Man Is A Man Is A Woman
By Bob Small
This begins in the summer of 1979, my living arrangements had transitioned to an unaffordable apartment in South Philly based on my current salary and debts, which were not expected to change any time soon. At the same time, there was someone I had gotten to know, whose time at the same way station I had stayed at, was rapidly ending.
BMA (initials) was mid-20’s and had recently escaped from an abusive religious family who had tried to both beat and pray “the gayness devil” out of him. He had some help in this “escape”, which can be detailed later.
BMA had decided that, as a Gay Catholic man, the only way he could “get right with God”, would be to transition to becoming a Gay Catholic Woman. As such, he would no longer be transgressing. In no way, do I mean to denigrate Catholicism, which provides solace to many.
Fortunately, at that time in Pennsylvania, Transition Surgery required a certain length of time for the applicant to enter Therapy prior to being accepted for “the final cut”. He ended up going to group therapy at Hall Mercer which was part of Pennsylvania Hospital).
Long story short, he ended up removing his Catholicism rather than anything else. He then joined the local branch of MCC (Metropolitan Community Church), a Gay and Lesbian Welcoming Church that also had excellent potlucks and was open to everyone. Eventually, after another wrong turn, he ended up with a healthy Gay Relationship. We would sometimes meet at 30th Street Station during switching of trains and he would inevitable buy me coffee and pastry, as he was now earning much more than I was.
Now all of this is to preface that transexuality, like marriage, should not be entered into lightly.
Not all men, or boys, who express a desire to become a woman, should be guided to do that. I’ve known a number of “draq queens”, for instance who only want to do “dress up”, but would not want to have to suffer an entire life in high heels, etc.
Now, “I’ve said all that to say all this”, to paraphrase a long ago female drinking partner and lover. We now come up to present day, at least in a paragraph or two.
By the early 1980’s, my interests had transitioned to the Philly Poetry Scene, where I ended up leading a number of organizations, prime among them Poets and Prophets, until around a decade ago. I’m still involved with local poetry scenes but am not in charge of anything except being “Lord of the Compost” for our household’s Vegetable Garden, a sometimes Blog, and walking the Terrible Terrier three times a day, and, oh yes, driving wherever my wife tells me to.
One of the people I got to know during our weekly Readings At Bacchanal, The Middle East Restaurant, and other now defunct bars and restaurants, was a poet I’ll call Scott N, (names are changed to protect the guilty). Scott N, who most people had a love/hate relationship with, many at the same time, was an excellent poet but had a habit of not otherwise knowing when to keep silence, sometimes with almost dire consequences. He frequently needed rescuing.
He had been an early supporter of transgender rights and would occasionally send me articles on this topic, from his cave in woodsy Vermont.
Here is a recent article on the Wi Spa controversy:
Basically, in the Wi Spa, in LA, a pre-op transexual, with the original equipment, saw fit to be naked and shameless, in what is supposed to be a woman’s only spa. The management explained that transexuals were welcome, though one thinks they meant Post-op.
Evidently this person believed his intentions allowed him to be there, and evidently, so did his/her Lawyer. Now, my opinion is that gender non-conforming people should not be showing their penis in public. That kind of behavior is actually male gender conforming, at least in some sad circles.
Further, if he’s so proud of Mr. Peter, why would he be so willing to become peterless? My unsolicited advice is for him to return to therapy before anything else.
In the 1970’s/80’s, the incidence of transitioning, before such phenomena as ìThe Danish Girlî mainstreamed this procedure, usually required many months of Therapy. Also, in my distant memory, I know there were age limits, at the very least, requiring one be post-adolescent.
More to follow on the Wi Spa battles.