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July 2000

From The Desk Of The President... Thursday August 3, 2000 COOK OUT? FALL RECOGNITION DINNER?
Let's Plan It! Call Antoinette with your sugguestions. 774-7029

ALSO: If you or someone you know would like to join TransSupport, or just
attend a meeting, I can arrange a SAME DAY INTERVIEW. Just call me when
your ready.

Saturday July 8, 2000 Let's have a get-together in Portland. Maybe grab some
dinner and karyoke. Call me if your interested at 774-7029 and I hope to see you then!

Antoinette has come home from her recent hospitalization for a hip surgery.
You can email your wishes for a speedy recovery to the following - Antoinette Pezet

Member News
We'd like you to join us at Channel 4, for "Sexuality & Gender In The
New Millennium". Audience participation and interaction. A discussion
for television (one hour long).

DINNER & DRAG SHOW
A Richard Lawler Production
At the Radison Hotel in Portland. September 22, 2000 to start at about
5:30 - 6:00pm. Cost TBA... check back here, or contact Antoinette.

I have submitted to the Board (when we had a full one) the following:
My proposal is this... Waive membership fees for all board members and
the TS Librarian.
Reasoning... People serving TS in these positions work for their
membership, and of course receive no pay.
I believe that this may increase interest in these positions, and will
obligate board members to participate more, to earn their keep.
What do you think? Let me know at tnt@pivot.net

Newsletter Recruitment

Since attendance at our monthly meetings is dwindling more and more
lately, and the newsletter is only being mailed quarterly now, the
important role of our newsletter had become a lifeline to some, and a
resource for others.
With this in mind, we'd like to include some columns by one 'every
issue' author, or many different people can share a certain column
from one issue to the next. Here are some ideas: Physicians /
Medical Professionals On TG"
, and maybe something like Fashion,
Haircare & Cosmetics
. If you have an idea for a column in our
newsletter, or if you would be interested in authoring a column in our
newsletter, please step up to the plate. Contact Tracy.

Jean Vermette of MEGRESS

In early April I was honored to receive the Great Pioneer Award from
the Maine Lesbian Gay Political Alliance at their annual banquet.
The award is given: "For achievement that embodies bold new vision
and courageous breakthrough in our struggle for equality."

Naturally, I was expected to make some kind of acceptance "speech",
and I wanted to use the opportunity to educate as many in the GLB
community as I could. Below is the text of that little talk, which I
think is appropriate for folks in the trans community to hear as well.

TEXT OF MLGPA AWARDS ADDRESS:

You know, whenever I get behind a microphone like this I'm always
tempted to do my Elvis Presly impersonation. But they've only given
me a few minutes to speak, so what I want to do is use my time to try
to get as many of you as possible to change the way you think.

The Maine Gender Resource And Support Service has always given its
educational presentations and workshops about the transgendered and
intersexed communities to a wide variety of people from all walks of
life and of all sexual orientations.

In case any of you are unfamiliar with the terminology I'm using I'll
tell you that being "intersexed" means being born with some combina-
tion of physical or anatomical characteristics of both sexes. That's
a fairly straight-forward definition. Being "transgendered" is a
little more complex.

When I talk about transgenderism I usually start with a fairly long
explanation about gender and gender-identity in order to get people
to understand that our gender identities (in other words how we each
view ourselves as masculine and feminine people) are something that
is completely separate and different from our sex. It's entirely
possible for some male-bodied people to view themselves as more
feminine than masculine, and it's entirely possible for some female-
bodied people to view themselves as more masculine than feminine;
and being transgendered simply means having a gender identity which
is different from what people would expect you to have given the sex
you were born with. Most folks think that's pretty self-evident.

So then I go into another fairly long discussion and explanation in
order to get folks to understand that our gender identities are also
something that is completely separate from our sexual orientation.
Heterosexual people can be transgendered, gay people can be trans-
gendered, lesbian people can be transgendered, and bisexual people
can be transgendered. There may be a little discussion about that,
but come on, we're not talking about rocket science here, so
eventually everyone is able to grasp and accept that concept as well.
Then I start to tighten the screws. I point to myself and I say:
"Look, here's the deal. I was born with a male anatomy. I didn't
like it, and with the help of therapists and doctors and surgeons I
made some extensive renovations, but I *was* born with a male anatomy,
and I have to own that fact.
Since my earliest concept of gender, my gender identity has always
been that I'm feminine and I'm a girl. And from the time my sexuality
began to develop, my sexual orientation has always been exclusively
towards women. So," I ask them, "how are you going to define me?"

