It was Transgender Day of Remembrance 3 years ago, 2008. I attended a candlelight vigil that night at a Metropolitan Community Church in Fort Worth, Texas—and it was the first time I attended a church service as Sophie. There were several of my transgender friends attending and I thought it would be a welcoming place to go.
I also had a friend at work who suggested that I try out the Unitarian Universalist church because of my spiritual experiences that did not line up completely with the spiritual doctrine I had grown up under. I had already outed myself to her and she was fast becoming a good friend. So, in early December, I checked out the local Unitarian Universalist Church, Westside. I went as male and confided to the person who greeted me that I was transgender. She told me about how they had a program for the kids to help them understand lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. I decided that I would alternate between the two churches. I wasn't brave enough to show Sophie in public to people I hadn't met yet. I decided I would go female to the MCC and male to the UU.
A few weeks later, I dressed up as Sophie to attend the MCC and was on my way, when I felt an incredible spiritual pull to go to Westside Unitarian instead. I thought to myself, Oh great. I'm not ready. I followed the compulsion anyway and was greeted with warmth by the ladies of the church. You know, I never made it back to the MCC church, and I never told them about my former male experience. The Unitarian Church embraced me, kissed me on the cheek and gave me room and encouraged me to grow into the person I was meant to be.
Since Sunday was Transgender Day of Remembrance, I wrote a poem a couple of days previous to share with my congregation the feelings it engenders in me. It's called, “I Cried” and I also posted on the green project board I put together in the foyer before moving it the reception area.
Today, when I got home, I received a pleasant shock. In an envelope in my mailbox was a letter from my health insurance essentially approving coverage of the hormone therapy that was prior to my surgery in May and tagged as a complication. It's been more than a couple of weeks since I appeared before a grievance committee to present my argument of why they should cover my surgery. I'm taking this as a positive sign.
I cried.When I readHow you died.How your body was mutilatedBeyond recognition.
I criedBecause you diedFor who you were
You had the courageTo BeFree.
I criedBecause I liedBecause your fateMight Be mine.
They identify your bodyAnd I cry.
I don't feel safeWhen I readAlmost dailyThe sameSad tale.
Because you might have been me,I cry.
They can't findWho took your life,Or when they do,Blame youFor being trueTo yourself.
TonightI light a candleTo honor the spiritThe courageThe hope in the darknessSo I don't have to cryAnymore
Sofia Jean Featherwind, November 18, 2011, For Transgender Day of Remembrance
You need to make sure you carve out time for yourself. And if you're going to work crazy hours at something, make sure it's something you can feel compassionate about.
I'm done leap frogging jobs, because I found that I didn't have the passion to sustain the loyalty I kept throwing into companies just to have it betrayed when they needed money.
I leave between 4 and 5 pm every day and live my life outside of the office where I find my true meaning. Yeah, from 8:30 to roughly 4:30, I guide the team and run it when the lead is absent, handling all the tech issues, etc. But when I walk out that door, I breathe because I have dreams and aspirations to work on.
I have been performing. I lost count of the number of solos I did, and I did one with an ad hoc troupe. Three of us may be forming up to create a more permanent troupe named Desert Mist. I am so excited. Almost every day sees me practicing, unless I am taking a couple of days off for muscle recovery. I just got done with two back to back solos on the last two weekends. I did one choreography and a couple of drum improvisational dances for the church carnival and three choreographed pieces and another improv at an art gallery as part of the live entertainment for an after conference party.
I am signed up to perform at the January Winter Festival with Desert Mist, a couple of solos in February and in March, my performing class Azalea starts doing performances until September. So, I've been keeping myself busy.
The one thing I have learned is that things almost always go wrong. The best thing you can do is smile and keep on going, remembering that you are doing it for fun.
I've had a couple of articles posted in biweekly periodicals. One was about my battle with my insurance company and the other was a piece about me and my book.
My kids will be with me tomorrow through Sunday morning for Thanksgiving break. I'm planning on taking them shopping, to the movies and to Thanksgiving dinner at Golden Corral.
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving,