My Thoughts / Musings/ Rants... Page 1

  • - A Letter of Thanks
  • - Gender Enhanced Male
  • - Covert Action

    This is a note I posted to a BBS I was using prior to discovering the Internet. This forum, like the Internet, allowed me a means of expression and afforded an opportunity to find like minded individuals. For this I was, and am eternally grateful. Thus this letter came to be...

    A Letter of Thanks

    As the end to another year approaches I am moved to express my fondest wishes to those of you I have come to know over these last few months.

    Even if that knowing has been limited by space and distance, the words we have shared and the thoughts behind those words have touched me. for that I am grateful. We all live with the realization that our feminine natures has, in some personal way, isolated us from society as a whole. In what we have shared I have found some easing of that isolation.

    I have also found ongoing acceptance of that which I have buried and hidden so hard and so deep over these many long years. For that I will be eternally grateful. Having experienced Jennifer in RL and through our interaction I can believe that this feminine component of my being is important, is real, and most importantly is good. Perhaps it is even the best part of me... only time will tell.

    I live with the hope that Dr. Peggy Rudd is correct in the assertion that transgendered people are "SUPERIOR HUMAN BEINGS" possessed of a wider scope of human expression and understanding of the human condition. It is in that hope that I can continue to strive to find a place for the feminine part of my being in the remainder of my life... WHATEVER that quest might bring.

    It is fortunate for us who now reside on the fringes of society that we live in a wonderous age where we can come together, if only in a cyber sense. We can unite to support our common goals of acceptance and true freedom of expression. For our only chance to achieve these lofty aims is that coming together and united exploration of transgender issues made possible by the technical magic we have come to rely upon.

    I will continue, in my own imperfect way to interact with you all in pursuit of my personal, and I hope the greater goal of transgendered freedom and acceptance. I am hopeful that my voice in this journey will, in some small way, matter. Hopeful that I will have touched some of you in some approximation of how you have touched me. For without all of you I am truly alone in this world. You few are the only ones that truly know XXX/Jennifer. Again please accept my heartfelt thanks for the gifts I HAVE received. For this I am blessed.


    XXX & Jennifer

    This article is a brief outline of a concept that arose from discussion on a Transgender BBS. It makes the suggestion that we Transgender folk need a new label for ourselves. One such label is suggested here...

    G. E. M.

    All of us by another name....

    Are we diamonds,
    Or are we pearls.
    G.E.M.'s of many colours,
    MORE than just girls...

    In the early 90's I was living a heavily closeted life as a non-practicing TRANSGENDERED person on the east coast of Canada. While I am not a TS person I cannot bring my self to use the 'other' popular T word of the time... Well for the purposes of this article I'll use it once, ONLY: TRANSVESTITE. There I've said it and I won't do it again.

    In any case living as a heavily closeted TG far from any of the centers of the transgender world I relied upon two outlets for my transgender feelings. The first was the TRI-ESS organization. The quarterly magazine, member lists, and announcements of the annual Holiday en Femme gave me a feeling that I was not alone. "There were OTHERS out there". Over the years this became less important to me as a non-participatory member of this group.

    It was then that I discovered the TRI-ESS BBS. Although this bulletin board carries the TRI-ESS name the association with that august body begins and ends with the name. This BBS, based in Atlanta is run by the husband and wife team of Rachel & Kathy Cummins. It is with their generous efforts that this service was established and maintained over the last 6 or 7 years.

    When I discovered this BBS I quickly became hooked on the communication between the many gals who frequented this oasis of Transgender freedom. I can safely say that in a short time I learned more and developed my femme self far beyond all the development that had occurred previously. My participation in this forum was the third important event in my TG life after admitting to myself that I was TG and admitting the same to my SO.

    Over the 3-4 years that I actively used this service I was amazed again and again by the generosity, intelligence, and empathy of the users of the BBS. The numbers of registered, active users swelled from a few hundred to almost a thousand before this, as many other BBS's, were supplanted by the Internet. While this was probably inevitable I miss the comradery I felt existed @ the BBS.

    The Internet by its ease of access and global nature does tend to blur the focus of many forums and lower the average quality of information stored and shared within its environment. In the BBS days it was DAMN hard to get anywhere and you required a significant amount of smarts to make any use of the service. This limitation did however keep the quality of the information sharing fairly high. If this is viewed as an elitist statement I offer my apologies. I won't change my view but I offer my apology nevertheless.