Well maybe half of them, both male and female, and of a variety of
sexual orientations, will look at me and go: "DUH! You're a hetero-
sexual guy who thinks of himself as a woman." Then most of the other
half will look at them and say, "Wait a minute. We think that she's
a lesbian woman who was born with a birth defect." Then the few
remaining folks will say, "No, no, no. She *was* a heterosexual guy
who changed his sexual orientation and became a lesbian woman." At
which point I jump in and say, "Hold on, how can you say I changed my
orientation? I was sexually attracted to women before all these
changes, and I'm sexually attracted to women now. My orientation
hasn't changed."

Usually there are a few moments of silence while everyone kind of
chews on this information and tries to figure out how to make it all
fit into what they've always believed before; and then I see the light
bulbs start to turn on, and they get these silly little grins on their
faces, because what they're thinking is: "Gosh, maybe all of this
heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual stuff isn't as black and white
as we thought. Maybe all of these labels that we try to attach to
people and all of these boxes that we try to shove people into are
more a reflection of our religious and political beliefs than they
are a reflection of the reality. Maybe the reality is simply that
you have one human being (who has a particular set of characteristics)
who cares about and loves another human being (who has a particular
set of characteristics)." And after that there are lots of
questions and discussion and exploration and everyone has a wonderful
time!

For years now the heterosexual community and the gay/lesbian/bisexual
communities have been at odds with each other over the "sexual
orientation issue" because many have felt that sexual orientation
differences are so great and so opposed as to be virtually irreconcil-
able. Few have perceived that there might be a naturally-occurring
intermediate state which could be used to bridge those differences
and that would allow everyone to come together and join hands, and
they have failed to realize that that bridge already exists with the
transgendered and intersexed communities.

The transgendered and intersexed communities have existed for at
least as long as the heterosexual, gay, lesbian, and bisexual
communities, and we span all of them. We are your mothers and
fathers, your brothers and sisters, your spouses and your partners.
Many of us have had long years of internal struggle, *not* to decide
whether we are male or female, heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual,
but rather to realize that we are *all* of those things, wrapped up
in single person-hoods and capable of living harmonious lives regard-
less of what particular combination of characteristics we might have.
By our very existance, we stand as testimony to the fact that such
seemingly diverse and polarized aspects of life as male and female,
heterosexual and homosexual are, in fact, only two sides of the same
incredibly thin coin.

But, as with any bridge, we cannot be of help to you, and we cannot
have any unifying capabilities, unless you *choose* to utilize us. I
encourage all of you to accept us, and embrace us, and dance the life-
dance with us. It is in your best interest to do so, because I think
what you will find is that as the heterosexual community learns to
accept and embrace *its* transgendered and intersexed members, and as
the lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities learn to accept and embrace
*their* transgendered and intersexed members, that the heterosexual
community and the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities will have
learned to accept and embrace each other. And that, after all, is
what the struggle is all about, isn't it?

April 2000

From The Desk Of The
President...

April Orno Conference
"Activism for a New Era,"
my TransSupport workshop
will be called "Activism
for Being Oneself": (You
can quote the following)
"In this workshop we will
discuss the TG person,
asking who is transgendered,
why is it important for
us to think of gender
seperately from sexuality,
and where is society going
and how are each of us
fitting into a society
with changing gender and
sexual views."

Rainbow Millennium: Activism
For A New Era

April 7,8,9
TransSupport would like to be a part
of this. I hope that MainE Gender
REsource Support Sevices (Ms. Jean
Vermette) would also participate.
We would call our presentatuion
"The Trans-Gendered Person Of The
21st Century" and address such
topics and questions as, What do
we mean by "Transgendered"? Who is
transgendered (TG)? How does the
TG process fit socially, or how is
society changing - how do these
changes impact the physical and
mental focus of men and women
with regard to their gender
issues and sexuality? Why we
must think and speak of gender
and sex seperately.

- Antoinette Pezet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Member News

Several members have recently had surgeries. While we
wait for permission to use their first names, here in
the newsletter, our prayers go out to them for a quick
recovery... at the time this was reported, we were of
the understanding that all 3 surgeries were successful.

Jamie G. went to Montreal for a face-lift and bone red-
duction surgery. Regarding the experience Jamie says,

"The comments I have are: (1) It hurts. (2) It hurts more.
The day after the surgery I felt that nothing could be
worth that much pain, but the memory fades and the
changes stay, so now I feel happy about it. I definitely
like my new looks even though my wife says there isn't
enough difference to justify the cost (approx $8,000 US).
It was nice staying at the residence and getting to meet
folks going through GRS. Gives you a perspective of
what it's really like. They also had a video showing
the procedure. Doesn't look as gruesome as a facelift
but it's still looks pretty gruesome.
The bruising is going away and the swelling has gone
down some. The pain is mostly gone, but I still have a
feeling of tightness all around my face and a lack of
sensation. That should get better as the months go by."

Best wishes for a speedy recovery Jamie.
More to come soon, hopefully.

Newsletter Recruitment

Since attendance at our monthly meetings is dwindling
more and more lately, and the newsletter is only being
mailed quarterly now, the important role of our newsletter
had become a lifeline to some, and a resource for others.
With this in mind, we'd like to include some columns by
one 'every issue' author, or many different people can
share a certain column from one issue to the next. Here
are some ideas: Physicians / Medical Professionals
On TG"
, and maybe something like Fashion, Haircare &
Cosmetics
. If you have an idea for a column in our
newsletter, or if you would be interested in authoring a
column in our newsletter, please step up to the plate.
Contact Tracy.

Public Awareness Push

Antoinette is meeting with the Director of Public Access
Channel #2, to discuss the making of a video PSA
(public service announcement), and is also looking
for help from one or two members, to make the video.
If we can get a one made, most Maine television
stations will be willing and able to air it.

"A LITTLE BEDTIME STORY"

by Jean Vermette

Marsha turned slowly in her seat to face Frank straight on.
His boyish grin seemed somehow strained and slightly
insincere. Without saying a word, she reached into her
purse, pulled out the revolver, and raised the muzzle
to about an inch or so from the end of Frank's nose.
His eyes crossed and the grin disappeared.

"So, you want to have a little fun, huh? You want the
ladies to put out for you so that you can have a good
time. You want people to do for you so that you can
get dressed up and go places and do things; but you
don't want any of the responsibilities. Well, I'm
afraid that's just not the way it works," she said,
waving the muzzle back and forth a little to accentuate
her words. "Now that I have your attention, let me
tell YOU something. This support group isn't here
for the pleasure of taking care of you. It's here
to give you the chance to help yourself. How do you
suppose that that's going to happen?" When Frank
didn't respond she poked the end of his nose with
the muzzle and said, "That was a question."

Frank's eyes uncrossed, and for a moment he looked
into the searching gaze of her dark brown peepers
surrounded by those beautiful, long lashes.
"Uuhm...uuhm...by...ah...taking responsibility for
my own needs?" he asked, hoping against hope that
it was the kind of answer she was looking for.

She smiled sweetly and batted her eyelids. "I
knew you weren't stupid. Now, how are you going
to take responsibility for your own needs?"

He thought for a moment. "Well, I...guess...by...
you know...uuhm...using the group for suggestions
and support for the decisions *I* make rather than
waiting for them to...ah...make decisions for me."

"Now you're getting into the swing of things!" she
said with a little purr in her voice. "And in
order to get that support you need to actually
make decisions and act on them, right?" Frank
nodded vigorously. "What else can you do?"

"Well...uuhm...I suppose I could be more active
...uuhm, in the group. I could...ah...take on
some duties and, kind of actively participate."

"Kind of?" asked Marsha, holding the revolver a
little steadier and raising her eyebrows a bit.

"No, no, really," exclaimed Frank, raising his
hands and waving them back and forth a little,
"I could REALLY be active in the group! I
could be helping other members!"

"It's so much better to give than to receive,
isn't it?" asked Marsha.

"Absolutely!" said Frank.

"And when we give to others we get so much more
in return, don't we?"

"That's what my mother always told me!"

"Your mother was a sensitive and caring woman.
But then, most women are sensitive and caring.
I think that's why men want to emulate them."

"You think so?" asked Frank, forgetting the
revolver for a moment.

"Isn't that why you're here?" asked Marsha
seriously. "You know, sometimes I just get
SO upset! I mean, all these people come and
want to join the group and feed us all this
bull about wanting to get in touch with their
feminine selves, and all they ever do is sit
on the butts and say 'me, me, me'! How can
they ever expect to become sensitive and
caring if all they every care about is
themselves?!" She was gesturing wildly and
waving the pistol around with abandon.
Frank was cringing and trying to duck at
the same time.

"Look," he said, trying to calm her down,
"maybe it's not quite as clear cut as that.
I mean, maybe sometimes people don't step
forward because they feel like...well...
like they're being put off. Just last week
I made a suggestion to Clarisse and she
brushed me aside."

"Did you think she was wrong in doing so?"
asked Marsha.

"Yes, I did!" he replied.

