11 Ways 2014 Was the Biggest Year in Transgender History | Rolling Stone

11 Ways 2014 Was the Biggest Year in Transgender History | Rolling Stone.

Good Morning Constance…

I ran across this article this morning, and of course was interested to read of this historical recounting of an amazing year of awareness growing…

…and yet, somehow, I found it strangely disconnected from my own life.  In the midst of these events, I swam in my own seas of trial, toil, sorrow and joy.

My own year:

In early January, I went to my therapist dressed as myself…outside in public.  It terrified me and I thought I would die of fear.  When I walked into her office, she cried in joy.  Her tears are jewels in my memory.

In late January I had my ears pierced, and though it hurt like crazy, I was ecstatic.  A week later, I was derisively interrogated by subordinates at work “what the F**k had I done with my ears?”.  That particular brand of self-loathing, shame, fear and anger gave me its first sip…it is not intoxicating.  It is hell.

In February, I began HRT…and the horror fires banked so long in forges that rival Mordor in despair began to diminish, and then extinguish, and streams of mercy clear and relief substantial coursed through my veins…and who I am began to blossom and bloom…I was well named at birth, if it is considered what that sort of thing is destined to do…

In April, I had more experiences at work that were distressing.  I also joined my poetry group, and that cadre of people who have only ever known me as myself are such salt of the earth wonders, who simply know me as Charissa, the odd poetess.  One beautiful woman in particular has taken me under her wing…and on that first fearful night, she looked at me with open face and clear eyes.

In Spring and summer, I sold my truck and used the proceeds to fund my transition…of this I can only refer you to those months.

In summer a relationship that is very significant to me began to be built, the first one, in fact, as me Charissa.  It is a very simple one in its arc and scope…it is very complex in that it is unfolding from the end to the beginning, and someday we shall arrive where we are meant to begin.  It is encumbered with obstacles, none insurmountable but all onerous…distance, time, and prejudice rooted in ignorance and fed by distrust are outside forces that have so far driven us on with sails full before those winds, and we have sailed to many wondrous shores…may there ever be another, DDH…ever be another until the Last.tumblr_nh5lyicxll1qgk7mfo1_1280

And in the autumn, I took my own journey down The Green Mile that most of my sisters walk…I was murdered professionally, guilty of the crime of becoming myself and throwing off the chains of privilege and white male power and position.

This is the ultimate crime in our patriarchy.

A human being, born biologically as an XY chromosome-assigned being, and granted all the accompanying privileges, rights and riches, power and position, initiated into the ways of “men” and present in their spaces…this human considers all that as utter futility compared to the all surpassing richness of being myself and authentic…and I am unabashedly thrilled to be myself…I openly declare being a woman to be the better destiny and life.

For those crimes I had to die.  I have been put in my place, and my tale of woe would be recognized by any woman anywhere who sought to be herself in places she was not permitted to be.

Since that moment life is full of unbecoming…unwrapping, unraveling…the chrysalis is split and the butterfly within is terrified as its house and covering is torn asunder…only the future will inform her she can fly while she writhes in the clutches of the threatening lonely present.

Abandoned by friends, neglected by loved ones, showered by Mama, constantly encouraged by one…the heart of my heart and constant support and nearly my life itself…16601790-standard

…that is the year in review for me.  A year of portent.  Perhaps the overall macro view contrasted with the small view of this flea will give you some perspective in the issues we face that cis-gender people take for granted.

May 2015 contain triumph to match the certain tears…may there be joy enough to overcome my fears…and may I find somehow the grace to continue on, in the midst of lonely silence and neglect and need, laying aside my own selfish point of view and greed to feed and care for myself…may I be a vessel poured out over and over again, trusting Mama to fill me full and looking never to others.

Blessings to you Constance…and deepest heart gratitude that you are reading here this day.  Your support has been so precious and invaluable.

Charissa Grace…a butterfly emerging and persistent.


Bleeding Light and Memory: On Transgender Remembrance Day

Here is my first poem written regarding this thing called Transgender Remembrance Day.  I wrote it last year on this day.  It is located here:

Bleeding Light and Memory (Without Images for Structure)

I present it to you again today…and it has grown, shrunk, matured and gained its presence a bit.

In other words I edited it.
Please…read it and let the reality of it hit your heart with the tattoo needle and not the jester’s feather.  Please be changed…how can we  live if you won’t unbend, unfold and become?  I am right there with you Constance, wings straining for every weft of breeze, sails hoisted and praying for that puff divine and transformative…

Love, Charissa

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Bleeding Light and Memory (2014 version)

When light struck my soul I blazed fierce and exultant!
Into awareness, I bled joy so radiant just like the horizon
bleeds sunlight at dawn.  I gazed in the gawky glass of exultation
(and I in my youth seeing darkly thru that glass)
I knew myself and was gaudiloquent and I was so glad and full,
I was so wonder-full.tumblr_musnzoGltW1ss5om1o1_500Til it rained, titters fell tinkling down on heart-tin, then rebukes raging,
lashing at my roof and thrumming and drumming til I saw no more thru that
bright young glass darkly, but dull thru a lonely storm dimly and starkly
and everything eerie and glowing in green, and radioactive remarks so redactive
and careless cerulean comment, alas! I came to know what I was
and was not and I melted misshapen and crippled.

Then came the days long and same and repetitive,
passing by people of 2 kinds that easily pass, they belong
but they never see beyond, they never see inside the rose.
So I plucked throbbing buds, thorn blood price cheap and held them out
from my side of that dark glass wet with stormy tears, washy with rivers
of arrogant vain assumed presence attributing value and worth.
Life ground me down as it moved without mercy, a glacier inexorable
grinding in glances so cold and so frozen, that flow moving over
the dark silent boulders of being…I saw bones strewn round me
like gruesome pick-up sticks, cast-offs from careless hands,
players who tired of children’s games, children’s cruel nicknames,
grown weary they tore out their hearts with bare hands mad with grief
but the world grinding by didn’t care.tumblr_mv21x4W9Lk1rk1cbbo1_1280Until at last long from those dizzy heights brilliant awareness burst over me,
bleeding in fullness and in terror tinklings, thrumming and cold and that
startling certain blue clarity…I finally remembered who I am, and know
finally what I am, that I am, and my long lament “alas” nevermore uttered!
For I am become me…at last, me…a lass.

That’s me in a nutshell, my story and journey transgender…but what about you?
Will you take time to think and remember? Will you find mercy today?
Will you find the care? Will you go gently with us into our long night,
will you rage, rage with us gentle and bless now the living of the light
that’s straining to dawn bright and final in blazing clear beauty?
You too are dual natured, corrupt and dying and incorrupt rising!
We share one grim struggle, together the dead and together alive
in one deadly bold dual to live.  You….are US. and we are you…
but you without arms, without eyes, without mouths
we scream loud and cry for release!  We cry out
for the midwives of mercy to meet us and make us
so beautiful for situation at last and delivered of our awful charge.

OPEN YOUR EYES AND EARS FOR US.tumblr_mv2wk5jIW71spa6l5o1_500See us…and hear us…don’t fear us, don’t fear to see yourself,
come stare down your own stormy floods, sit and listen!
Don’t be afraid to hear us, we’re the voice of the echoes you hear
in your own fearful nightmares of being, oh Daughters of Pharaoh!
Reach down and lift us up out of the reeds and mud! Because of you
a whole nation was freed, and we too are Eve’s sons and the daughters of Adam,
but trapped and acutely aware we are helpless!  Too often we’ve fallen
to dread hands and dead eyes of no grace and no mercy
and no compassionate symmetry!

Light strikes in blacksmith blows,
soul sparks chip off and away on this day…
I intention…remember
my own radiant flood
bleeding light and day’s promise,
remember the resonant thunder,
remember the frowning floods
the gushing gouts
and the othering stares
and the brutal don’t cares
of long years I walked
in the country of lost men
and longing despair…

I remember the pangs and the waves and the lurching
of labor as I, pregnant with my own measureless mystery
and full of such knowing began to emerge and break forth
deep-touched forever warded by Grace, and kept safe
from that pit which has tripped far too many and eaten them,
chewed them like Goya’s devourer,
Zeus eating every last child in his madness and horror…
incarnate in this patriarchy that rounds us up
into its abattoir death camps like cattle
and herds us into chutes and charnal house horrors
of slaughter and blood-spattered baptism.Francisco_de_Goya,_Saturno_devorando_a_su_hijo_(1819-1823)(let their fate haunt you
and give you holy hush
and give you sacred silence).

Dare. Look. Feel.
I will too, and somewhere
we will fight off those demons
compelling and fell
that haunt us and cause us
to rave and destroy…
Then we shall be set free to fly again
all together in one flock of birds
of all feathers and all calls
become One Glad Song!
We will dare to fly off
to the sun and beyond
where our song will bleed joy
and rain down on the earth
to bring healing and hope
home in Love…



10 questions to never ask a transgender person by Laura Jane Grace

I found this online, Constance.  It is not mine:



‘Gender Confirmation Surgery’: What’s in a Name? | Loren S. Schechter, M.D., F.A.C.S.

‘Gender Confirmation Surgery’: What’s in a Name? | Loren S. Schechter, M.D., F.A.C.S..

Hi Constance… I just referred to this in a comment over at Dani’s blog, which hopefully I handled in a graceful and kind way.

I thought you all might enjoy reading it as well.




Though none go with me, still I will follow

Dear Constance…I have a heavy heart today, and my eyes are red and throbbing from weeping.

The second wave of “loving wounds from friends” is occurring. I got a letter in the mail from a man I spoke with several weeks ago, one whom I have known for years and had thought was open and interested in my fate.

Well, the letter showed that while he thinks of himself as a friend (and make no mistake, he truly thinks he is “doing the right thing”), he does not believe that I am of my right mind and walking properly with the Lord. He makes this clear.

And I am so conflicted! Because on the one hand I know that it is not man who grants righteousness or will be able to ultimately label me, but God who has given me righteousness as a free gift and my beloved Advocate the Holy Spirit (whom I adore and love to call Mama…a poetic, intimate and informal expression of heart connection that is underlaid by foundational theological teaching and underpinnings)…and yet on the other hand to be told by someone that I have known for over 35 years, lived with for a few of those, and then worked with for our entire working career, someone who has not been intimately involved in my life for the last 25, has rarely come to the house, did not check in when Dad died, failed to notice my rampant and extreme despair, to be told that I am under a spirit of deception and not rightly choosing for life…

…well it is shattering in a lot of ways.

I am going to post the letter here with my reply…and my comments to you all here, not anywhere else  (My comments are indented and in blue).   I am deeply convicted that Mama does not want me to argue about this with people. If they are open to learning what being transgender is and is not, then I will spend whatever time it takes…but if they want to “a priori” judge me as wrong and in sin simply for choosing transition, then it is pointless to argue, for the evidences that I have biblically and scientifically and philosophically are moot to them! They have already made up their minds based on feelings, cultural traditions, and a few verses wrenched from context to bolster their weak arguments.

I think what breaks me most…shakes me most…is the awareness that this same process is going to keep happening. And it is painful.


I could take the easy road…simply post “No Trespassing” and let them talk…but then again, how does that potentially educate? How does that maintain openness to relationship on my part? How does that lend any legitimacy to gender transition as a Christian?

I think that I am called to a higher purpose than just transition, and “fixing myself”…I think that I am called to speak for those who cannot speak, to run for those who cannot walk, and to stand for those who would shatter in the wind. So many individuals who are trans are so very broken, outcast, alienated…and I…true child of blessing and privilege even though I suffered as trans…I am relatively whole, and gifted with writing skills and speaking abilities.

No…I do think Mama has a different road for me, a road that will end up on the mountain top, but only via the lowly and lonesome valleys of the shadow of death. I hear Her singing to me “You gotta walk that lonesome valley…”

As you read below, I am going to add in comments of things I would have said, could have said but chose not to. Perhaps this intimate look into the life of a transgender Christian woman who is in the trench warfare that only Christians seem to be able to wage with such exquisitely kind cruelty will illuminate to you ways in which you may have failed to truly love your neighbor…or barring that will inspire you to simply “not go there”…to the correcting stool…at least not until you have walked side by side with someone for at least a hundred hours for every minute you plan to correct.

Interesting how Jesus spent very little time correcting anyone…oh wait! Except for the religious leaders and power mongers who corrected everyone else and were the final arbiters of who was holy and who was not!

I am still Charissa Grace. I am still seeking to do justice, and now in particular I am with all my being hungry to love mercy…but I am so sorrowful, how do I know if I am walking humbly? Well…Mama knows, She knows…so Ima stay close to Her always.


*****Handwritten letter to me dated October 4th, 2014*****

I want to write this to you in order to respond to our conversation that we had on your front porch on Sunday afternoon three weeks ago. My thoughts have taken awhile to distill within me but I believe that they have settled into an understandable form.

My heart is heavy as I write this and just as it has been since I was made aware of your public display of being transgender on a Monday morning as I was (Charissa comments:  insert work activity here). From that shock I have been praying and have arrived at these few points that I hope you will be able to receive not as arrows of judgement or religious diatribe but as my response and call to Truth.

Interesting to see here that the very first things he communicates to me put the onus on me to “receive”…rather than the onus on him to speak edifying and encouragingly. He has done no study since we talked, asked no questions, or really even interacted with me at all.

An arrow of judgment is when we infer a heart condition based on an outward manifestation of behavior. You have judged someone when you think you know who they are based on what you have seen them do, or fail to do, with no other evidence. Jesus called it taking a speck out of someone’s eye when the speck remover’s eyes were full of logs.

A religious diatribe is when a deeply held belief is held over or against someone who is seen as violating that belief or invalidating that belief, and the said diatribe will not have any authoritative teaching accompanying it…it will simply be an emotionally laden coercion moment. Sometimes religious diatribes will be accompanied by some form of authority, but nearly every time they will be things taken out of context or twisted to serve the purpose of the one making it.

The goal of both of these forms of interaction is to control another person.

For me personally, you have crossed over a river which I will not be crossing.

This comment was confusing to me…is he telling me that he will not be transitioning beside me? Um, duh? Who would want to transition if they were fully themself? Or, is he telling me that we will no longer be friends, associates? And also, why will he not cross? Because he is happy as the gender he is? (again, duh)…or because I am in sin and he does not want to be sullied? Which is antithetical to the example that we have in Jesus by the way, who came in the flesh when we were yet dead in our sins and active enemies of God.

And now I am aware that you made that decision some time ago and I was not aware of it. And I have not ever been aware of your struggle with gender. My shock and surprise indicates a weakness of relationship and lack of transparency and openness that I assumed had existed in the past and present between us. Neither of us am I blaming for the weakness but I am sharing a feeling of loss because of the way I ended up finding out about your life change.

I simply must explain here…this man has not been a true part of my life on any consistent basis that would earn him any authority to speak like this to me. He was not there when my dad suffered…he was not there when my children went thru various trials…he was not there when I wanted to kill myself…he didn’t hear me when at work I tried to talk to him about the despair that overwhelmed me…

…and of course, he was not there when I at last admitted what I am. Because how could I dare talking to anyone about it? Seriously…look at the response he is having. Tell me how that makes him a safe place to pour out my heart and make my very core vulnerable at the most defenseless time of my life?

Weakness of relationship…lack of transparency and openness…assumed existed in the past and currently present.

Hmmm…first off, notice the assumption there, that everyone be all up in everyone else’s business. Somehow either he or I owed the other one this “transparency” simply because we had history and were both Christians. There is a devious and poison doctrine that got loose in the church in the 70s, and it assumes a heavy authoritarian leader to whom all others are “submitted to” and demands an accountability to that leader, or group of leaders. This was most clearly seen in the Shepherding Movement and in the teachings of a man named Bob Mumford among other men. As time passed, it was repudiated but managed to metastasize and mutate and the authority figure became something seemingly more benign called various things like “accountability partner” or other similar names.

While there is definite wisdom and benefit in having someone close that you trust who is there for you and who knows all about you, this practice usually devolves into various forms of bondage and control in its best forms and flat out spiritual abuse in its worst. Deep study of New Testament behavioral codes place about 99.9999% of the emphasis on removing specks from ones’ own eyes, and looking for ways to defer to others with them being more important than one’s self.


If you had shared your struggle and the reality of what you were dealing with in your heart with me or someone, perhaps things would be different. I am hoping that I would have cared enough to pray and help carry that burden to the Lord.

As I made clear when we talked, during the time he knew me most, I had no conscious idea that the source of my despair was gender dysphoria…and yes, as a victim of that Christian culture during those years, I had “accountability partners” who knew that I wrestled fiercely with depression and despair, and they had affirmed the nobility of this struggle.

I also had one friend in particular that I was open about gender feelings with, though we did not know at the time what the dealio was.

He ignores the presence of my amazing spouse and her complete sharing of my horror, her encouragement…and then he says he is currently hoping he would have cared enough to pray and help carry that burden to the Lord…WHAAAAAaaaa???????????

Did I read that right? Let me see if I am tracking: so far I have been warned that there are arrows coming and words that may be resembling religious diatribe…I have been told that I am across a river that he will not be crossing…he has implied that I have been secretive and dissembling over the years and has flat out stated that I had not shared my struggle…

…and then turns around to say that he is currently hoping that he would have cared enough…

Here is an idea: how about caring enough now, enough to be around me and see for himself that I am still the very same person I always was but more whole and healthy? How about getting over the fear that I am perishing, and getting over himself that he is somehow the knight riding in on the charger to save the day, and simply coming along side me as a friend with no agenda but to love me?

I have a few things to ask you to consider and to see my understanding of things.

OOoohh…his understanding…okay, I thought, here is where I will see some information, indication that he studied a bit on this…alas I was sadly disappointed. His understanding is just that: what he thinks in himself, and for reasons either explained poorly, weakly, or not at all.

First I am concerned that you have made these life changing decisions without any submitted relationship and dialogue with the people in the Body of Christ closest to you and who have known you. Any one of us becomes vulnerable without being in submitted relationships that are mutually held in open and honest accountable communication. Is there anyone you trust that could say “(Charissa comments:  he used my deathname here) don’t go this way your (sic) making a mistake” and you would wait and not keep going? Left to ourselves we are alone.

Where do I start on that? See, the term “submitted relationship”…that is code, and means that anytime you want to do something you have to run it by other people, especially if it is something unusual. It is not enough to be submitted to God, and daily seeking Them, daily being in the word looking for guidance…it is not enough to be submitted to one’s spouse, and together daily seeking God in prayer together. No…there is a different dynamic, one in which someone else…a human being(s)…serves as an intermediary between you and God.

Hear me…there is nothing inherently wrong with doing just that…but neither is there anything inherently wrong in not doing that. A Christian who considers God’s word authoritative would search scripture for any broad stroke parameters that would include or preclude the considered direction, and if it was not prohibited would then pray and ask for guidance and insight regarding a looming decision. They would also consult with the people any such decision would directly affect, so as to defer to them humbly and understand the impact a chosen course may have on them. Then they would consider any science, technology, teachings etc that would further illuminate the possible outcomes of a choice…special attention would be given to any testimony of people who had experienced similar things.

Ideally, if one wanted to, they would share this with the people who are rooted and woven into their hearts and souls, just out of friendship. There is wisdom in counsel, and counsel from those who truly know you is priceless.

If the considered action was clearly prohibited by scripture, the counselours would be sure to point that out…but if it wasn’t…if it was a matter of choice…free will…then the preferred course of action might or might not be received, and it might or might not end up profitable…but it would not a priori be a matter of sin or rebellion or deception!!

It would simply be a choice, one if made foolishly would result in a bad end, but a bad end not due to inherent sinful action simply because it was different than the “submitted relationship” people want.

In my own case, by the time I actually confronted my being transgender, I had also pretty much divested myself of all controlling relationships and was seeking to draw close to God everyday. In fact, as depression tore at me, and dysphoria grew worse, there was not really anyone I trusted who would not immediately say I was under demonic attack or try to “buck me up”. It was insulting and hurtful that they would think that I had not already recited every encouraging verse in the bible…I know them all, literally…it was painful that they would think me vulnerable to demonic influence given that I was daily interacting with God and crying out desperately for help.

Besides, I do think there are quite a few theological issues involved with another modern doctrine that I find specious (the notion that a believer can be demonized after they have been united with the Spirit of God) a doctrine built on a few instances from the days of Jesus in the flesh.  New Testament teaching regarding who controls one’s body, and who lives in that body when relationship with God is sought is full and pretty directive so as to infer that wrongs and sins would be the responsibility of an individual free will choice to deviate from clearly stated scriptural exhortations which are properly understood contextually and culturally.

I was deeply saddened when I read his rhetoric, that were I to confide my journey in someone trusted their immediate response would be to warn me of error and then I would be bound to cease and desist. It revealed that he considers transition to be wrong and a mistake and sinful in and  of itself…but without any biblical edict whatsoever, no scriptural authority at all, and absolutely zero examination of the science side of things to see if my decision is sound medically and practically.

Tragically, such an attitude does indeed preclude him as a potential consultant for life matters, for in taking the next steps after examining God’s word, I discovered that there are a plethora of wise reasons to embrace transition…and in light of no forbidding authoritative bible teaching, and nothing checking me in daily prayer, and nothing checking my spouse, and the presence of positive affirmation of this course via wholeness and health and a more robust and joyful life experience, transition seems to me to very much be an answer to prayer.


There are three things that are alarm bells to me that I have been considering since our conversation that day.

One is the feminizing of the Holy Spirit. As we talked you referenced the Holy Spirit as “She” and “Her”. And you mentioned that you were now most often talking with Her (the Holy Spirit) and not the Father or the Lord Jesus. I do not see this sexual gender in the persons of the Godhead. Feminine attributes yes but not the exclusivity of specific sexual gender. I believe even our personal dialogue with God should be in accord with God’s word about Himself in scripture.

Okay…stop right there. First off, I did make it clear to him that I use those words for the Holy Spirit as part of my own personal relationship with the Holy Spirit…but I want to make a stronger point:

There is an assumed perverting of who God is by “feminizing” the Holy Spirit! Do you see that? As if calling the Holy Spirit the feminine expression of the Godhead to us somehow dirties God, and that only masculine descriptions are legitimate descriptions of God! What if over the years we have lost touch with the overall richness of the expression of God, and that restoring feminine pronouns to talking about God is needed and in order? I won’t bore you with the specifics, but just for example, one of God’s best names in the Old Testament is “El Shaddai” which means among other things “many breasted God”.

Really?? So we are to imagine a masculine god with many breasts? Or are we directed to instead consider a nursing mother dog, who has multiple food sources for multiple puppies, and the message is that God will nurture you and care for you like a mama dog her puppies! What is so bad about God having feminine attributes? And talking to God using feminine names? Is God that small and small hearted that God would shut His ears to avoid being besmirched?

I see arguments regularly which assure us that God is beyond and/or above gender…and thus saying “She” is inappropriate…

but the fact remains that “He” is still considered “appropriate” and correct!!!  What a freaking contradiction!!  If God is “beyond gender”, then logic tells us that either ANY pronoun is inappropriate, OR that God is big enough to not be offended by ANY pronoun one uses.

Frankly, I find anyone getting offended at the use of She for God is simply manifesting the internalized misogyny bequeathed them by the evils of the patriarchal paradigm that has imprisoned us all.

Also, notice how he characterizes gender as “sexual gender”…and that is one of the huge issues is that people reflexively associate sexuality and gender.  It was telling to me that he did not have the wherewithal to simply say “gender”.

Here is the kicker: God made humans in Their Image: male and female, which means that God is possessing qualities that we see revealed in male and female humans (and countless other ones I am certain)…but we are only permitted to use the male ones to talk about or to God, or God will get offended and smite us? Or somehow if I talk with the Holy Spirit and use “Mama” and “Her” as I do, then I will be ignored and even worse turned over to evil spirits and deceived? That simply doesn’t make any sense at all, either logically or theologically…and it certainly assumes a very mean view of the Nature of God.

“God’s word about Himself in Scripture…”

I dare you to make a study of divine gender terms in the old testament…


Secondly I cannot agree with what you are doing with the body God gave you. I know you know 1 Corinthians 6 well but it does make clear that our bodies are not our own to do with as we please. They are made for God and belong to Him. Making such severe changes as you feel compelled to do and are doing certainly muddies the waters if not plain challenging the Lordship of Christ and His ownership of you.

*Charissa face-palms here*  Constance, you can explore that chapter for your ownself. Volumes are written that explain proper exegesis of it…in a nutshell, it is addressing visiting harlots for sexual contact, and even more specifically as a carry over from the kind of religious practice of that day which involved sympathetic magic, and sex in temples with priests and priestesses as acts of worship of the gods of the various cultures who required such activity.

The apostle is teaching that you belong to a collective spiritual entity called the Body of Christ if you are a Christian, and as such you are not to unite yourself with anyone or anything that would lay claim to that allegiance.

It also easily generalizes over to sexual conduct and the use of the body…but to say that these verses prohibit anything specifically other than sexual acts deemed to be illicit and out of bounds is ludicrous!

Can you see how one could use this verse by itself as an arrow to seek to enforce control of anyone for doing or being anything? It could apply to those who seek to keep others from piercing, or getting tattoos, it could apply to those who seek to enforce eating rules, or activities deemed harmful to the body such as professional football, it could be used to prohibit someone from getting surgery on a cleft palate, or on a leaky heart valve, or the removal of cancer-ridden breasts, and it goes on and on and on…(as an aside, I do indeed view my unwanted and wrong genitalia as a sort of “cancer to my soul, to my heart”).

