To The Editor #98


Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #98, Summer 2002


I must congratulate you on the terrific job you are doing with the magazine Transgender Tapestry. It is a true representation of our community and is covering, and perhaps uncovering, our wonderful diversity.

Brenda V

Aw, shucks?Ed.


I?m a transgender bicycle racer. I began racing in the women?s category this year. I?ve been competing well and have won a couple of races. There have been protests regarding my qualification to participate in the women?s category. I?ve talked to a lawyer and I?m planning to challenge policies and work on defining gender requirements and policy in the sport on the local (OBRA?Oregon Bicycle Racing Organization) and national (USCF?United States Cycling Federation) levels. My argument is based on the nationally-accepted precedent that you must provide documentation of full transition (i.e., bottom surgery).

The difference between who they will accept as a woman and who they won?t amounts to tens of thousands of dollars of surgery. I feel this discriminates against women who cannot afford surgery or don?t have it as an option. It also allows for discrimination against intersexed persons and masculine-appearing women.

Having a penis or vagina doesn?t affect your competitive ability directly. Your blood chemistry, training, and conditioning are what will give you an advantage or disadvantage in sport. Once a transgendered woman starts on hormone therapy, her blood chemistry will change, and that is as level and as ?fair? as the playing field is going to get for transpersons in sport.

I?m working on a policy that any person asked to prove their gender identity need only show their driver?s license or state ID card?the logic being that you need to have begun hormones and have a letter from a physician to present to the Department of Motor Vehicles to change the gender on the state-issued I.D.

I need documentation to present to my lawyers and cycling policy makers. I need to build a strong case showing the effects of hormones, the frequency and relevance of intersex issues, the competitive advantages and disadvantages of hormones in male and female persons, and reasons why the current favored surgery ruling is discriminatory and unfair.

Molly C

Molly, most states aren?t as liberal as Oregon. In Georgia, for instance, sex designations on drivers? licenses and state IDs are changed only after proof of SRS is provided. I?m afraid your proposed solution won?t work for many, or even most of us?Ed.


I, too, have a complaint against GenderPac. In April, 2000, one of the members of our transgender support group was arrested and taken to the Broward County Jail. While there she was fondled by one of the guards and then placed in general population, where she was raped by an inmate.

I e-mailed GenderPac to ask for help. I was told by Gina Reiss to take GenderPac off our e-mail list. That made me quite angry and I vowed to never again have anything to do with GenderPac. I?ve resigned and I?ve asked my friends to do so, too.

We finally got a lawyer from the ACLU to take the case, which is moving along.

Diane A


I?m a subscriber to your informative magazine and have been since 1995. The information has been of enormous value to me in helping me to understand who I am.

Monica W


I was surprised to learn that IFGE and Tapestry are experiencing financial difficulties. Both have been a lifeline to me during the past year as I confront issues surrounding my gender identity?so I enclose a contribution in hopes that if enough readers do the same, IFGE and Tapestry will continue to be there to support us as we try to make sense of who we are.

I was moved by Denise LeClaire?s letter asking for our support. It was well-written?straightforward, honest, and caring, just as Denise always is. I hope everyone appreciates how precious a resource she is.

I speak from personal experience. Denise may remember a middle-aged, bald man?s visits to the IFGE bookstore. Once I even interrupted a pizza lunch she was having with her co-workers. Always, No matter how busy she was, Denise made me feel welcome, making me feel it was never a bother for her to open up the store (even when it was downstairs) for just one person. She even discussed gender identity issues I was and am struggling to resolve.

She may not have thought much about it, but it meant a lot to me that she would genuinely care about someone she didn?t know from Adam. Anyone who can make a total stranger feel like an important person has a special gift. I just want Denise to know how much I appreciate her. She would be an asset to any business or organization and IFGE is so lucky to have someone so hard- working, professional, and caring. I look forward to meeting her at First Event when, dressed as Sylvia, I doubt she will recognize me from my bookstore visits.

One final point?I would like to add my voice to the many who have supported Christine Hochberg. Again, I speak from personal experience. Last year, as I began to take steps to confront my gender identity issues, I decided to go to First Event for just one day to test the waters. I had never been to any transgender meeting or event before?talk about being closeted! I didn?t know what to expect and didn?t have the confidence and courage to dress. I attended as male.

Talk about being a fish out of water! Ironically, in an effort not to draw attention to myself, I made myself more conspicuous than if I had dressed. Anyway, as the elevator door to the conference floor opened, I almost didn?t get out. I was literally shaking with fear. And there was Christine! She must have sensed my discomfort, because she approached me and took me under her wing for well over a half-hour. As I told her my story, she was the most comforting person you could imagine. She understood where I was coming from, made me feel at ease, and gave me the courage I needed to stay for the rest of the day. She is funny and knowledgeable?but above all, caring and supportive. Perhaps she is a bit outrageous in her dress from time to time, but should that matter when she brings so much to the events she attends?

Sylvia W


I?ve been a crossdresser for more than 50 years. All that time, I had been in the closet and totally isolated about my ?secret.? I was in a state of desperation because my need to be en femme had become so acute it was affecting both my emotional and physical well-being. I didn?t fully understand who I was or where I was going.

Having come across only two books on transgender issues, I was in need of information. Finally, I found the courage to call IFGE, even though I felt I was ?blowing my cover.? I subscribed to Tapestry and ordered a number of books.

You can?t imagine the relief I felt after reading the material I had ordered. Pain and guilt endured for years began to fade. For the first time in my life, I?m at peace with myself.

Thank you, IFGE, for being there at such a critical time. I wish to also thank Denise LeClaire for her kindness and understanding in helping me select the reading materials. Without her courtesy and professional manner, this letter would not have been possible.


Denise is a star. I knew it the first time I saw her. Here?s hoping the IFGE board will recognize the treasure she is and put her in the vacant Executive Director?s slot?Ed.