Just a simple woman
Just a simple woman

Date: Fri, 4 Apr 1997

I have been following the threads for the last several days, and I wish to propose a new thread. 

I sensed a distinction between those who are Transgendered (especially transsexual) and those who are gay. In that I sense a greater acceptance my by being a Transsexual, than another's being Gay. 

I want to look at relationships within Transgendered/transsexual context. Mary Lou and I have been married for over 21 years. When we married I was in total denial of any transgendered/transsexual feelings. I had decided to "cure myself" by simply refusing to allow myself those feelings and thoughts. I attempted to do exactly what society would have asked that I do in 1975/1976, simply be the "man" I was supposed to be and grow up. 

To be blunt, it simply didn't work and nature overruled nurture and I eventually transitioned and had surgery starting about three years ago. Now, the question (the rest was background) is in the relationship I have with Mary Lou. When I met Mary Lou she was a normal, heterosexual woman of 21 years of age. She did not know about my transgendered feelings when we married, nor had she any experience with either the Gay or Transsexual lifestyles (I do hate that word). 

When Mary Lou and I married we were married in a protestant church, taking the traditional vows. "To have and to hold, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, from this day forward, till death do us part". Or something to that effect, it has been 21 years now. . . Regardless Mary Lou and I gave those vows to each other, before God. Well the health part is the problem. Both Mary Lou and I accept that I had to change my sex because of a pre-existing physiological birth condition. In other words, I changed my sex to save my life. I had become mentally ill trying to remain a man. 

I am now a female. Physically, physiologically, legally, 100% of the time, I am a woman. Legally Mary Lou and I remain married, in a legal same sex marriage. The test for this is simple. Before we could marry anyone else, we would have to obtain a divorce. But if we obtained said divorce, then under the current laws, we would not be allowed to remarry, because we are both female. 

Mary Lou and I have a full, loving marriage. We are best friends, we are roommates, and we are lovers. Although in one sense this is the same relationship, continuous for 21+ years, in another sense it s an entirely new relationship. One far more modeled after a Lesbian partnership than a heterosexual marriage. We found that in able to remain in a valid relationship that we had to adjust our marriage to accommodate the changes in me. Changes, that were physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Again, the resemblance is to a Lesbian partnership, not a heterosexual marriage. 

The question is, is our relationship valid? We fell in love as a heterosexual couple, we married as a heterosexual couple. I became a woman because of a medical condition that I fought for years. I changed my sex to save my life. We decided to stay together because of our love for each other, and our respect we had for the vows we took 21 years ago. We became lesbians simply because we are lesbians. two women who live together, sleep together, love each other and have sex together. 

Is our relationship moral? And if it is moral, what about any other same sex couple? What makes us better than them? How can society say hat it is OK for Mary Lou and I to remain married, but not OK for us to remarry if we divorced? How can society deny others the right to marry when we are allowed to keep a marriage? 

Gee. . . and you all thought that I was just going to sit here quietly and observe. . . 

with love and blessings. . . 

janet elizabeth 

 "just a simple woman, doing the work in life she is obviously here to do. . . "

Quaker and God in my life

Date: Fri, 4 April 1997

Maggie just told me that I "forgot" to talk about Quakerism and God being in my life. . .

I tried 5 times in the last two days to write about this. But for some reason the words simply refused to come forth. And for myself, that is extremely unusual. But I'll try one more time.

I am a Quaker, a member of the Religious Society of Friends, specifically the Pittsburgh monthly Meeting which is associated with Friends General Conference. That means that I am associated with one of the most progressive Meetings for Worship in the most progressive branch of Quakerism. Quakerism as we see it is a non-Christocentric faith. It is a theology, but also a philosophy. We believe that we are all children of God. We believe in the Inner Light (Holy Spirit), and that there is a bit of God in each of us. We believe that each human being is capable of communicating with that of God that is within him/her. Some do so only rarely, for others, the Light is a constant reminder of one's relationship with the father.