No, Constance…we can be guided by what is specifically addressed, whether to do or to not do…and then we are in the wonderful arena of maturing in relationship, sharpening our ears, and growing in wisdom as we walk, doing our best to be kind, listen to Mama (Holy Spirit…just listen!), and apply the wisdom we have gleaned. At the end of the day, the one and only measure of the success of that is how much our heart looks like Jesus at the end of the quest.tumblr_ncjrcmD9gI1qczwklo1_1280

The third alarm for me is your decision to change your own name. This is very troubling to me and I am feeling strongly that this will be a point of departure from which any return will be most difficult. The authority to name belongs to God and our parents not to ourselves. To rename yourself seems to me to be a very serious thing to consider doing.

*Double face palm* First of all, I do believe that I was directed by the Holy Spirit to take this step, both in the name I settled on and the process of doing it.

Having said that, I would again encourage you to read every instance of a name change, and you will see that my friend has revealed his own belief and preference, but has not given any evidence to back that up. I would give my evidence, but I am sure I would bore you more than I have already!

The last thing I have to share is one I know personally very well. It is that it is definitely possible to be displaying the “fruits of the Spirit” and yet at the same time be deceived and strongly influenced by a spirit of the enemy. This was me and my life for quite a few years.

Classic double bind here. My only defense is that the fruits of the Spirit are in my life and growingly so…and Jesus said that we would know them by their fruits…I deny that I am deceived. The fruits of deception are not there. There is no teaching that I would be distorting or seeking a way around regarding transition! This is just an agenda driven double bind, and leaves me no way to “prove” I am not deceived.

I lead (sic) worship, was kind gentle, loving, patient, and joyful in varying degrees. Yet I was being deceived and influenced by a spirit that held me addicted and subject to pornography and the selfishness of sexual sin. It was not until the day I repented and confessed with as complete a transparency as I knew that Jesus delivered me through His Spirit. That spirit left and never returned. But in retrospect, I was deceived even while displaying some good spiritual fruit.

Ok, Constance…I was privy to this time. I can tell you that there is a very different take on these events, but in the interest of confidentiality, I am remaining silent on that.

I do want to point out an obvious issue, though: Sexual sin, sexual immorality, and pornography by extension are all things that are directly addressed with biblical teaching. As such, it would not be up to any one individual to decide for themselves what was right and what was not if they wanted to remain true to the core of what being a Christian is…

This is a huge difference between what and how the bible speaks in these areas, and what and how the bible is silent in transgender areas in general and transition issues in specific.

I can also assure you, that if one is capable of reading the bible, practicing the things being practiced, and having a “clear conscience”, that this is far more a signal of a so called spirit of deception.

I tend to view it far more practically…anything we feel bad about that we keep doing will eventually de-sensitize us to its harmful impact. It is not so much a spirit, as it is a habit of our heart and thus a tremendous bondage that we soon are in thrall to.  In this case, there was never a pretense that such activity was okay or sanctioned. There was no open display of this unashamedly, such as when I dress as myself freely and without sin, but rather it was hidden behavior, with great planning and scheming and sneaking around at work to keep it hidden and thus available for indulgence.   There was no knowledge by other people who had a stake in the relational implications…

In short, there was nothing whatsoever in common with his situation and my situation.  I find no scriptural prohibition or direction, on either gender change or transition. I have been open completely with my spouse, from the first day of our marriage til now, and she has been fully in the know and walking united with me in love. We have studied out every bit of information we can find for over 18 months. I have a fabulous therapist, to pursue all avenues. I have not “consulted” people from my past…frankly what happened this time was exactly what I thought would happen if I tried to.

At every turn, doors opened…this was after we started asking for doors to either open or shut as a partial way to receive guidance…

Classic double bind again, right?  tumblr_n0uodj4yHY1sids82o1_500

Now I am praying for you.

(Now? NOW??? How does one take this?)

I would love to see you take time to get a second opinion.

What he is referring to is the counseling approach called reparative therapy. Basically this is a belief that all issues we have are due to experiential wounds we have endured. The assumption here is that I am transgender due to things that happened to me after I was born, and if I got healed of those wounds, my issues would resolve and disappear.

As a former counselour, uncertified but very active and informed and pretty good one, I can assure you that all the techniques there are to be healed of past wounds I have embraced…inner healing, deliverance, inviting the presence of the Holy Spirit to heal…what ever you have, I have tried it…and while there has been wonderful healing from wounds, and true growth and health, my dysphoria was never addressed, and since I had no idea there was such a thing as dysphoria, I was left feeling abandoned and condemned, not good enough.

The general literature regarding the reparative therapy approach is mixed at best and fruitless at worse. It has no great success rate, any more so than any therapeutic approach.

What does have a solid track record is transition. The results of transition are measurable improvements in mental health, quality of life, and general well being. If you wish, do a google search and discover on your won.

I am sure your counselor is caring and inciteful (sic) but without the presence of the Holy Spirit in prayer even she is unable to bring the depth of healing that is needed. Relief possibly but probably not wholeness.

Again…notice the assumption? That healing is what is needed (does a cleft palate need “healing”, or surgery?), that I am broken and not whole, and if I was whole I would not be transgender.

I don’t accept this. I say that as I get the hormones my brain and mind need I am growing into wholeness like any other woman. Any one of you, Constance, if you began to have your body flooded with hormones that contradicted your own internal sense of gender and self, why you would find yourself dysphoric. It is that simple!

And the clear inference that I am seeking relief…oh Constance, while I am so blessedly becoming right, there is no sense of relief when people that have known me for over 35 years begin to speak this way to me. And the prospect of more looms…

Lastly, the assumption that my counselor isn’t a christian and that the Holy Spirit is not big enough to use any means and/or tool to accomplish the will of God…tumblr_nau64oDG9d1t3jjjyo1_500

Your childhood stories are hurtful and I know the wounds are real. I just can’t see the path you are choosing as leading to real true restoration for these woundings. There is a dissonance that is unavoidable and hard to make peace with in this gender switch.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I want to restate that “real true restoration” is good, necessary to every human being, and unless accompanied by the proper sex hormones needed for that person is powerless to address gender dysphoria.

Evidence? Buehler? Buehler? Dissonance with what? Unavoidable where?


I am embracing the miracle of modern technology that allows my body to grow into my already innate sense of who I am, what I am…Charissa, a woman, and lover of God and people.

You have in so many ways been a faithful and generous friend. There is a scripture stating “faithful are the wounds of a friend”.

I could enumerate them, the ways that I have been a faithful and generous friend…I won’t. Rather, I want to take a look at how in the midst of all the verses about friendship he chose to talk about that one which discusses wounding. I agree with the verse…the wounds of a friend are faithful…but now we must establish what a friend is, does, looks like, acts like, etc.  Sadly, it is my far more common experience to be a good friend to others than have them be a good friend to me…that is changing, thanks DDH!!!

If my writing has caused any more “wounding” please forgive me and know I am speaking from a heart that loves you and truth too much to remain silent.

You will take note of his assertion that he loves me and loves truth too much to remain silent…so let’s look at a few things there…first of all truth. What truth has he shown that he loves that I am not also loving? What truth has he laid out there as true truth that is authoritative and I am bound as a professing Christian to embrace? I contend he has not done this.

Thus, the truth he loves is his own truth. And wowsa do we all love our own truth, yes?

Next, I want to mention that he says that he cannot remain silent because of loving truth too much to do so. Quite simply this is an inversion of New Testament behavior in situations where there is no authoritative guide from scripture to give specific help…in those causes we are exhorted to put our sister, our brother and their own needs and wants over our own. Philippians 2 speaks well about this, and many other places do too…it is the habit of “Preferring others over ourselves”

Lastly, he claims he loves me too much to be silent. I am not rhetorical here. Where is the love again? Where has it been? What does it look like? Since we spoke last, where is the evidence of such deep love? And what will be the path going forward?

In faith.

Always your friend,


Wow…just wow. So now comes my response. I kept it short and sweet. You will notice that I did not include a word of what I have written to you, as I truly think it would be fighting a tar baby. His mind is made up, and his heart is closed up…

…but I have written to you, Constance, because you just might read this, and get it in a new way, and be kind to someone and save their life…you just might be that cup of cold water to that one person who needs it or dies. And you just might find that I am speaking truth regarding the absolute certainty that God loves transgender people and is far more interested in their heart and character than They are their gender!


Dear XXXX…

Thank you for taking the time to write your letter. I appreciated how you characterized my “public display of being transgender”…that statement is accurate in each respect: display, and being.

Please know I receive your intention and desire for my best. Your arguments are very familiar to me, things I have asked myself and worked through until I was at peace in a biblical sense. I spent sleepless nights in thought and prayer. I counted the cost of gender transition, such as I understood it to be. I am capable of engaging on these matters with eloquence in depth, detail and evidence.

However, I disagree with your conclusions, and I think the most fruitful option is to refrain from defending myself in a debate that is not likely to touch the heart. I do not think there is anything I can say that would cause you to feel better or rest easy in knowing that I am still okay with God and God okay with me.

I choose to be silent because I believe this best sets the stage for the possibility of continued whole relationship. I have found the courage and the grace to simply stand in the face of charges and accusations. Those things say more about the ones who make them than they do about me…as time passes, God will be shown true.

I know my hope lies in a life exonerated in choosing eternal transition from works to Grace and death to Life…my gender transition is very much a subset of that. I walk unashamed and covered in the precious blood of Jesus which is my birthright as God’s offspring…for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until That Day.

I want to state for the record that I am submitted to God, to Jane, and to trusted friends. To the very best of my knowledge I am not in rebellion and I utterly reject the assertion from both you and George that I am under a spirit of deception. I stand with a clean heart and conscience before God and man, and daily welcome the Holy Spirit in all of the Holy Spirit’s Divine Wisdom, counsel, conviction, and comfort.

I do want to say I am sorry to you for being so informal, poetic and intimate regarding what you called the feminizing of the Holy Spirit. This verbiage is to me in my heart and soul a prayer and relational “shortcut”. I was open with you that way in the spirit of our history together. I assumed you would recall my being a student of the word, committed to fidelity, one who has sought to be a workman approved…in these areas of my life, along with the bedrock areas of Christian Faith and Dogma, nothing has changed!

Our conversation was about the issues of being, gender and me, not about the nature of God, the use of gender referencing God and what we should or should not call Them. It was sloppy of me to add the burden to your heart of unnecessarily using feminine pronouns for the Holy Spirit and unwittingly placing a stumbling block before you. Please forgive me that unwise conflating of 2 things, either of which would be “an issue” by itself.

I will close by saying thank you for your letter, and that I will always do my best to be myself with you, open hearted and grateful to know you. It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will manifest the will of the Father for us and bear the fruit in us and through us commensurate with that Life.

Remaining silent in Hope, refraining from speech on most of these things in Faith, and deferring to the Holy Spirit in all of them in Love…especially Love…

Charissa Grace White


If you are still here after all this, you are diehard indeed!! Thank you for reading.

Charissa Grace, who is heavy hearted, mourning, and still not ashamed of myself, of the Gospel, or of God in whom I put my Hope.


UPDATE:  2 years later…this individual has not had any contact with me whatsoever…has not spoken one word to me.

This man who claimed to be a friend, and a follower of Jesus, whose professed life mission is to seek and save “the lost” has not even seen me since then or in any way, shape, or form even sought me out.

This says less about him as a person and MORE about the horrible lies and bondages he lives under inside his evangelical ghetto.

It has been painful escaping…I rejoice for the pain…and the gain.

UPDATE:  3 years later…still not one word from the dude.  What a Christlike witness…HAH!!


A Transgender Activist on the Authenticity of ‘Transparent | Indiewire

A Transgender Activist on the Authenticity of ‘Transparent | Indiewire.

Constance…this will give you a very good insight into the daily life of a transitioning transgender person…especially one going from male to female (I can only assume about the female to male, but suspect that it is largely a commonly held experience).

Salient quote:

“…It’s not a man coming out as a woman. It is a transgender woman who is coming out. There’s a line in the beginning of the second episode where Jeffrey Tambor’s character, Maura, is talking to her eldest daughter. The daughter asks, “Does this mean you’re going to be dressing up like a woman?” And Maura replies, “My whole life I’ve been dressing up like a man.” That isthe distinguishing reality for trans people…”

(photo from the new Amazon series “Transparent”)

Trans* Women Are Not Drag Queens — Everyday Feminism

Trans* Women Are Not Drag Queens — Everyday Feminism.

Constance…yes, it is very early.  I cannot sleep.  Usually I am good until the dread 3 AM.  But tonight sleep is shy and skert of the potential I face for conflict today…

I am meeting with a person who has indicated that he has “great difficulty” with my choice to transition.

Think about that:  this is a person I see less than a half hour a day…a person that I run into infrequently in everyday life…and yet somehow knowing that I am transgender is a burden unbearable to him, and the choice to transition is anathema and repulsive to the point that he wants to meet with me, so he can…what?

Tell me I am a freak?  Tell me that I should not transition?  Tell me to just suck it up and tough it out?

What…does he really think he is more creative, more insistent than my own heart for the last 48 years???  That I have not said these things to me already…and worse?

How does his life change if I transition…and how does it change if I do not (which is too late, by the way…I am never going back.  It is Charissa Grace full and free or the grave)?

No…I think what he doesn’t like is that someone whom he knows and assumed many good things about is now acting in ways that are unexpected and unusual…and this is stretching him.  It is challenging his lil boxes and tightly drawn lines…it is forcing him to confront things without the luxury of being able to write off the source of the conflict as a monster or immoral pervert…for he knows I am not that.

I ran across this link again today…and I may have posted it once already.  No matter…it is a pretty good piece defining things well.  I ask that you please read the piece…

…and then give us the chance to be.  Please??



Thanking Laverne Cox

I have been thinking about her recently…and I just want to say here that she is really walking an amazing example so far of being a visible and vulnerable woman in the public eye.

She is inspiring to me as a transgender person and someone I am somewhat looking up to…

…and I want to say thank you to her.  For being calm, collected, articulate and passionate.  For never giving in to hatred and striking back, but always affirming acceptance and kindness.

May Lady Grace bless you for the sacrifices this must entail.

Much respect, Laverne…love,



On the Stigmatization of Gender-Variant People

“As long as trans women are seen as less desirable, illegitimate, devalued women, then men will continue to frame their attraction to us as secret, shameful, and stigmatized, limiting their sexual interactions with trans women to pornography and prostitution.

And if a trans woman believes that the only way she can share intimate space with a man is through secret hookups or transactions, she will be led to engage in risky sexual behaviors that make her more vulnerable to criminalization, disease, and violence; she will be led to coddle a man who takes out his frustrations about his sexuality on her with his fists; she will be led to question whether she’s worthy enough to protect herself with a condom when a man tells her he loves her; she will be led to believe that she is not worthy of being seen and must remain hidden.”

-Janet Mock, Redefining Realness


WATCH: Laverne Cox Explains It All to Wendy Williams | Advocate.com

tumblr_n5d29sAjxy1rk4ewwo1_500WATCH: Laverne Cox Explains It All to Wendy Williams | Advocate.com.

Constance, The Advocate says it very well below:

On The Wendy Williams ShowMonday, Laverne Cox, star of the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, acquitted herself admirably as she answered Williams’s questions and provided what amounted to a short on-air Trans 101.

When asked “What is transgender?” Cox replied, “Transgender … very basically means that the gender you identify as is different than the one you are assigned at birth. Very simple. And transgender people’s experiences are really very different, so there’s really no one sort of like blanket transgender experience, so it’s really about listening to individuals in terms of who they are and accepting people on their own terms.” The audience responded with cheers.

Williams immediately followed up with “You’ve got breast implants?” but Cox wasn’t going to go there and gently pushed back, even as Williams described the appearance of Cox’s breasts as “tasteful.” Cox responded, “I’ve chosen not to talk about any of this stuff I’ve gotten done because I think so often when trans people’s experiences are talked about, we far too often talk about surgery and transition, so I don’t talk about that, but I’m very happy with the situation,” clearly referring to her own body.

Williams’s questions didn’t get any more insightful after that, but Cox handled her queries with grace and intelligence throughout.

Williams came under fire earlier this year for similarly uneducated, body-focused comments made on her radio show regarding transgender athlete Chloie Jonsson, who Williams said was unfairly wanting to compete in the women’s division of fitness competition CrossFit. After backlash from trans advocates and allies, Williams tweeted an apology for those remarks, positioning herself as a “long LGBT ally and GLAAD supporter,” and pledging to use the experience to become better educated on issues facing transgender people.

