Thursday, May 16, 2019

Dear Iowa -- from your Transgender Daughter

May 9, 2019
In the past nearly 18 months since I have been publicly out as the Woman I have always been, I get a quite a number of very positive and supportive comments. Often remarking how brave I am. And honestly I really do love these expressions of encouraging support. It gives me a lot of hope that more people in the world actually "get it" and can distinguish between Love and Judgment.

What may surprise some, however is that me being out publicly as myself is incredibly EASY. I lived closeted for nearly 48 years of my life, and while there are many lovely and great experiences I have had while I lived as a woman pretending to be a man. All in all, I look back on my life an reflect, "Why did I willingly subject myself to the tortured existence of denying me from the World, lying with every interaction, turning down jobs, pulling myself out of auditions, seeking therapy, prescriptions, anything to help me pretend to be a man and just hold on till I finished my one and only existence. 
May 8 - TC HIt Squad Open Jam
And then when other women like me were under attack, remembering what it was like for me as a little girl in the 1970s-80s to share male locker rooms and not wanting other little girls like me to endure the same torment, how could I live with myself by letting them take the force of victim blaming without outing myself and jeopardizing my family??!?"

By the time I reached my 40s practically all of my self-confidence was depleted and Depression took hold as I had spent all of my energy into keeping up this facade of masculinity.

Nearly 30 years ago (1991) when I was initially going to come out, there wasn't a lot of exposure to other women like me - and media portrayals really did a great deal of harm both for society and for us-- me as a frightened girl / young woman trying to find "Whom can I trust who isn't going to think I'm some sort of 'Silence of the Lambs' villain?!!? and run screaming" 

Back then it was incredibly scary for me to try to open up, just a little to anyone. And when I started, it was hard to be confident. Even when I began therapy in the 1990s you never knew which medical or psychological physicians would have experience - I didn't start noticing physicians really advertising experience in LGBTQIA issues until after 2012 (I was 42) 

May 3-4 Twin Cities Women's Chorus Gala
Fast forward to December 1, 2017 at 18:00 CST In the first 7-9 months since my announcement, I gradually eased into my public life here in the Twin Cities, I was still really in that mode that I didn't want to offend anyone's sensibilities. Then one day in June 2018, I decided, I'm going to wear a sundress to my New Rx gig, cause dammit I am and always have been a woman and while I know I don't need clothes to tell me what I already know, I am doing it because I want to. 

* I should note that so much of my growth I can attribute to the unconditional love, support, and open counsel I have been fortunate to receive from a friend in Iowa City. She is incredible, always learning, always listening, and even after all of my experience and myriad friends who are themselves trans and gender non-binary, there is no one I have met who really grasps the trans experience better than her. - She got me to loosen up, learn how to dance, reclaim my fearlessness, find joy. And while I have always been a musician and shared 26 years of my life with another talented musician and singer, I have discovered So very much more depth, variety, and love in music with her. It is ironic to me that after all of these year hating my young experience in Iowa, that Iowa would be the first place I fully embraced my true self. -- Iowa City will always remain my city of rebirth.

Now, about 23 months with the proper body and brain chemistry due to hormones, I am full of confidence. I freely claim my space as the woman I have always been. Those doubts and worries I have had my whole life are gone. So when I appear in public whether getting groceries, walking around the lake, or up on stage, I am full of confidence - and that is Easy.

Another very good friend of mine, who happens to be a therapist, and has known me before and since coming out, remarked - "If there were such a thing as a "poster-child" for why people need to come out, it is Xenia."

Had all of this knowledge and support that the younger generations now enjoy been available when I was 13, I would have spoken up and started hormones right then and there. No question about it.
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When people who aren't Transgender or Gender non-binary think of Transgender Healthcare - it seems in their mind is fixated on surgery- which for many of is really isn't the core concern of our healthcare issues. There is SO VERY MUCH MORE, and my little story above just scratches the surface.

Regarding terminology, I refer to myself simply as a woman. If I feel the need to clarify, I will say something like, "I am a woman...who is transgender. My mother is a woman who is cisgender."  I do not feel that bringing up that I am trans is necessary at all.

Love ya,
Xenia

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May 5, 2019:
An open letter to Iowa

Dear Home state of Iowa;
Thank you for justifying my move to St Paul, Minnesota.
After receiving the news of the recent mean spirited act by the Iowa State Legislative and Executive branches, I say this morning what I said when I left in 1993, 
Como Lake in St. Paul, MN
Is it really so hard to Love, Understand, to be nice? at the very least could you at least respect the expertise of Medical professionals, before signing BS into Law??
I was born in 1970, raised in the small community of Hudson, Iowa. And I have ALWAYS known myself to be female. I had no outside influence, no fashionable trendy ideology. If anything growing up, being trans had very serious negative consequences.

The reality is that my brain does not match my body. Unlike you, I actually put Hard work and effort into understanding myself and even harder work trying to remain closeted and learn to live like a man, which I did for the first 47 years of my life. 

I underwent Over 20 years of therapy, medications, Church... none of it worked because none of it addressed the fact that I Am a Woman. My brain has always been female. And Medical Professionals know this! 
Politicians do not!

By eliminating healthcare provisions which would help transgender citizens live productive and loving lives, You consign us to misery and death. You have no care to learn, no clue, no empathy, you refuse to work hard to help yourself, religious leaders, and other anti-trans constituents to overcome their own lurid fantasies of what they think trans is and their own base inclinations of fear and prejudice: the destructive agents of communities across America. You thus demonstrate your complete ineptitude to lead and protect all citizens in our inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness.

With much Love,
Your native daughter
Xenia
Hudson Community School, 1988
Luther College in Decorah, 1992

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We read Ibsen in my Iowa Public High School (Where Chick Grassley’s sister (Lois West) was one of my favorite inspiring public school teachers!) as well as my northeastern Iowa college.
Apparently the current lawmakers and Governor of Iowa never did — or perhaps they just didn’t understand him

Como Park in St. Paul, MN

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May 1, 2019
I’m just your run-of-the-mill free-spirited, egalitarian, Gen X, earthy, eco-feminist, Nature and people loving hippie-chick, single mother born and raised in rural Iowa who practices Yoga, martial arts, drinks whisky, plays darts, and LOVES Heavy Metal.
... and really the spirit of all music. Music is the first language —-the voice of the soul expressed through sound in space. (aUI)
(—and I’m a bit of a prankster (mostly just to get uptight people even More uptight until they finally release and loosen up. Live Life and Love others) : FYI my T-shirt says:
“If Karma won’t slap you,
I will.”)

May 1 - TC Hit Squad Open Jam

Some recent appearances of me at the open jam (its "karaoke for Musicians" - we just mix and match players on songs that we may or may not know how to play and jam them out in front of an audience)

Rock and Roll Band - Boston performed by Xenia with TC Hit Squad Open Jam
Cold Gin by KISS

Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas


Iron Maiden - Carol King - King Crimson - The Who - Motorhead - Queen - Stevie Wonder
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Why everyone should play instrumental music together / Nature / Rural Iowa upbringing / Gillian’s Island / Academics / And other things...