To The Editor #96

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #096, Winter 2001.

?Ray for our Writers!

Miqqi: Thoroughly enjoyed your column in Tapestry #94. In fact, I enjoyed the entire issue. Lots of creative, original material. It is a much better publication than the last time I saw it, especially now that the personals are gone.


Bravo, Zantui! I think you?re right on target. While we all concede that sex and gender are two different things, the association and the emotional bearing on one to the other is seldom acknowledged. I will say that fitting the binary profile is not all it?s cracked up to be. I tried, and I was miserable, and it soon come to the point that I knew emotionally I could never again be sexual in the ?normal? way. While I was never normal, if you will, I was surely trying to fit that binary profile of what was expected of me by society. Somewhat like you, I may not fit the normal transgendered profile; however, it?s close enough for me.

You spoke of the empty hole. I find my hole is filled not by normal sexual relations as one would think, but with something else you spoke of. This is the passion and emotional relationship that can come only when two individuals share something that transcends the physical or ?normal? (by society?s standards) relationship.

Dale Lynn S

p.s.: I can?t picture you as a butch lesbian.


Aloha Ms. Taft! I?m a 44-year-old post-op MTF transsexual. I was incarcerated in October 1997 for theft of a half-ton of aluminum wire. I am at the Idaho Maximum Security Prison, an all-male facility. I?m writing to say I know exactly how you feel, as expressed in your columns in issues #93 and #94.

I am 6?4?, weigh at various times between 220 and 270, have a size 12W foot, big hands, and a big head. I?ve had lots of scares living on the rails for the last 12 years. I was on and off hormones for six years prior to being locked up.

When I arrived, I told the D.O.C. I was a pre-op transsexual who had been hiding in a bottle for 25 years. They offered no treatment. On 18 March 2000, I performed self-castration with a razor blade. Still, I received no therapy. On 25 March 2001, I removed the rest of my male genitalia?and let me tell you, I don?t ever want to go through pain like that again! It damn near killed me, they say. I just got to the point of not being able to live with ?it? any more, and made a choice?cut my throat or remove it.

In July, I filed form 42 U.S.C. 1983 civil rights lawsuit against I.D.O.C. for refusing to recognize transsexualism as a serious medical condition. The judge has already said I have a case.

I?m all too familiar with the rude catcalls and harassment that go along with being an out tranny. Please keep up the great columns.

Linda T


Our Very Own Christine

I would like to comment about Christine Hochberg and the article written about her by Dianna Cicotello in the last issue of Transgender Tapestry [#93]. I share the sentiments Dianna expressed. Christine is an innocent soul, a free spirit. She means no harm, but may lack good judgment at times with regard to modesty in public dressing. That is the time for a big sister to take her aside and give her gentle but firm advice?not expel her from the convention.

Of course her style is outrageous at times. So what! This community doesn?t react by rejecting other forms of outrageous dressing. I think we should allow Christine to be who she is, to express that in her own unique way, and appreciate her for it. She DOES make a contribution. Without a trace of being a prima donna, she will do whatever she can to help at conferences, no job too small or menial. She just wants to help and have a little recognition. I agree she should pay her own way, but if this poses a prohibitive financial burden for her, perhaps she could be offered a reduced rate for her contribution of time.

If our conventions are a safe place for Christine, then any frightened newcomer will see her, will see she is not the norm, and will know they too are safe there. If there must be critics, Christine will be the first to take the brunt of their remarks. If there were no Christine, who would be next? For myself, I will say Christine always puts a smile on my face, not just for her style of dress, but for the refreshing unaffected way in which she is just openly who she is, our very own Christine.

Sandra S

We?d like to point out to our readers that before we mentioned Christine by name, we shared Dianna?s editorial with her and asked if she was uncomfortable with our mentioning her by name. On the contrary, she was delighted, as we knew she would be?Ed.


I wish to commend the editorial staff of Transgender Tapestry for running the editorial ?The Clown Among Us is an Angel? in your Summer 2001 issue. While I can?t comment on Christine Hochberg?s freeloading (she paid her way at our 4th Congress) I can definitely say she is indeed a hard worker. Not only is she willing to pitch in and do things, she is willing to do the things many volunteers don?t want to be bothered with. Ms. Hochberg was at both of the events Renaissance has produced?the 2nd International Congress on Crossdressing, Sex & Gender in 1997 and the 4th Congress just last year. She volunteered for both and was one of the first people to register for the 4th Congress. Her fashion sense is definitely missing, but her enormous sense of community more than makes up for that. Many thanks, Christine and bravo, Tapestry!

Angela G


I wish to recommend in the latest issue of IFGE?s Transgender Tapestry the editorial by Jane Ellen Fairfax entitled ?No-Winn Situation.? Within, she demonstrates to the closeted heterosexual crossdressing community that the transsexual legal and political fights that are ongoing are their fights too. She reminds CDs that Peter Oiler crossdressed while off the job he had held for 23 years, but he was fired when the knowledge of his being CD became known to management of Winn Dixie.

I also wish to recommend the editorial by Dianna Cicotello, ?The Clown Among Us is an Angel.? Dianna reminds us all that her friend (and my friend) Christine Hochberg is a mirror to us all and should be embraced rather than shunned.

Phyllis R F


I just received the latest Tapestry issue and as usual have not been able to put it down. Your issue is, as always, thought- provoking and inspiring from afar. Dallas has done a great job steering the publication into some controversial waters. The seas may be rough, but never dull.