Dialogue: the key to kind acceptance of another person

Think about a time when you met someone, someone you instantly clashed with, without a word being spoken…go ahead, I will wait…we have all had that happen.  Now:  think about someone that happened with, and then as time passed and you got to know them you discovered you were totally wrong about them, that your reaction had been all within you, and was unrelated to them completely.  I am not going to wait on this one, for these sorts of endings are more rare…at least in my life they were.  Sadly, far too often I just avoided the person and then lived…until I forgot about them, and went on in my cushy-comfy zone of complacency.

Wanna know the basic root of this phenomenon?  I think it is Xenophobia:  fear of the unknown.  A person will look different, or act different, or some other factor about them is something unknown to us…so we clench up, clam up, and withdraw…and then make up all sorts of rationales to justify our low  and venal rejection of a fellow creature made in Their image.

Generally, at least for me, dialogue precedes the change of heart and mind that I undergo when I have been in this boat.  After talking with the person (not at, or over), I discover that we have so much more in common by virtue of our shared human experience and reality than we are different.  Especially when I was firmly locked away in the christendom ghetto…I dared not talk with different people, unless I totally dominated the exchange in a monologue “devoted to evangelism”, but in truth designed to shield and protect myself from having to stretch and include someone in my world.

I think this is why so many so-called “evangelistic-efforts” end fruitless, and at times even exacerbate the divide between we who call ourselves “saved” and they whom we designate as “needing to be saved”.

Genuine dialogue bypasses all this.  Trust me, if your faith is living and genuine, and you are in relationship with Jesus more than with His book, then you will not be able to miss the chances to give an account for the Hope that is in you…they will beg to hear why you seem different (you do seem different…don’t you???).  You will find that connection…and begin to learn that the things you hid behind as reasons to not connect with people have become touchstones of punctuation in the quilt of common experience.

This is one of the main reasons I post essays on a lot of topics, and other people’s interviews of interesting people…and it is why I recommend reading the interview with Janet Mock that I post below.  It originally appeared at http://www.rookiemag.com/2014/05/janet-mock-interview/ and it is a fabulous window into the existence of one of the most influential people in our times.  Janet is uniquely positioned to touch a lot of spheres in life, and she is articulate enough to create that dialogue.

Dialogue is not something that is sorta like the old “I won’t hit you if you don’t hit me” game…that is stasis, and dead waters.  No…dialogue is living, interesting, and often the very vessel They can get into to reach our hearts and minds.

Check out the interview…I am pretty sure you will be glad you did.

Love always, and Grace upon Grace…



You Can Be Free: An Interview With Janet Mock

In which we talk about her feminist icons, how teenagers are way cooler than the media thinks, and why she identifies with Tracy Flick.

Photo by Aaron Tredwell.

Pardon the hyperbole, but Janet Mock may be the best person ever. I felt this way after reading her 2013 book, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, a beautiful, powerful memoir that follows Janet from her childhood in Hawaii, where she grew up as a transgender girl, to her current position as a high-profile (and still young!) writer and activist who inspires people everywhere to live exactly as they want to live.

She decided to come out as trans in a 2011 essay in Marie Claire magazine; since then, she has worked hard to increase the visibility of transgender people, including starting the hashtag #girlslikeus, which encourages trans people to share their stories on Twitter. (She is also very good at social media.)

My feelings about her greatness only intensified when I actually got to talk to her on the phone last month, when she’d just returned home to New York from one of her many college speaking gigs. You know how sometimes you’re talking to someone and they’re just so on it that their voice crackles with electricity? That’s how Janet was.

JULIANNE: So much of Redefining Realness is your very specific memories from your childhood, some of which are so wrenching! How did you remember all of that, and how were you able to get it all out in your writing?

JANET MOCK: I started by writing journal entries. I made a commitment to myself to write 500 to 1,000 words every morning—to just catalog every memory, even if it was just a fragment, on paper. Once I really got into that space and got disciplined, I was able to re-imagine what happened and to mine the feelings and the details of that time period. That’s why there are a lot of pop culture references, because I watched so much TV! I would try to remember certain things by asking myself, What song lyrics was I trying to memorize? What type of dance moves was I trying to learn?

But then you have to remember the pain, too, and that was the hardest part—the wrenching part, as you say—having to revisit that, not as an adult, but going back as a child and feeling it again as a young person who didn’t have much agency over their body and how it felt to go through those traumatic events. So I just had to be very kind to myself as a writer, but also kind to those who wronged me, kind about the mistakes people made and how they contributed to my pain.

As a fellow writer, I have found when you’re accessing those painful things, there is an instinct to lie to yourself, in order to protect yourself. How did you avoid that?

There are certain moments in the book where I call myself out for wanting to soften things or exclude things, and that was part of being transparent. I was committed to being transparent not just through the stories I chose to tell, but throughout my writing process. I talk about my mother’s suicide attempt, and about not wanting to [write about it] because I didn’t want to see her that way. Also, some of the details of the sex work I went through as a teenage girl—sometimes I wanted to erase those from the record of my life. But being honest about that actually helped me. It relieved me from my silence and shame, and hopefully it can help other people feel that sense of relief about something that may be heavy that they’ve been holding on to for a long time.

Was wanting to find that relief one of the reasons you started writing the book?

Yeah. At first I wasn’t writing with the intention of making a memoir—I just did it ’cause I wanted to have a record for myself. It was a selfish project—there was no sense of intersectionality or social-justice jargon or anything like that. It was just about me, this girl, and her story and her pain. I was trying to get it as raw as possible on the page so that I’d know that it was real.

But when I stepped forward publicly in Marie Claire, I was like, Wow, there’s a powerful story here that I think I’m supposed to tell. I don’t mean that in a boastful way—there just aren’t many books by young marginalized women like myself who did what I did, the way I did it.

Since that Marie Claire piece came out, social justice ideas and words like intersectionality have become way more widespread, especially for young people, partly because of Tumblr. Have you seen a shift?

Ooh, Tumblr’s powerful, yes. Those words are very powerful tools for describing this oppression. And it’s great that some people have access to them—but most people don’t. For me, it was super important to not use those terms in the book, because they exclude a lot of people who don’t have educational access, or who may not be engaged in social-justice stuff, but who want to be enlightened about things, to have their political consciousnesses raised a bit. I wanted to write the book for everyone—including that girl who I was in seventh grade who didn’t even know the term transgender. I wanted to give her a book so she could also feel like she was in the know, without being talked down to or made to feel like she has to aspire to something “higher” when she already has all the knowledge she needs to define her own experience. It’s not for me to define it for her. So I wanted to use words and language that she understands.

Your book has done a lot to help trans people be recognized in the larger culture. Did anything help you feel recognized that way? There aren’t that many books out there like your book.

My reflection of myself has always been a composite of many images and people that I have met along the way. I talk a lot about Beyoncé and Clair Huxtable and Toni Morrison, and I talk about the trans women who were in my life as a teenager, and the women around me when I was growing up, my father’s sisters, my grandmother, and my mother. I saw all of these women as mirrors, and made them into my own little mirrored mosaic.

But regarding the whole genre of “trans books”—I guess they would call them “transition stories” or “transition books”: So many of them do not have the intersection of youth, and that’s pretty important, because young people oftentimes don’t have much body agency in our culture. Like, your parents can literally pick you up and take you somewhere and put you wherever they want and tell you want clothes you can wear and what clothes they’re willing to buy you. All of these things are what make finding yourself and expressing yourself and your own authenticity difficult [when you’re young]. That’s one of the things I notice when I speak to young people, that sense of struggling with their lack of agency. I just tell them that, yes, you do have agency, despite your parents. Live your life on Twitter, put up some selfies! Reblog some things! That sense of self-representation is so important.

In terms of trans women, I’m happy that there are more of us visible in mainstream media. Platforms like Tumblr and YouTube allow people to create images that they don’t see in the mainstream media—and to also talk back to mainstream media when they fuck up. Rookie is a testament to that!

Thank you, we’re trying! You’ve talked about how reading the work of several female authors of color—like Zora Neale Hurston, Maya Angelou, and Toni Morrison—helped you get to a place where you could “just be.” As you were reading them, did you feel like you were being seen?

I think the first one I was exposed to was Maya Angelou, in probably eighth- or ninth-grade English class, when we read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Being the only black student in class I was like, Oh god, we have to read this? I knew everybody was gonna look at me and think this was my experience. But then I read it, and I was like, Oh my god, this is my experience! It was powerful to read—specifically the parts where she talks about sexual abuse as a child. That was something that I had never told anyone I had gone through, so seeing that someone had written it down in a book that we were reading in class, I was like, Oh my god—this exists in the world?

