This letter is in response to the guest editorial piece entitled, “How to kill a transperson.” This editorial was a moving and passionate piece that admonished readers to take a closer look at their own judgements and prejudices. However, I would like to also bring attention to the many supportive and loving people that do their very best to protect, honor and love a transgender person. I speak from very personal experience.
I feel I must take issue with the sweeping statement that “I forgot” how difficult living as a transgendered person is. I have never forgotten. Ever. My best friend was a trans gender person who was one of the first receipents of re-assignment surgery in Utah. She was a true pioneer in this state. Her inital surgery was at the university of Utah, when the reassignment surgery was done in phases. She did have subsequent surgeries in Thailand. At the time of her transformation she did in fact loose the love and support of her family and friends. I can only imagine the depth of sadness she suffered. After several years of struggle and pain I met her. She was a student in my belly dance class. She absolutely shined above all others. We were immediate friends. We became inseperable. We shared dark and difficult times. We also shared the best times of our lives. All of my fondest memories involve her. Every last one of them. She was my daughters godmother, my husbands best friend and my hero.
I never let people stare without challenge, never let people speak ill of her, never let a birthday or holiday slide without telling her what she meant to me. She had a shine and a sparkle to her that will never be matched. I tried to be there for her in every way. She provided for those around her, offered sage advice, and gave of her time without question. She was an excepted member of the Utah belly dance community and provided us with wonderful ideas and hilarious running commentary. She simply was the best friend I have ever had.
Sadly, the pain and torment that she suffered in the early years of her life, and the victimization that she suffered just became all too much. Her health began to fail and she was diagnosed with early onset alzheimers. She was only 52. I take exception to the sweeping statement that “I forgot”. I have never forgotten. I have never forgotten the stares and the nasty comments, but I also never forgot her laugh, her smile, and her sense of self in a world that fought against her. There are people in the world that try desperatly to help forge a path and walk proudly beside trans gendered people. I tried.
My best friend killed herself two years ago. She left this world on April 27, 2006. She left on her own terms, in her own way. Her family still chooses to believe her death an accident, but I know better. I helped plan her funeral, her wake and her cremation. I miss her everyday and feel such pain that I could not save her. As I write this, the tears flow freely. Maybe writing this is a way to try and release the pain and fear that I did not do enough. Maybe it is a way to defend myself from a perceived attack. Maybe it is just because I miss her so very much. I don’t know. I just know I had to respond to the editorial. The whole world is not against transgender individuals. I for one will do my very best to educate and inform people about trans gender people and to celebrate the life of my best friend.
Kairo aka. Anna Grant
Salt Lake City
Tucker’s Words of Wisdom
I want to personally thank you for printing Tucker’s letter as a guest editorial. When I heard Rep. Kern’s words I was appalled but unfortunately not surprised. I remember the Oklahoma City bombing clearly. I was living in Dallas at the time working as an Art Director for a business publication. It was also my birthday. As I was driving to work that morning, anticipating a fun lunch celebration with my friends, I heard the news that a government building in Oklahoma City had been bombed. My hopes for a wonderful day vanished as I frantically tried to remember the name of the building where a dear friend worked. At work we half-heartedly tried to do our jobs while keeping eyes and ears on the streaming news bulletins. I don’t think there was anyone in our office that wasn’t touched in some way by the tragedy. We spent frantic hours trying to contact friends and loved ones. I fortunately heard from my friend around midnight that night. Other’s weren’t so lucky as they received news of relatives deaths. Worse was the children — the missing and the unknown. We all wondered who could have committed such a cruel act.
At the GLBT Community Center in Oaklawn, people did what they could. Many people had moved to Dallas from Oklahoma City and surrounding areas to try to find acceptance in a larger more ‘Metropolitan’ community. They now felt the need to go back and help. I want to say there are some very wonderful human beings in Oklahoma but to hear someone refer to gays and lesbians as something ‘worse’ than terrorist demeans the outpouring of love and compassion I witnessed in our community during the months after that tragic event.
I volunteered as the adult adviser to the GLBT youth group in Dallas and am all to aware of what our younger brothers and sisters face in their schools and sometimes from their own families, especially in the name of ‘christianity’.
Tucker’s words expressed the feelings of so many of us. Its encouraging that such wisdom can come from a young adult. Unfortunately, it also shows us that there is still work to be done to educate and inform.
Plea to prophet
Recently a new prophet was sustained. Thomas S. Monson is a man known for his wisdom, who makes you appreciate small joys. He is a man who can lead with ease.
New beginnings mean new opportunities. For too long, love and family have been overshadowed by our fear and misunderstanding of gay people. Homophobia is passing for a family value. As a result, an important person in your life may be afraid to tell you about an important aspect of their life. Being gay is not a sin, not a disease, not a choice. It just is. The only choice is how you treat others who may be different from you.
Our new prophet has an opportunity to set a new tone: Love your children, your spouse, your siblings, your parents. Let God be the judge, not you.
President Monson, please set the priorities. Less fear, more love. Let those of us who have seen this path help. We don’t need to change the doctrine or the commandments; we just need to care, to love and to help each other. Isn’t that Christ-like love and family values in their purest form?
W. Olin Thomas III
Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons