Category Archives: Rosebuds-A Touch of Grace

My Transgender Life — Transitioning at Age 64

GraceStevensGrace Stevens, long-time First Event co-chair and both Treasurer and Board Member at TCNE, recently published No! Maybe! Yes! Living My Truth, an intimate memoir of her personal struggle to transition and live her true life authentically as a woman. She just contributed a featured article on Huffinton Post: My Transgender Life — Transitioning at Age 64. Check it out!

Wednesday and Thursday at First Event 2015

I am me bursting and cannot hold it in any longer!

Before I tell you about Thursday, I really want to encourage everyone to get to the hotel on Wednesday evening as we will be celebrating First Event’s new home for 2015 with some entertainment. Starting around 8:00 pm right in front of the amazing atrium window, we will be entertained by my friends, Lori Diamond and Fred Abatelli. LoriDiamond.net has all info on Lori & Fred’s music – please enjoy, we hope to make the first night of First Event very special this year!

On Thursday January 22, 2015, you will start your day enjoying the Day of Wellness and Beauty. This has become a huge hit for the attendees as a variety of service providers provide services and consultations to help you in so many ways. Of course, Tiffany’s Closet will be in full swing with not just clothing. We will also have fashion consultants to help you select the best outfits that work just for you. And of course Julie will be there with her sewing machine to alter whatever you may need. This can all prepare you for Thursday evening and out Night on the Town.

Once again, on Thursday night we will be awarding our 2015 Community Service Awards. We are so excited and know that you will be too about this year’s honorees, who we shall name shortly (and yes, they already know who they are!)

Starting at 5:00 pm, the buses will arrive at the Westin hotel and your night begins as we bring you right into the center of Boston, to Club Cafe. As you arrive, there will be hors d’oeuvre served, so mingle and find your old friends or meet new ones. After the last buses arrive there will be a fabulous buffet dinner as we have the run of the cafe (which is closed to the public until 8:00 pm when we all move tot he back room to start the awards ceremonies, followed by the fabulous Peter Mac as he brings us both Judy Garland (click your heels three times) and Liza Minnelli (direct from the Kit Kat club) to entertain us all.

When the show is over, we will move back into the front room while the back room is transformed into Club Cafe’s regular dance club with DJ. There is also more entertainment in the Club’s Napoleon room up front.

You are also right in the middle of Boston where there are many other clubs that you can easily walk to. Club Cafe is open until 2:00 am in the morning and we will be providing buses to bring you home until the wee hours so you can truly have and make you very own Night on the Town!

However there is a little bad news. The number of tickets we have available for this is limited. Everyone who has already registered for the full conference or the Thursday Evening event is already in. At this point there are less than 100 tickets left for this fabulous Night on the Town, and I am certain that this night will sell out well before the conference starts. If I was a betting girl, I would wager we will be sold out before the end of this year. I encourage you to get on line NOW and make your Registration for First Event 2014, book your hotel rooms, and get here on Wednesday and enjoy everything First Event has to offer you!

..and now I can breathe again.

Grace
First Event Co-Chair

Music Video Features Transgender Love Story

Grace found this Matt Nathanson Music Video of ‘Kinks Shirt’, his new hit song. At least in the video, it is about a transgender woman. It’s great!

Being A Trans Ally Panel with Grace Stevens

We are pleased to announce that Grace Stevens, TCNE board member and co-chair for First Event, will join a panel discussion on Being A Trans Ally, Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 6-8:30 pm, at Fenway Health, 1340 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116, presented by the Young Leaders Council. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP here.

Addendum: Grace was quoted in the Huffingon Post!

Interesting Articles

Grace Stevens submitted links to some interesting articles relevant to the transgender community:

Being ‘Masculine of Center’ While Black

Study reveals high heels are actually hurting you!

The Next Civil Rights Frontier

Male Privilege and Transitioning From a Fat Woman to a Fat Man

Two-Spirit Resource Directory

Gender Identity Issues and Addiction

Thank you Grace! Some of these are also on our new Support and Information Links page. Please check it out.

First Journey

by Grace Anne Stevens

I first met her during the afternoon of June 29, 2013. I was a participant in an improvisational workshop, that I have attended a number of times over the past two years. I was watching and fascinated by the work of another participant creating a monolog of different stages of his daughter’s life. My attention was riveted on the performance of how the daughter experienced being born.

She apparently was also watching this performance and suddenly made her presence known to me. There are often times I could say that I have been engaged in one thing and found myself drifting off with other thoughts, but this felt very different! She urgently pleaded with me to share some of her story with the group. Upon the completion of my classmate, I asked if I could go next. I had no idea what I was going to do, and just let her have control as she shared some of her experience when she was birthed.

As I mentioned, I have been doing these improv workshops for a few years, and I have learned to stay in the moment when I create a character, work with it and let it go. The monolog I presented surprised me and I thought that she was done. Surprises for me continued a week later when she appeared in my consciousness once again. She said that she didn’t really tell her entire story that day, and wanted to share more, and let others know how hard it has been for her. She seemed so small, so fragile, and yet her pain and urgency were tangible to me. It was hard to tell her that the workshop was over, and as she was getting upset, I told her that if she was willing to tell me the story, I would write it and then share with as many people who would be kind enough to listen. This settled her down and over the past few weeks, she has been telling more about what it was like for her when she was first born.

I have tried to capture not only what she told me but also how I interpreted the feelings she experienced. I promised her that I would do my very best in sharing how she felt. This made her very happy.

(Note: I really do not remember having an experience like this before. Sure, I know I have many parts that have feelings, opinions, stories and will argue with each other, sometimes endlessly! Even though I am transgender, I cannot say with any conviction that the story that she told me is really out of my own memories. On the other hand, I cannot deny this as a possibility!)

She didn’t know when she knew. But know, she did! Although this whole awareness and sensing thing was still so new to her, there was so much that she knew!

Changes were coming, and coming quickly. She was so used to the gentle rocking and the regular rhythm – Ba–Bmmm….Ba–Bmmm…Ba–Bmmm – that was always in the background. She was aware of her own rhythm from inside of her —– b-ba..b-ba..b-ba – that although faster than the background, seemed to be matching it in some way. This was all so familiar. She could not remember not being present with all of this. This was home, the only home she knew, but now, she knew, it was almost time to leave!

She was used to and loved the gentle rocking. She even enjoyed when she could feel herself gently bumping into what must have been a wall of some sort, and even when she was pushed back away from it by something. She always thought she heard some laughing from a place far away when this would happen. Every now and again, she rocked herself and changed position. When she did this, she knew that the laughter was her own.

The first time the wave hit her she was scared. The background noises were loud, the rhythms everywhere speeded up and she was buffeted about in all directions. Her own rhythms speeded up and she squeezed herself into an even tighter ball than she was already in. Then it subsided, and things returned to the way they were. But from somewhere deep inside her she knew it was getting to be the time that she will soon leave this place, this home. She wondered how long it will take.

Even though she noticed the next wave coming, she was still not prepared for it. It was louder, stronger and longer than the first one. It too subsided, and she tried to go deeper inside to see if she knew what would be next. She did not have to wait too long before she could sense another wave building, and then there were more of those far away voices that she had heard before, although they were no longer laughing. There was yelling and then everything started moving. She was being rocked and bounced as the next wave came crashing down on her and again she squeezed herself tighter and tighter to withstand it.

She knew they were moving and that she was not the only one being uncomfortable, when she heard a loud popping sound and was thrown from side to side and she realized that bumping into the wall now was no longer fun. Another wave was starting up. They were coming closer together, and then she faded out…….

She didn’t know how long she was out, but as her awareness returned she sensed she was being pushed around and turned upside down. At first she wanted to fight it, but she knew that it was time to take the journey. As the next wave was building she tried her best to relax and just ride it out. She knew she was being squeezed through a tunnel…one that she seemed to be making as her head was plowing its way through, being pushed by wave after wave. She could feel her own rhythms beating faster than ever… ba..ba…ba…ba…ba, and then she felt herself slowly being pulled out of the tunnel – a little bit at a time..as each wave was pushing her, something new was also pulling her.

There were bright lights everywhere and so many people all looking the same with only their eyes uncovered. The light hurt her and she could see the person who was holding her and wiping her dry when she heard a voice announce,

“It’s a boy!”

Wrong, she thought! Wrong, she knew! She started to yell and argue, but all she could hear was her crying getting louder and louder.

“Hello! There has been a mistake here. It is not a boy! I am a girl!” She knew that she knew, and had known all along. Why would they say something as silly as, as wrong as, “it’s a boy?” How could they not know what was so obvious to her?

As her eyes got more accustomed to the light and the people stopped poking and prodding her she looked down, between her legs and her cries got even louder. This is just so wrong she thought as she noticed what was there. How can a mistake like this happen? She tried to yell and explain that they were all so very, very wrong.

No one heard her. Not a single person could understand her. It was so clear to her and she was trying as hard as she could to let them all know that they were wrong, but once again she knew – she knew that they did not understand. She wondered if they would ever understand what a mistake was being made. All the people in the room seemed so happy as she was wrapped up in blue swaddling blankets. She cried and she cried. She wailed as loud as she could and no one understood.