    During my time @ the TRI-ESS BBS there were many topics that developed into significant conversations or threads. I can recall heated discussion of sex vs GENDER, telling ones S.O., the dreaded BATHROOM issue, definitions and classification of T people, individual freedom vs collective rights, perceptions of gender (both within and outside of the T community), and strangely enough GUN control. I may have been partly responsible for the latter, divergent topic as an ardent gun control advocate from the GWN (Great White North). You Yankee types seem to hold the right to arm yourself very dearly... However THAT is another topic altogether...

    All of the previous topics do merit further consideration and perhaps with some interest and time permitting I will put finger to keyboard on them all. At this point I am interested in an ASPECT of the definitions and classification issue. The aspect I am interested in is the name or names we apply to T people. Please bear with me as I try to outline the background of this topic.

    I'm sure that we all understand the standing or lack thereof of the Transgender community within society at present. IMHO we fall somewhere below Gays and Lesbians and above pond scum. Perhaps the popular view has us ranked with that 'great' group within our society namely child molesters. Of course this is a totally erroneous view but one I am sure will stand some examination.

    Occurrences of Transvestite dress shop bandits, Transvestite hookers, etc, etc., etc. are common in the media. That and cross-dressed characters on TV (really, no pun intended) and in movies) usually inaccurately portrayed for laughs. How many times have you laughed with the crowd at such an event while you felt an ICE PICK to the heart inside??? This and the shameless exploitation of Trangender folk of all types by Shock/Talk TV has served only to reinforce these views. IN addition is has caused me to break my NO TRANSVESTITE policy already... TWICE ;) C'est la vie.

    I'm sure that we can agree that we have @ least a serious image problem as members of the Transgendered world. As a diverse and heterogenous group this is a problem that will be difficult if not near impossible to fully solve. How can we explain fetishists, cross-dressers, transgendered, and Transsexual folk to a population that STILL has difficulty understanding GAYS. If you add to this the confusion of gender vs sexuality and the sensitivity any sex related topic is viewed with we have a LONG and ROUGH road to follow.

    The GAY community HAS, however enjoyed very significant gains over the last 25 years. They have gone from an outcast group of so called queers, fags, homos, dykes, butches, and deviates to an organized group of people who can and do influence our society. As a group they have even come far enough to use the formerly negative term QUEER as a statement of GAY pride. I'm sure you will hear some version of "I'm Queer, I'm here" @ almost any Gay Pride parade or similar gathering.

    While reflecting on these historical events I began to wonder if there were any parallels to the Transgendered community. Sure a bunch of Transvestites (there I go again) or more correctly Drag Queens started one of the most defining moments of Gay history, Stonewall; but were there more significant parallels. Can we learn from the example of the Gay community???

    In this thought process it suddenly occurred to me that I was referring to the Homosexual community almost exclusively as GAY.... HUUMMMM.... I began to wonder how this term came into popular usage and the effect it had on the positive development enjoyed by GAYS. While this is only a component of the change in status of this group it is an important one.

    The previously mentioned terms all had VERY negative connotations and only served to re-enforce the negative stereotypes of Homosexuals. If there is a gentle genius out there that is responsible for the adoption of GAY as the term for Homosexuals he or she should IMHO be nominated for Sainthood. By adopting the time honoured marketing technique of re-packaging or renaming a 'product' the GAY community disstanced themselves from the horribly negative terms of the past. In so doing perhaps they opened a new dialog which was an important element in the development of modern Gay culture.

    I have often wondered if WE as transgendered peoples could follow a similar path. Can we develop a term or perhaps more realistically a set of terms that can be used to name us. If this is possible perhaps we can leave some of the nastiness from the past behind and proceed with the development of a greater Transgender reality.

    Sure this is a lofty goal but do we have anything better to do with our time??? The achievement of this goal may be unlikely but it is important. After all EVERYBODY loves an underdog. In any case every river must start with a single raindrop before it combines with the billions of others to become a mighty river flowing back to the mother sea. I hope, and yes even pray that it can be so with the Transgender community as well.

    With these thoughts in mind I posted a message in eary '94 on the TRI-ESS BBS posing the question. I had not come up with a term to use but I felt a strong conviction that such a term was needed. As I had come to expect there was an outpouring of intelligent discourse on this and related topics in the following months on the BBS.

    Somewhere within this debate a transgendered gentle genius emerged, namely Sarah Michaels of Cleveland Ohio to coin the acroynm G.E.M. This stands for Gender Enhanced Male. As a term it has much to consider. First it is a TOTALLY POSITIVE term, it is completely separate form the past, and it emphasises the feminine in our natures as an EXTRA or enhancement. The term is also a word which has a positive connotation. I mean who would not like to be associated with gem stones, Diamonds of course! ;) It also has the added bonus of applying to the entire spectrum of Transgender peoples. The one possible exclusion might be post-op TS's who come to consider themselves ordinary women. I would argue that these people are no longer Transgender as so the universal nature or the acryonm still applies.

