To The Editor #104

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #104, Winter 2004.

Closet is just too kind a word for solitary confinement, being buried alive and running from the truth. Oh, yeah, the cell is nicely appointed, as much as I could make it, but it still has those damn bars, forged from fear and hardened by loneliness. You wake up one day and the hellacious marriage is finally over, the kids are grown and moving on with their lives. You just turned 56 years old and realize you?ve never done much for yourself all these years. Your account is seriously in danger of being overdrawn.

What?s a girl do with such a serious case of the down-home blues? Why, she goes on a bodacious shopping spree, right? A liberating exercise after having been oppressed for countless years in that department. A veritable kid in ye olde candy shoppe! But even that began to grow old after a while. You know the feeling, all dressed up, but nowhere to go. Or so I thought at the time. Little did I know. But don?t kid yourself: breaking out is a learning process in and of itself.

I finally came out to an old and trusted life-long friend who just happened to be a gay woman. She was so worried I might not accept her if I found out she was gay. Well, no problemo there, honey, check out what I was worried about! Everything worked out just great for
both of us, I?m more than glad to report. Yes, I hang out with my sweetie on some of the weekends and gave her little fashion show updates on my latest acquisitions. It was a huge first step for me
to take, took more courage than I ever thought I could muster up, but I?m glad
I made the decision.

Then I came out to a couple of my gay male friends of old, and you know what, they welcomed me with open arms and compassion. Now isn?t that a real kick!? Every little timid step outward has made my load grow that much lighter. Thank God. I keep learning things along the way as I go, and that has been a real treat too. One of the personal things that got cleared up in my mind, thanks to my friends, was whether I was gay. What I learned was you don?t just wake up one fine morning and decide to be gay. It all boils down to you are or you aren?t. Very simple, really. This silly notion of the straight world that every crossdresser is automatically queer just doesn?t wash. It?s a relief to me to finally be able to face some truths about myself. Being gay was always something that was up in the air for me, something I couldn?t just dismiss out of hand. So now I know a little more about myself and I can move on. Now that?s what I call progress!

The latest, greatest next step I took down this path happened today. I dropped by IFGE down in Waltham. I met some really great ladies there who I would be more than proud to include in my slowly growing circle of friends. I told them who I was and what I was doing to achieve my goal of emancipation. You know what, they too welcomed me with open arms and compassion. What a relief, I got to tell you! Now I know for sure I?m not alone. There are folks out there in the world just like me who will be more than glad to lend a helping hand. Who could ask for more than that? Yeah, I can see I?m only original to myself. The story has been told a million times before, but you know what, it still bears repeating from time to time. Another soul coming in from the cold.

The crowning moment of this day, however, came when my new therapist caught up with me. Seems like she won?t be able to see me until the later part of July. We haven?t even begun to outline my issues. I think I can handle them OK until we get to sit down and hash it out. I know anger is one of my most persistent problems, but who in my position hasn?t been angry about what has taken place? As long as I have the friends I have and give sincere thanks for, I think we can defuse all the toxic waste floating around my head.

Am I confused about my gender identity? Well, it seems pretty clear to me as to what I am and am not. I?m neither man nor woman, but something damn special in between. I?m cool with that. I?m OK; it?s just the world that is really screwed up. That?s how I?m going to approach it. Stop living the big lie and just be what God intended me to be all along. As the Beatles song goes, ?There will be an answer, let it be.? I intend to go to my grave with as few regrets in my purse as I can manage.
In closing, let me share a small bit of poetry I wrote and incorporated into a piece of artwork. It pretty much sums me up, I think:

Oh, to have had that brief moment

When softness and delicacy abounds

Swaying like ripe fruit

On boughs of fall

I?ll keep you posted on all the latest and greatest. Trust me on this.

Love to all,

?Moe Honey


I cannot begin to tell you what your magazine has meant to me, ever since I found it in an adult bookstore in the mid-eighties. Even though there is a lot I don?t understand about my condition, you folks have helped to answer most of my questions and helped clear up many mysteries.

I have been reading with interest your debate on passing. Though I will never pass, I have ceased to care. I have gone out during the day only twice, and people don?t seem to care (after the double-take). Keep up the important work.


Carrie also wrote, ?Because of the World Wide Web, I feel there are thousands (millions) of us out there. I was appalled when, a few issues ago, you listed a subscription base of 2000, with only 1200 or so on-stand sales per issue.? Those are the facts, ma?am. We would love to sell more issues, and we strive to. ?Ed.