As she continued to cry, she started to hear chattering from deep inside of her. One voice was telling her that it will be OK, as another one yelled, “no way is this ok!” Another could not understand why no one would listen to her as another was trying to figure out how to get them to understand. One was telling her that she was wrong, and that she really was a boy – she did not care very much for this voice. She heard a quiet voice in the back just crying and feeling helpless. She could really relate to this one. There was a consensus forming that this was most assuredly going to suck! She continued to cry.

She was placed on top of someone – her mom, and even as she was crying as loud as possible, she could feel the old rhythm – Ba–Bmmm….Ba–Bmmm…Ba–Bmmm. This was familiar and she had to admit to herself, comforting. It was not as loud as it used to be, but she knew it was part of her world. She found herself gasping for air between her cries and then suddenly found herself suckling on the offered breast. She could taste the sweetness of the offering and noticed her breathing slow down. As she slowly faded off into sleep, she could hear many of the clamoring voices inside of her, arguing, worrying, being angry,the ones feeling that they are not being understood and the one who steadfastly knew who she really was. They all knew that even though this first journey has been hard, it would be nothing compared to what was in store for her in the future.

This is when she knew….they were going to be right!

I cannot say for sure whether this story is the work of one of my Creative parts or perhaps a spontaneous unburdening of an exiled part. Possibly since I have transitioned two years ago, she may feel it safer to come out of hiding. It has been interesting for her to appear to me on on her own and I believe that my openness to hear her story and help her share it with others has helped her tremendously. I wonder if she has more to tell me and you or if there are other parts that have more stories that they would like to share. I know that there have been many journeys taken during my life so far. This was the first!

Grace

Transgender Teens in the News

Grace ran across another ABC News gem, this time the story of an normal attractive teenage couple in mid-America who are both transgender:

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/transgender-teens-girl-guy-guy-girl-19529634

Gender Variance Education & Training

GraceStevensGrace Stevens, a mainstay at TCNE and co-chair of our annual First Event conference, has set up as possibly the first Gender Variance Consultant nationwide. In creating Gender Variance Education & Training, Grace combines an M.A. in Counseling Psychology with years of leadership in the New England transgender community. Over the past four years Grace has presented on different transgender and relationship topics in a variety of settings both within and outside of the gender variant community. Her new consultancy focuses on helping business, government and other organizations understand and respond to the issues that gender variant people experience, both proactively and reactively. Visit her new web site, www.GenderVarianceEducation.com.

I Am Still (a) Dad

by Grace Stevens

This Sunday is Father’s day.

Now, two years after my transition I am really thinking about this.   Changing genders is such a totally personal decision to throw away the masks, the fear and the confusion and put oneself out in the world as honestly and authentically as one can.   For me, my transition occurred when my three children were already adults and living on their own.   I love Jenny Boylan’s new memoir Stuck in the Middle where her transition occurred when her kids were young and she also transitioned from father to mother –in name and deed.  We know that gender roles are not as rigid perhaps as they used to be, and by being authentic she points out her boys have become better men.

My kids grew up with a dad who filled all the expected dad roles.  I was there teaching and coaching baseball and basketball for many years.  I did the driving, the grilling, mowing the lawn, growing the garden, training the dog, helping with the homework — and loved every minute of it.   I was also somewhat controlling and thinking that I knew better than everyone, which as I know now was one of my methods of hiding what was inside me.

A few years ago, when I told the kids that I was transgender, my biggest fear was that they would abandon me.  Each of them, I believe, have processed my transition in a different manner but I have not lost any of them.  Sometimes we chat about it, and I believe that still having them in my life is another blessing that I have been given.

I am now the woman I  knew I was.  Each day I awake with gratitude, that I am living another day as my authentic self.   I have never been the mother of my kids.    I have been their father, and that is still part of who I am.   Recently I was at a training at the local Apple store and a woman sat next to me who I recognized as the mother of one of my daughter’s school friends.   She knows my family very well, but I have not seen her in at least 10 years.  I said hello and asked her if she knew who I was (I do look different).  She was confused and apologized that she did not recognize me, and I explained that I was Stella’s dad.  It took her a while for that to sink in, but then we were able to chat.

Presently, two of my kids call me Grace, and the other still calls me dad.  It must be confusing for them.  I am OK with whatever makes them comfortable.

Over the past two years I have changed a great deal.  However there is least one thing that hasn’t:  I am still (a) dad.

Transgender Goes Mainstream

Grace Stevens found this mainstream ABC News Video exploring public reaction to an out transgender woman in a staged confrontation. And what do you know, people are amazingly supportive!

If you have trouble playing the Video on UpWorthy.com, then try the Same Video on YouTube.com.

Thank you Grace!