Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Tragic Loss

The number one danger to the transsexual, transgender and intersex communities is ourselves.

This morning, my companion got a call that a member of the community was dead and went to go visit her room-mate. Deborah Dean is the founding director of Engendered Species in Salt Lake City, Utah. The room-mate had found her friend, Donielle, dead from a gunshot wound inflicted to the head when she returned home yesterday morning.

The reason I am telling you this story is that I don't want it repeated.

Many people here in Salt Lake City will miss Donielle. She was active in the Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus and Republican Party. She was also an active member of Engendered Species, a local support group founded by Deborah. She was going to host the group's 4th of July party tomorrow at her place. Instead, the community has been left shocked.

Only she knew the real reason why she made this tragic decision. As many of us realize at some point in our life, once we start letting ourselves free, it is like an addiction. We can't get enough. Just like alcoholics, it is an addiction that is hard-wired into our brains. Unlike alcoholics, however, the real danger lies not in giving in to that desire, but suppressing it. A caged lion, once it has tasted the open air has an addiction for freedom. How so can we not let ourselves become whole-spirited people contributing to make the world a better place? The giving in to the addiction of the journey is an edifying experience that makes us stronger. It's an addiction to being healthy.

Donielle also lost her job. Losing one's employment brings with it many stresses, such as the struggle to pay the bills and the loss of one's identity. As people in transition we must transcend these and work together. At one point when I was laid off, a friend who was still in the closet suggested I submit my resume to her place of work, and I ultimately did—but after she had temporarily moved to another state. Building and using a social network, we can help keep our sisters and brothers employed, and housed in between jobs. We can pass the torch from one to another to keep our home-fires burning.

There were many who have given her support, and that support has kept her with us longer than it would have been had it not occurred.

I am so proud of Transcenders Global Social Support Network, Wasatch Trangender Front and Engendered Species for what they are doing in the community.

I am seeing both TGSSN and WTF coming alive in their memberships with people posting what's on their minds and getting immediate support. Keep doing it. By helping others over the rough spots, you are building each other up and developing friendships that will last a lifetime.

If you have something that you need to say, please keep sharing. And if you feel moved by what someone else has posted, please keep responding.

This is our community, and I am so proud of it.

In a couple of weeks, I plan to start serious discussions in the Salt Lake City area of how we can reach out to find and support others in our community who need it.

Hugs and God Bless,
Sophia Jean Hawes

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