"Well, then, why didn't you speak up?
Clarisse isn't dictator here, no one is.
This is everyone's group, everyone is equal,
and EVERYONE needs to pitch in and help if
it's going to survuve. You want it to survive,
don't you? I mean, how are you going to get
any support from the group if the group isn't
even here because you sat on your duff and
kept you mouth shut?" she asked, poking him
in the chest several times with the revolver
as though it were a finger.

"OK, OK," exclaimed Frank, closing his eyes
and expecting the worst, "I get the point!
I'm going to be more active in the group!
I'm going to start being responsible for my
own growth! Now will you please put that thing
away before it goes off?!"

"Off?" asked Marsha, looking at the gun as
though she had just noticed it.
She shrugged her shoulders. "I doubt it
would," she said, putting it back in her
purse. "It's out of water."

Love, Jean Vermette

***********************************
The greatest art is to lead an ordinary life in an
extraordinary manner.
-Buddhist Proverb
***********************************

January 2000

From The Desk Of The
President...
Hi TransSupporters:
Tracy has done a splendid job with
the cruise and you should invite
someone if you cannot come
yourselves- see someone else who
might enjoy this special time with
others in the GLBiTG and hetero
community at large. I have been
reaching out with flyers and contacts
in the Portland area gay bars as
well as other allies in the GLBiTG
community, to invite all who will,
to cruise with us.
If there isn't a proper turnout for
this important meeting we will
reschedule our elections for the
15th of January in Portland at the
SPEAKOUT venue. I need to have as
many of you as can come, especially
those of us who are or who have been
board members in the last 5 years. I
would welcome past presidents of
TransSupport - Rick and Jean V, and
of course Marti is always a welcome
and wise person that I would be
thrilled, should she come. I also
would expect Jean T., Robin, Tracy
and Seth, Paula and his wife
representing SOs and perhaps some
of you that haven't come lately to
a meeting -Deb P? We need your valued
input NOW, for there is no later for
TransSupport.
Peace, Love and Tranquillity -
this is what I wish each of
you and your family & friends
this new year and on into a
new millennium.
This peace comes I believe
from us knowing ourselves and
connecting to that higher power
within that some of us call God,
connecting in such a way that
each in her/his own way knows
God's Love for us and God's wish
that each of us find that
tranquillity from following the
path laid out for each of us to
be unique individuals.
On a immediate note, our next
meeting at Brunswick could be
the last one there -
TRANSSUPPORTERS ALERT - we
need YOU to come there and decide
our direction for the future of
the group! So I invite all of you
to come and represent us as TGs,
SOs! I am hoping that the new year
will show that we can grow and this
new year we can plan together
several events (certainly at warmer
times for Maine) where we can both
have fun and introduce ourselves
to others who might have an
interest in us.
We need to be mixing with all
communities, especially in light of
the upcoming referendum this fall,
when those of us who can, join in
a SPEAKOUT effort to educate will
do so, while those of us more in
the closet will talk with those
of our friends and family and
co-workers with whom we are out
about human rights for all. We
cannot afford not to do our part
as TG persons.
Speaking of SPEAKOUT, I again
invite those of you who don't
know it to come out and join us
at a Friday or Saturday night get
together at the Portland office
of Speakout which is located at
9 Dana Street, one block parallel
to the Old Port Tavern and across
the street from the new Old Port
Bakery Restaurant, over Amigo's
bar, on the same floor as the
restaurant. We meet the first
weekend of the month, but call
me about this before you come.
My temporary number is 774-3066
Sun-Thurs. Around supper time is
usually a good time to reach me,
on those days.
I love you all, and have been
honored to serve as President
and Vice President of TransSupport
over the past 5 years since I joined.
- Antoinette Pezet
Trans2000 Celebration!
Last chance to buy your tickets for the New Year's Cruise,
with a professional DJ (dancing & karyoke), refreshments,
and a cash bar, and fireworks, over Casco Bay, at midnight.
All members are encouraged to attend and to help get the
word to the G.L.T. all over New England.
Ticket Prices: $25.- Per Person / $10.- Member Price

Public Awareness Push
Antoinette is looking for help from one or two members,
to make a video PSA (public service announcement) for
TransSupport. If we can get a one made, most Maine
television stations will be willing and able to air it.

Focus Groups Schedule
Portland: Focus On Living "OUT"
1st Sat. of month 5pm "SpeakOut" office , at 9 Dana St.
(above 'Amigos Restaurant'). Call Antoinette at 774-3066
Call Antoinette at 774-3066 for more info.

Standish: Focus On Transgender Couples Issues
3rd Saturday of month at 12 noon. Call Tracy, at 642-6023
for location. Next meeting scheduled for January 15, 2000.