dominated the sports world.

“It feels amazing. I feel like my story is finally going to get out there in a big way,” Fox told ET Canada. “I’m not sure how it’s going to run. Maybe it’s going to be informative, but it’s going to be entertaining and people are going to get a lot out of it.

With all the discord going on in the country concerning transgender athletes, her story is definitely timely.  

Lifestyle?

 Somehow I must have given some sort of impression being transgender was a “lifestyle”. Obviously, none of us had a choice when we embarked on this tremendously intricate and  difficult journey. Here is the reason I may have given that idea (lifestyle) from Connie:

“Whoa! What, exactly, is a “trans lifestyle” (I can’t italicize “lifestyle” here, as you did)? Lifestyle indicates a choice; trans is not a choice. While we may have made the choice to live, openly, as trans women, we don’t, necessarily, have the same lifestyles.
It could be argued that a cross dresser (included under the trans umbrella) who attends meet-ups with other cross dressers every Thursday night has adopted a lifestyle. Of course, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, and it certainly shouldn’t define who that person is. It also is not something I, as a trans woman, choose to do as a lifestyle. Still, I can be an ally to a person who participates, without engaging in said lifestyle, myself.

I think that attaching a lifestyle to trans perpetuates a stereotype that those who are not allies like to use to define trans people. Here’s an example, from my own life, just after I had come out in an email to some long-time “friends”:

“> Thanks for your reply to our invitation for our 2013 Christmas Holiday Party.
>
> We are pleased that you have decided to live your lifestyle in all honesty to yourself. This must be bringing a contentment and joy that you have never felt or experienced before. And that’s a good thing.
>
> That said, we feel our Christmas Party is not the best setting for your first appearance in our house in this new guise.

> We are your friends, and look forward to seeing you soon. Perhaps at your house or the Eagles. Here’s to a happy and joyous holiday season.”

As you might imagine, I was not happy to receive this email. But, it wasn’t just because I had been uninvited to a yearly party that I had been welcomed at for years. Their use of the word, lifestyle, followed by the shoe-drop phrase, “That said,” and the condescending tone, infuriated me. I still have my unsent response draft in my email archives, as well. It was nasty and unbecoming of the lady I try to be, however, and I did the right thing by not sending it. Ironically, their response was much more about their “lifestyle” than it was any they perceived mine to be. And, yes, I was invited to subsequent holiday parties, and I did attend. And, no, they are not my allies; they have really not changed much at all. I have only maintained a relationship with them in hopes that they may, one day, realize that I am not just living a “lifestyle.” Oh, did I fail to mention that these people are Trump supporters? So much for my hopes, then.”


I too years ago was rejected from attending my blood relatives Thanksgiving dinner when I announced my decision to be there as my true self. In essence, my brother and sister in law caved into pressure from his right wing in laws. I moved on and was very fortunate to have been able to reestablish a very inclusive new family unit and sadly haven’t spoken to my brother since. 


Back to the transgender lifestyle comment, I feel as if in many ways we are dealing with semantics. After all, we have been forced to build new lives (lifestyles) even though we had no choice to do it.   

Cultural Humility

Today is another of the webinars I am attending concerning educating professionals on the care of elderly LGBT adults. Check out the title of this one: Cultural Humility for LGBT Older Adults.

It goes further to explain what will interest me. ” 

Activity and Life Enrichment Professionals and Ohio Nursing! Participants will be able to… • Learn basic terminology relating to sexual expression, sexual orientation and sexual identity. ” I feel the more information which is presented to the world about elderly LGBT care (and transgender in particular) is made available, the better life could be for all of us. 

Now, and I can’t resist this, speaking of elderly transgender adults, it is Connie’s birthday! (seen above)

Happy Birthday my friend!