July is the month I reflect upon the blessings of life in the free nations of the world. In particular, I have grown increasingly thankful and hopeful amidst the expanding defintions of liberty in the United States of America.
The past four weeks have been a time of many changes in my own life as well as in American society as a whole. Following genital surgery on June 24, I’ve divided my time between recovery, returning to work at CDC, writing, drumming, and planning on what to prioritize in my new life. My most dreaded post-surgical obligation, changing the gender marker on my driver’s licence, was a blessed success. On July 2, when Monica went with me to the DDS office in Roswell, GA where we were called to a counter staffed by a 25-year-old African-American man. The young man was immediately sympathetic as I took out my student loan payment stub as proof of address. When I showed him my U.S. passport bearing the female gender marker, the young DDS worker then shared with us that his sister is transgender. This young man related how he has always been supportive and protective of his sister through her transition. In midst of this shared story, I showed him my surgical affidavit, thus “sealing the deal” on my driver’s licence gender marker change. My humblest thanks are due to my Goddess, Matron of the Transgender and everyone else who finds themselves at the margins of society.
As for many months previously, I have prayed and begged Cybele my Goddess to carry me over the barrier of legal gender change in Georgia. Not only has She answered my prayers in the affirmative, but has healed me of the sense of alienation from the rest of American society which has dogged me since my late adolescence. The Goddess Cybele defended the Roman Republic from Hannibal’s terror; The Goddess fosters a sense of belonging within one’s nation. At the same time, acceptance of Her gender-transformed people brings prosperity to a nation. This past July 4 was my most heartfelt celebration of liberty as I offered red, white, and blue bouquets in Cybele’s honor. Now, as my initial jubilation at my change and healing subsides, I feel a leading to demonstrate how transgender identity/expression and my Goddess-faith are inextricably linked. Today, I went to church service in my new Goddess dress (this one from Target, not home-stitched). I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams to live in a free society where I can express my inner gender and live out my faith!
For my brothers and sisters of the entire GLBT community in the United States, liberty and hope have expanded drastically over the past few weeks. On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court released its decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, requiring all states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to recognize same-sex marriages validly performed in other states. Last week, on July 15, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that employment discrimination based upon sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC had previously released a similar ruling protecting Transgender employees on April 23, 2012. Also on July 15 of this past week, Caitlyn Jenner recieved the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPY Awards, demonstrating grace and pride in her acceptance speech. While many of my Trans brothers and sisters struggle with poverty and live in fear of violence, Ms. Jenner demonstrates how “it gets better” applies to Transgender people. Like my sister Caitlyn Jenner, I am proud to contribute to the expanding hope, liberty, and prosperity that is America!