So that was one of those things where I was like, I need to go to the library and read more books. Because I also didn’t have access to books, unless it was school. (I always talk about my youth struggle of never being able to order anything from the Scholastic catalog that was passed around in class, and always yearning for those books delivered to me the following week!) [Reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings] prompted me to get a library card and just sit among those stacks and read books by women who looked like my self-image. That was important to me, because [those women] lived the life that I saw myself living one day, as a black woman. In my own reality, that didn’t exist for me yet. I was this trans girl who wasn’t out, who wasn’t revealing herself to the world or even to herself. It was so helpful to be able to look into those books and be like, Wow, this is what life could be like for me.

But the top one would be Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. For me, that book was everything. The idea of this woman on a quest to find herself and to find the right kind of love and fulfillment and identity and not being smashed into her community’s fantasies of her—that gave me so much agency. It pushed me to dream of greater possibilities for myself. It just blasted my mind open! You can be free!

What were you like as a teenager?

By the time I turned 13, I had met my best friend, Wendi. When you have a pivotal bestie, you kind of become the same person but you also complement each other. Wendi was so unabashedly unapologetic about who she was that no matter what I did—even when I started transitioning—I could never seem as “out there” as her. I was always slightly in her shadow, which gave me safety. From 12 years old all the way until we were 18, we were like close close close tight. So when you ask me what I was like, I can’t talk about my teenage self without talking about Wendi, because we’re so linked.

But I was very internal, if that makes sense. I think I was a deeper thinker than my best friend was. I enjoyed the library. I enjoyed quiet space, because I didn’t have that at home. But I also wanted attention, right? I was always kind of seen as a natural leader—people listened to me, and what I said mattered. So I never felt as though I was dismissed.

I loved school, and I was someone that people would ask for style advice. I always seemed like I was with it. I wasn’t a popular girl, but people liked me. I wasn’t ever going to be the prettiest girl in school, because I was a girl that wasn’t even supposed to exist. But I hung out with the popular girls, and they were my friends, so that gave me access points. It was almost like I was tolerated because I had these cool friends. So I always felt like I was internal, but I bet a lot of people from high school would remember me. I felt like I was invisible, but I knew I wasn’t, because I was so visible.

I think that once you’re out of high school, you start to understand that the way people see you does not necessarily line up with how you see yourself.

Mm-hmm. I had this sense of like…oh my god, I was such a victim. But then I realized that I’d internalized what people think trans people go through in high school. Like, it was tough, but high school was tough for a lot of people! I’m sure that my multiple layers of identities that I inhabit made it more difficult, but to be honest, I enjoyed high school. I wanted to go every day.

It wasn’t my peers who gave me problems—it was mostly teachers who didn’t understand how I could thrive, how I could be so liked, how I could be in marching band and debate club, how I could be captain of the volleyball team and be elected a student leader and become a peer mediator. They didn’t understand how a trans girl could do all those things, so it’s almost like they didn’t want it to be true.

When I was in the eighth grade, me and Wendi started a petition to get the intermediate school to allow us to wear makeup. [Laughs] I didn’t include this in my book because it’s something I forgot, but other people remembered us going around with a clipboard and some notebook paper and getting people to sign a petition so that we could wear makeup. In my memory [Wendi and I] just walked into school wearing makeup. I don’t remember ever getting in trouble for wearing makeup. I was that student, though, that’s who I was. When I watch Election, I’m like, Oh, I was soooo Reese Witherspoon!

Related, the times I’ve seen you speaking on TV, you seem to have so much grace and poise. Where do you learn those things?

In the mirror!

Do you think [poise is] something you can learn, or do you just embody it?

[Laughs] I feel like because I’ve had to juggle so much, that there’s not much that bothers me. There are a lot of high-pressure things that are stressful—especially live TV appearances! They’re so stressful, no matter what. Even if it’s a “safe” environment with a host that you really like, it’s still super stressful. What grounds me in this idea of having “good composure” or being eloquent or graceful is over-preparedness. Over-preparing puts me at ease and allows me to be present when I’m there. I can control how I act, how I react, how my face looks, how I sit, and what comes out of my mouth, which allows me to appear as though I’m totally at ease. It call comes from just growing up, juggling a lot at home, family dynamics, my own struggles with identity—wanting to be great, you know? Daring for greatness. Juggling all of these things was the boot camp. But preparedness is what grounds me. Knowing your environments so you can expect them, and even knowing the failings of your culture. Like, if you’re going into a racist, capitalist, sexist corporate environment, and you know what it is and its failings, then you can know how to operate around it. You kinda seem like #unbothered.

What do you do when you are suffering, and how do you help your friends when they are suffering?

The space of suffering, I struggle with, because I’m part of a community that’s so steeped in trauma. A lot of people talk about trans women of color and the violence that we deal with. But when we’re together, we don’t talk about that. Because the world will remind us of that. We know that when we walk in the world, we are under attack. We understand that. And so when we get together, we wanna talk about Beyoncé and have a couple cocktails, you know? Hang out and just be. Just be happy. Being happy together builds our sisterhood, but it also builds our resolve and it’s just like, This is revolutionary for us to be in this world and its suffering and to deal with suffering, but be fucking happy, too. We don’t need to sit in it all the time, because we exist in it.

Do you keep inspirational Post-it notes around your workspace?

Well, I do have one that my boyfriend, Aaron…he was listening to an audiobook about the I Love Lucy show—it’s random, but he loves inside-Hollywood stories. The head writer who helped them create that juggernaut of a television show said the two things that matter in Hollywood are ownership and perception. So I have a Post-it note that says ownership + perception.

The work that I do, it really informs me. I want to own the content I make—I don’t want to just be a subject on someone else’s show. I want to be leading those conversations. “Perception” is the idea of definition–I can create the image of myself that I allow others to see. And I can maintain my boundaries in a public world.

Also, I have a sticker on my planner that says It’s your turn to change the world.

Speaking of, I read that you work with Youngist, a platform for young people to do citizen journalism and have an amplified voice in mainstream media. What do you do there?

I mostly just giving editorial advice, but I think it’s so important for any silenced group of people, like young people, to have their own platforms. Everyone loves to talk about millennials—I guess that’s you guys!—but it’s important to give them power to have their own voice. Everyone always asks me, “What advice would you give young people?” and I’m always like, young people know exactly what they wanna do! If they want advice from me, that young person will come to me, you know? They know their experiences. They know what they’re going through. They know who they are. And my job is not to talk down to them, or to give them some aspirational message. It’s just to let them know that they have all the power to determine their own lives, to define them, and to declare them.

Youngist takes the political and pop culture news and really gives [millennials’] take on it, instead of older people always being like, “The millennials are taking selfies! They’re so absorbed with themselves!” It’s like, uh, no, look on YouTube, look at what they’re doing.

It’s nice to hear you say that—those selfie articles are so make-fun-able.

It’s always like, some 50-year-old cisgender white hetero man talking about young girls and what they’re doing. It’s like, this is so pervy, first of all! [Laughs] It’s these people who think all young people are the same. No, they’re not! It’s really simplistic and reductive, and I think young people can just, like, grab their computers and blow shit up. ♦

Julia Serano: Amazing Quote from “Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity”

Hi all…I can’t recall if I already posted this, but it made me cry when I read it…fierce tears of passion and purpose, as it summarized everything I aspire to someday be as a person, and as a woman.

Trans or Cis:  I challenge us all to aspire to these sorts of heights, and leve behind the lowland easy conquests of outward appearance and sloppy confirmity to the slavish requirements of the current paradigm of what make Beauty.


Love,  Charissa


“My friend, still seemingly perplexed, asked me ‘So if it’s not about genitals, what is it about trans women’s bodies that you find so attractive?’

I paused for a second to consider the question. Then I replied that it is almost always their eyes.

When I look into them, I see both endless strength and inconsolable sadness.

I see someone who has overcome humiliation and abuses that would flatten the average person.

I see a woman who was made to feel shame for her desires and yet had the courage to pursue them anyway.

I see a woman who was forced against her will into boyhood, who held on to a dream that everybody in her life desperately tried to beat out of her, who refused to listen to the endless stream of people who told her that who she was and what she wanted was impossible.

When I look into a trans woman’s eyes, I see a profound appreciation for how fucking empowering it can be to be female, an appreciation that seems lost on many cissexual women who sadly take their female identities and anatomies for granted, or who perpetually seek to cast themselves as victims rather than instigators.

In trans women’s eyes, I see a wisdom that can only come from having to fight for your right to be recognized as female, a raw strength that only comes from unabashedly asserting your right to be feminine in an inhospitable world.

In a trans woman’s eyes, I see someone who understands that, in a culture that’s seemingly fuelled on male homophobic hysteria, choosing to be female and openly expressing one’s femininity is not a sign of frivolousness, weakness or passivity, it is a fucking badge of courage.