We believe that Jesus Christ was *a* child of God, as we all are, not *the* son of God. We believe that the Bible is a collection of the word of God. But that the word of God is constantly being shared with us by the Inner Light. We believe that people and religions do change, can change, need to change. We believe that we need to be aware of all that is happening in our world, and that we need to allow our faith to adapt to the revelations of God.

We believe that God speaks in many voices. Sometimes in meeting for Worship (read church service) very loud and very clear. Sometimes in music, in art. Sometimes through science. Sometimes through the events that shape our lives.

Personally, I have a very close relationship with God. I know and understand that of God that is within myself. I have been a Quaker now for about 25 years. I have allowed God into my life for parts of that time. other times i refused to see the message that God was giving me. At times I fought that message tooth and nail. That struggle came close to killing me.

I believe that God wanted me to be a Transsexual. That it was God's wish that I be born with the birth condition known as Gender Identity Disorder. Why? Because God wanted me, no God needed me to learn the lessons. The lessons. . . :::::sigh:::::: the lessons. . . God made me a woman trapped in a man's body so I would learn to be both male and female. So I would learn what it is to struggle. To feel emotional pain, to feel physical pain. So that I could learn about true love. So that I could learn about loss. God made me a Transsexual because God needed me to be a Transsexual. Because only by being a Transsexual, only by going through the process that I have, could I ever become the person I am.

For years, I refused God's message, his challenge. And because of this God left my life. For years I had no spirituality. I had no sense of contact with God. No sense of a relationship with God. It was only when I finally accepted that I really wanted to be the woman I was fast becoming, did my spirituality return. Because only in accepting myself, could I accept God. I, Janet Elizabeth, am part of God. If I can not accept myself, how can I accept God? If I can not accept the part? How can I accept the whole?

Since I accepted myself, and implicit accepted God back into my life I have begun to understand why I am here. I have begun to understand what God wants from me. I have begun to understand the ministry that God wishes for me to accept. I have begun to understand that I am his vassal, his tool. I have begun to understand that there is no free will, only God's will.

For myself, the spiritual Journey and the transsexual Journey are so deeply intertwined that i can not discuss one without discussing the other. For me, God is a real, live entity that is inside of me. That is guiding me. That I talk to, share with, joke and laugh with, cry with. God is not some dead being from thousands of years ago. His words are live, here now, fresh and new.

It is God's will that tomorrow I partake in an anti KKK rally in Pittsburgh. I know this, the leading to do so is extremely strong. The leading is extremely strong that I present myself both as a Quaker, and as a Transsexual. Why? That I do not know. But I have faith in God that when his will is made clear to me, then my responsibility is to fulfill that will, that leading. To follow the Inner Light where ever it will take me.

Tomorrow Gods' will is that I confront hatred both as a child of God, but also as the Transsexual that God made me to be. And I will do proudly. Proud both of being a Quaker, and of being a Transsexual.

with love and blessings. . . 

 janet elizabeth

 "just a simple woman, doing the work in life she is obviously here to do. 


What If...?

I wrote "What if. . ." just before Christmas of 1996. At that time I was having problems dealing with a young Transsexual. Both young in terms of her age (just 21) and her transition (not yet full time and illegally on
hormones). The TS, a Male to Female, was taking up a lot of my time and energy. And she was costing me a fair amount of money, at a time when resources were particularly tight. A Friend (the capital "F" denotes both a friend and a Quaker) began playing devil's advocate with me. She began questioning me about my motives, and my
intentions. She was deliberately pushing me to find out why I was taking this time, and allowing myself to be used. Her intentions was to allow me to see the reasons behind my actions. She saw the reasons, she saw into my
soul. But until I wrote this piece in response to her probing, I was not. I thank that Friend for her efforts. And now, as I write this introduction, the memory of what drives me so often returns. Re-reading the piece, and by
publication allowing others to share this part of my life, re-kindles my drives and needs. And I again begin to see the results of my work, and the reasons for my actions, in the true light. My Friend, if you read this you will know who you are. I simply want to thank you. . .
janet flecher 12/15/97 

What If?

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