I feel a need to respond to our
sister Anna Connelly?s letter in Transgender Tapestry #102. I, too, am a pre-op MTF transsexual. However, unlike Anna, I?m currently trying to get my name changed and have not yet been on HRT.
Since it became widely known that I
was transsexual, a lot has happened,
some good and some bad. Let me tell you, violence and hate against any differently-gendered person is the accepted norm in prison. The Federal system is no exception.

I must tell you that in some ways I truly bleed here. The officers and staff have worked hard to help me adjust and keep me safe. They have searched policy and program statements in an attempt to help me, but contrary to what Anna says, there are no policies whatsoever concerning transsexuals. I feel for Anna and all my other sisters, who like me, have hit the wall of the justice system in this matter.

-Patrick (Catherine Lynn Quick) Champion

Catherine asked whether there is legal help for transgendered and transsexual people who are incarcerated. The short answer is no?meaning there is no organized system to provide relief for transsexuals in prison. Now for the longer answer. It?s sometimes possible for incarcerated individuals to find legal aid through organizations like the NAACP, Lambda Legal Defense Fund, and the American Civil Liberties Union, or from state and local civil liberties organizations, but such help is unfortunately rare. Wish we had better news. Maybe at some unspecified future date, when Tapestry has the millions of subscriptions our previous letter writer, Carrie, envisions, IFGE will have the financial means to provide relief for those of us who find ourselves behind bars. ?Ed.


A Great New Experience

For a lot of years now I?ve been hearing people say how nice it is on Fire Island, a summer resort area off Long Island, about thirty miles east of New York City. Every year, I?d say I wanted to go there to see what it?s like. This year, my wife and I finally got to pay a visit.

For the last few years we?ve been going into Manhattan every Friday and stopping at The Cubby Hole, a woman?s bar in the West Village. This spring, we entered a contest at the bar and won a free three-night stay at the Grove Hotel on Fire Island. So, we finally got to visit the island.

We left home on Monday, headed for a town called Sayville on the south shore of Long Island. We followed the directions from the Grove Hotel website to the ferry that would take us to the island. We parked in a lot across from the terminal; there are no cars allowed on the island. We arrived about an hour before the ferry sailed, so we enjoyed a nice lunch overlooking the bay.

The ride across the bay to Cherry Grove, the gay enclave on the island, was a pleasant one, taking about twenty-five minutes. The Grove Hotel was just a oneminute walk from the landing. We had one large valise with its own wheels, so it worked out nicely.

The hotel was large, with a big swimming pool in the courtyard surrounded by rooms on one side and an indoor-outdoor bar and massive recreation room on the other. Our room was nice; it overlooked the pool, and was air conditioned with a great shower. Showers are a big thing with me. The staff was pleasant and competent, especially for a recreation area hotel. In fact, everyone from Jacque, who managed the bar, to Sal, who ran the entertainment?bingo, trivia contest, and evening shows?was really nice and just great at what they did. Isaac, the owner, was forever present to help in any way he could.

Although I had packed my makeup, I decided just lipstick during the day, and in the evenings eyeliner and eye shadow, would be sufficient. I didn?t take a femme bathing suit because at my age and build there was no way I could disguise my midsection?so it was Len in the mornings and early afternoon at the pool, and Lynda in the late afternoon and evenings. I did, however, leave my fingernail polish on all the time, and felt comfortable with it on as Len. In fact, it was remarkable just how at ease I felt, even to using my own hair instead of my wig. The drag queens were friendly and understanding. I remember a time when they thought we were all closeted gays, but that doesn?t seem to be the case anymore.

I think what I enjoyed most was the casual feeling of the Grove. I could sit by the pool and read my book and chat occasionally with someone passing by. Just as important, of course, was the fact that my partner, Marilyn, also felt comfortable and became friendly with a number of people.

One of the highlights of the week was the volleyball game on Wednesday, with hotel employees and Grove residents against the Suffolk County Police. It was a great game and an even greater party that lasted all day. It was interesting to see the interaction between the macho police and the gay and lesbian participants. I couldn?t detect anything but friendliness between the two groups. I had thought the police in the 6th precinct in the West Village in Manhattan were gender-friendly, but these police were even more so.

In all my trips to Fantasia Fair?about fifteen?I enjoyed a more formal feeling while engaging in a learning environment. Usually with full makeup and dressing up more for lectures in public restaurants and group sessions. I always felt a need to make as good an impression as possible when I ventured onto the streets of Provincetown. Here at the hotel, going down to the beach, or even walking around Cherry Grove with nail polish, thigh-high skirts, sandals, and my own hair in a high-up ponytail, I felt just great.
After being out and about for the past twenty years, new experiences are really hard to come by. I?m looking forward to spending at least a week at the Grove next summer.

-Lynda Frank