Everybody loves to say that drag queens are ‘fabulous’, but nobody seems to get the fact that trans women are fucking badass!”


― Julia Serano, Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity

Janet Mock is an Amazing Woman

She is such a role model for me…she has truly transitioned.  What do I mean by that?  It seems to me that so many transwomen get lost in transition, and are actually a bit too fearful to ever really internalize for their own identity the fact that they truly are women and have made their way into the body they desire.  There is still life to be lived post transition!  There is a walk to be walked, there is a life to be lived, and a destiny to be actualized.

This is what I have been trying to sow into my own heart and spirit as each day passes.  Well, Janet inspires me sooo hugely!  She has really lived with courage and strength and yet with tenderness and vulnerability as well.  She is smart, cogent, beautiful and amazing.  She speaks well for us, and for anyone who wishes to learn about the experience of being a transwoman, read her amazing writing and learn.  I do each and every time I read.

Thanks Janet!






Author and advocate Janet Mock breaks down Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera’s appearance on Katie Couric’s talk show

By Janet Mock

Society, Career & Power

January 9, 2014

Aaron Tredwell

I don’t talk about my kitty cat with my friends. It never seems to come up when we’re gabbing about The Real Housewives or gagging over Beyonce’s “Partition” music video. But I—an unapologetic trans woman and writer—have been asked about my vagina (by people I do not know, mind you) more times than I can even recall.

Outrageously, trans people’s bodies have been open for public dissection since 1952 when Christine Jorgensen became the media’s first sex change darling, and in the 60 years since Jorgensen’s headline-making path to womanhood, journalists from Barbara Walters to Katie Couric are still asking the same tired questions about our bodies.

Related: Meet the Women of ‘Orange Is the New Black’

It’s stunning that legendary women have found themselves asking other women about their genitalia—in public. As I write in my upcoming memoir, Redefining Realness“Undergoing hormone therapy and genital reconstruction surgery are the titillating details that cisgender people love to hear.” (For the uninitiated, cisgender is nomenclature for those who are not trans, and therefore less likely to experience the misalignment of their gender identity and assigned sex at birth.) But these are “deeply personal steps I took to become closer to me, and I choose to share them.”

It’s about choice. We, as women, have the choice to invite people into our lives, into our struggles, and into our bodies. Consent is key here, and on Monday, model Carmen Carrera and Orange Is the New Black actress Laverne Cox wielded their agency during a joint appearance on Katie, the ABC daytime TV talk show hosted by Katie Couric, who posed the genitalia question–twice.

When Carrera was asked, “Your private parts are different now, aren’t they?” her response was simple: she shushed Couric on her own show. Like a bawse.

“I don’t want to talk about it; it’s really personal,” Carrera said, visibly and rightly uncomfortable by Couric’s gaze. “I’d rather talk about my modeling…There’s more to trans people than just [genitalia].”

What was interesting to me in this moment was that Carrera laid claim to her body. She’s danced in pasties in clubs across the country, on our TV screens in RuPaul’s Drag Race, and in two W magazine shoots with photographer Steven Meisel—but don’t get it twisted: Her body is not ours to dissect.

Related: ELLE Canada Features Transgendered Miss Universe Contestant Jenna Talackova

Couric backpedaled, stating that her question was not in vain, that it was more than just “peering interest,” yet she posed the same question to Cox when she took her seat beside Carrera in a glowing BCBG Max Azria sheath. Couric told Cox that Carrera “recoiled a little bit” at the “genitalia question” and that she wondered if she had “the same feeling about that as Carmen does.”

“I do,” Cox said, backing Carrera up. “I was so proud of Carmen for saying that…the preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people and then we don’t get to really deal with the lived experiences, the reality of trans people’s lives.”

Cox then broke it down for the journalist, serving Couric facts for days: Trans people face discrimination everywhere, from employment to the streets, where trans women, specifically those of color, disproportionately face brutal violence (Cox mentions the murder of Islan Nettles in New York City, giving the tragedy its highest media profile to date). The actress concludes by saying that our culture’s focus on bodies doesn’t allow us to zero in on trans people’s “lived realities of that oppression and that discrimination.”

And that was the moment in which, Couric, a TV veteran, had to “bow down” to the magnificence of Cox, leaving her with this throwaway statement: “You’re so well spoken about it.”

Let’s be clear though: This story is larger than Couric; it’s about our culture and its dehumanization of trans people’s bodies and identities. Because trans people are marked as artificial, unnatural, and illegitimate, our bodies and identities are often open to public dissection. Plainly, cisgender folks often take it as their duty to investigate our lives to see if we’re real.

Curiosity is vital to the growth of our society. It allows us to stretch our minds and learn more, which I truly believe was Couric’s intention: to educate her viewers. But curiosity and mere mystery objectifies and others those that are being gazed upon, pushing our most marginalized peers to defend their right to exist without the pervasive violation of the dehumanizing gaze of curiosity.

The real takeaway from this Katie appearance is the transformative power of solidarity and sisterhood, as exhibited by two successful women—two trans women, two women of color—at the top of their game. As Cornel West, someone Cox often quotes, said, “Justice is what love looks like in public,” and these two women loved one another in public.

Carrera and Cox applauded one another, gushing about how proud they are of the others’ success and how their various achievements help elevate the public’s perception of what’s possible for trans women. And it was this public showing ofsolidarity that actually flipped the media’s tired genitalia script when it comes to women and girls like us.

When Couric re-posed the question to Cox, even after being shut down by Carrera, to me, it seemed that the TV host was trying to pit the women against one another; instead, Cox said, she was “proud” of Carrera for not answering the question. It was like glorious choreography—again, I’m referencing Beyonce’s “Partition,” in which two women dance in unison against the ropes, moving together as a leopard-print spotlight silhouettes their bodies. Carrera and Cox are equals, partners, a team, and they produce something revolutionary: a new possibility for trans women.

And it’s a possibility model for us all.

Janet Mock is a writer and advocate, whose book Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More will be released February 4 by Atria Books. For more info visit JanetMock.com.

Read more: Janet Mock ‘Redefining Realness’ – Empowerment for Transgender Women – ELLE
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Visit us at ELLE.com

Read more: Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera – News Treatment of Trans Women – ELLE
Follow us: @ElleMagazine on Twitter | ellemagazine on Facebook
Visit us at ELLE.com

Flawless Trans Women Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox Respond Flawlessly To Katie Couric’s Invasive Questions | Autostraddle

I am sharing this post, and hope that you would click thru to see the story and video.  It is a fabulous example first of all of how easily and literally without awareness it is for cis-gendered people to do things to transgender people which they would never ever even think to do to cis-gendered people.

Secondly, it is also a great example of how to handle things with Grace and Kindness…far too often I find that we are so very sensitive and hyper aware of any slight, no matter how small.  It seems in our culture today that regardless of gender, sexuality, political persuasion, or religion we are by and large eager to take offense and cannot wait to grab those arrows of offense and stab our own selves with them!  It is is if we want to be infected with that poison, and then we turn around and start trying to infect others

No wonder that zombie movies and shows are so popular now…they are a metaphor for a process in our time by which it seems that we make ourselves and one another into spiritual zombies, rampaging about biting and devouring one another.

Let’s all just stop!  Step back.  Take a breath…and then simply

be kind…be merciful…be full of grace.


Imagine…no not a world where there is no heaven, or religion, or any of the drivel that John Lennon sang about, for that very philosophy was already tried by the communists of Russia and Stalin’s regime, to the tune of nearly 100,000,000 deaths…that same philosophy was adhered to by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia…

No…imagine a world where each person actively sought to just be kind…to just show mercy…to just be full of grace…

What is required?  Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly, and love your neighbor as yourself.

See these two amazing human beings, and glean…maybe you too will be inspired as was I to strive to be a kinder and more gentle person.



Flawless Trans Women Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox Respond Flawlessly To Katie Couric’s Invasive Questions | Autostraddle.

What is Transgender Remembrance Day?

Why…it is simply the day that the decimation of transgendered people by violence, rape and murder is mourned, and the victims are remembered.

As a point of fact, know this:  for the ratio of violence against trans women to the overall transwoman population to be equivocal for cis gendered women, there would have to be over 2.2 million acts of rape, violence, and murder every year.


Imagine the outcry.

But a few transwomen who are brutally beaten, and then their memory fouled and polluted with painting them as deserving what happened…meh, who cares?

thus Trans remembrance day.

Find a place in your city where there is a memorial going on…attend it, and let the horror really get inside your heart.


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