And yet, as empowered as I feel just by reading your words, I was also (mildly) disheartened by your editorial ?Nons.? While I can understand the need to define others in terms of ourselves, I cannot quite see how terming others as non-transsexuals is in any way, shape, or form enlightening. Breaking down the population to an us-and-them dichotomy pushes a country-club mentality that can only separate in a time when we need to come and work together. A label is a label by any other name. Justify it by whatever cause you want, but it?s still a label. Think I?ll just describe my friends by their first names and let others find out just who they are.

Three other issues here:

?Where?s the ?Out and Proud? Section? It is sorely missed by this grrl!

?The ?Trans Sexuality? article was excellent! Will Ms. Rose be a regular columnist? (hint hint hint)

?And finally, please let Ms. Helms know she has a fan right here!

Love on...

Stephanie B

?Out and Proud? was one of our favorites also, but alas, we seem to have more issues than there are out and proud people. Once again, we call on our out readers to send us photos and brief bios. If we get ?em, we?ll print ?em. Paraphrasing Monica Helms, later in this issue, ?Yo! We got yer 15 minutes right here!?

I?m sure Zantui will be motivated to write more for us when she sees your praise. And Monica will no doubt want her salary doubled again.

Labels can indeed be harmful, but we?re stuck with them. Imagine not having any: ?Excuse me, would you please pass me the .... round object made of app?round sweet-tasting frui?hangy-down thingies from a branch?er, horizontal piece of woo? ahem, celluloid material, which is placed inside two sheets of dough?I mean, a mixture of flou?that is, the top thingies from a growing grasslike thingy that is crushed by a mill whee?by a big slab of stuff from the inside of the earth that was spat out in an eruption and cooled and hardened?and wat?I mean a certain clear liquid, and baked in an ov?in an enclosed place that gets very hot. Anyway, would you please pass me that, and I would like it with ice crea?with this frozen sweet dessert made of mil?er, the internally generated infant formula produced by big four-legged beasts called co?I would like it ? la mode.?

Facetiousness aside, yes, labels can be harmful, as we as a community well know. There are nonetheless times when we use them. My point was that rather than accepting the hurtful labels imposed on us by others, defining us as aberrations from some arbitrary norm, we can define ourselves, which means others?the nons?must then be defined in reference to us. It?s only turnabout, and thus fair play. Maybe one day we?ll have no labels, but until then, we should at least be able to participate in the labeling process?Ed.


We Did a Bad, Bad Thing

I just received my copy of the new volume of TG Tapestry, the one with my article [?Transgender in Taiwan??Ed.] Thank you for sending it to me! I was especially pleased to see you were accommodating with the editorial ax (my ramblings are a prime target for such). I have one quibble, though. The artwork you chose to illustrate the article was wrong. The image is Japanese in style, and is of a Japanese woman, not a Taiwanese women. Furthermore, the writing you used in the illustration was Japanese katakana, and as far as i can tell is complete babbledygook.

I worry this may be an example of Western inconsiderateness of Asian (and, more specifically, Taiwanese) culture. Please do not take this lightly; this is an important issue. I think you can see how such a mistake weakens and in fact contradicts the whole point of my article, and many people will either be misinformed or simply turned off by this error.

I would therefore appreciate a prominently featured correction in the next issue. You needn?t send it to me; I will trust that you have printed it. But please make sure you do?this is very important.
Rachel K

I think printing your letter will be sufficiently embarrassing to the staff, myself included. We?ve done this sort of thing before. Hopefully, this will be the last such lapse. I was aware of the problems with the artwork and let them stand, so it?s entirely my fault?Ed.


I have found utility in the concepts of autogynephilia: I love women and I have also long fantasized about having the body of a woman. In my fantasies, I?m almost always sexually involved with men, men who don?t exist in the real world. In fact, that fantasy is ?it? for me; only fresh stimulation from a woman, genetic or otherwise, brings me back into the real world and into the Yang of my makeup. Even then, I have many times enjoyed transposing my sexual identity with my partner?s during sex. In the past, I felt much shame for such fantasies, and I shared them with no one.

Through therapy and much reflection, I have recently come to accept the existence and the power of my own homosexual inclinations. My fantasy life with men has for the most part been of a destructive nature, for it is tied to imaginary prison scenes, real former drug abuse, and to one individual who was attempting to make a hidden film for blackmail at best and a snuff movie at worst. Scary. It?s a measure of the power of my self-destructiveness that I can entertain such fantasies, and I struggle to free myself, to bring my beautiful femininity into the light of day. I?ve managed this type of transition myself through using estrogens with just a little testosterone added to seesaw at the edge of male function, but I?m all alone out here, at least in the area where I live.

Anyway, I have found autogynephilia to be a useful personal tool, and that is worth a lot.


The War

It is a cold war we fight, without a single willing participant. The battles are long, cruel, and haven?t any names of places; mostly they?re fought inside, silent, lonely, and without honor. The winners get only to keep their sanity, and the losers?well, I guess they die.

My war rages on, I know the taste of victory from my few triumphs. But it is difficult to enjoy victory?s sweetness in the face of so many bitter defeats. Right now my tongue feels swollen; it has been a very bitter day.

I am seeking friendship, anonymity in a world full of scholars, people who think they know and understand the cold war. They know nothing and understand less, for this is a war that must be fought to be understood.

A scholar I am not, but a weathered veteran has learned much, as have I. It has taught me sympathy, understanding and acceptance. Given me the knowledge of pain and suffering, and taken everything from me. I am a transsexual; my war will never be won.