    In any case this is ONE possible name that we might adopt. GEM is an elegant name and one I would be comfortable using to describe the Transgender lifestyle. If this term becomes popularized or we develop others I am still convinced that the development and/or popularization of a completely new term / terms for the Transgender community is an essential element in the attainment of our many goals.

    I would like to add a footnote here. Unfortunately the GEM proposal DOES exclude the F/M component of our community. While that is unfortunate I feel that this development may follow the parallel of the Gay community where the adoption of the term Lesbian did follow the popularization of the term GAY. I will welcome any input from the F/M community on a suitable term than may apply to them. In any case the developments that lead to the improvement of the lot of one group within the Transgender community can only help the cause of us all!!!

    I welcome any input you might have on this document. Please consider that it is, as all of my writing an in progress nTH draft...

    Jennifer Lynn

    This article another in my series of articles written for the Transgender Forum (TGF) online zine ...

    Covert Action...

    By Jennifer Lynn

    NO... this is not the latest Tom Clancy thriller...

    I am not a secret agent telling all from an age gone by...

    However, I do have a secret life... one that perhaps should be a little less secret.

    Like many I have lived with one foot in the Masculine world and one heel in the feminine. This reality is tempered though with the need to present an acceptable image to the world. To fullfill my desires for home, family, and career I played the game as a high pressured responsible man.

    I often wonder if it would be a surprise to know that man is presiding over a business meeting in silk panties. How many would suspect the police officer of putting on pantyhose with his 9MM. Would it shock anyone to know of the camisole and manicured nails hidden under a flight suit of a pilot entrusted with a 100 millon $ aircraft.


    The game has, as most of us are gratefully aware, begun to change. Young people are expanding the boundries of culture, gender and sexuality. I can only smile at the signs of open expressions of gay love, boys in nailpolish and earrings, and even the re-emergance of the dress.... on both genders.

    This is in part due, at least in part, to the many pioneers of the Transgender world. Who can say how much is owed to these brave individuals. The names Victoria Prince, Renee Richards, Rikki Wilchens, and Joanne Roberts among others will live on forever.

    In this I am reminded of those famous words by Winston Churchill... "So much is owed by so many to so few". This battle is half a century later but in my estimation one no less important than that long ago Battle of Britain. I am sure history will confirm this in time.

    Still the battle is not yet won and there lies many more battles as yet fought in our war for personal freedoms and equality. These battles will continue after you and I are long gone and forgotten. So what can we do to in the struggle?

    For some the answer is simply to wait for the world to come to us. This is a valid response for many who have much to loose and little to gain over the short term. Perhaps the risk to innocent bystanders like our children is reason enough for inaction. Fair enough.

    Let me suggest an other course of action. Instead of covert action and living life in the closet perhaps we should as a COMUNITY engage in OVERT ACTION. I am not suggesting that we proclaim ourselves to be individuals of an alternate gender to the general public. What I am suggesting is a number of small actions if taken by the many TG people will have an impact on the general public. For as the Chinese sayhing goes " with many hands a mountain can be moved". Chinese hands have without the benefit of high tech tools HAVE moved a mountain. Can we?

    I am suggesting that as a community we engage in small acts of gender defiance. Simply, Iam suggesting that we display at least one element of our alternate gender in our everyday life. Shave your legs or not as the situation fits, get your ears pierced (yes BOTH of em), wear some dainty jewelery, grow your nails and polish em too (clear is OK...;)), shave your underarms or not as the case fits,, etc. You get the idea. IMHO if we are to break out of the box of gender servitude we must stand up and be counted.

    In my heart I believe that my shaved legs, sometimes shaved arms, girls bracelet and necklace, polished manicured nails, pierced ears(yes BOTH of em), and androgenous wardrobe will have an impact. A tiny impact to be sure but one that I hope will be leveraged by my brothers and sisters spread across the landscape.

    Comments, corrections, rebuttals?

    Please feel free to let loose. Otherwise I am just muttering in the dark and as such am liable to be given a rear lacing suit and be hauled off to a quiet and dark place....;)

    Eh!!! (Old Canadian Anachronism)

    Copyright © 1998 - Jennifer Lynn

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    Copyright © 1996,1998 - Jennifer Lynn
    Last revised: July 1998 V1.4