Friday, October 26, 2018

...And Yet She Moves

I had a few people ask me about a necklace they saw me wearing the other day. The short answer is, it signifies Endless Commitment to Love and Inquiry, Nature and Harmony with Diversity. - 


The full answer:
In 1990, I finally made a clean break from the stranglehold of Fear and the Authoritarianism of men who rooted their power in the peddling of metaphysics and pseudo-science. I had been coming to this realization since childhood. You see, I was raised in a German Lutheran household, I was confirmed in a Danish Lutheran church which became ELCA in 1988. I myself aspired to become a Lutheran minister which precipitated me earning a double major in Philosophy and Latin & Ancient Greek from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. But much of this was guided my innate curiosity and unceasing desire to inquire, to learn not only the text of the Bible in its oldest recorded languages, but also learn how it came together from multiple cultures through the ages, the origins and development of the myths of Heaven and Hell, then understanding why throughout all of the ages there are so many different ways Christianity has been practiced,, scripture interpreted with thousands of competing sects each claiming to know "truth" whereas the scientific method results in One reliable, testable, measurable truth. I was also trying to overcome what was my own apparent "sinful desire" to be a woman - because I had always known myself to be female.

Through my studies I encountered so many more writings and authors from antiquity through the modern age. Not theologians, sophists, and politicians whose rhetorical aim was to Win their points by any means necessary, but Philosophers and Scientists who sought to continually inquire and develop the tools to pursue an understanding of reality as it actually is. 

I recognized then that Religion is a closed system that works under its own beliefs and rules regardless of the Real workings of the World. And when people try to use Bible quotes and apologetics to convince me. Its not going to work because they are defending a position within a closed system, but they are not inquiring into the nature of reality. 

So, just as the Founders of the United States Constitution understood when they wanted to form a new secular government which cast off the Religious Dictatorships that empowered the oppressive nobility European nations (Divine Right of Kings) I recognized that the history of European Christianity is one marked mostly by fear, authoritarianism, violence, oppression, and discrimination. One that imprisoned, silenced, and killed those who sought the nature of reality.

In the Words of the James Madison, the 4th President of the United States and Father of the Constitution:

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.  Memorial and Remonstrance (1785)
The only thing keeping me Christian was Fear. Fear of Damnation. In elementary Sunday school being told the falsehood that one can only go to Heaven if they believe in Jesus, but those who don't AND even those who never had the opportunity to even hear of Jesus are damned regardless of the Love and Goodness they have lived on earth.

But what if I am wrong? If I reject the divinity of Jesus but then head to the afterlife and turns out God is going to damn me to hell because I didn't obey and believe in the divinity? - It did not take long then for me to realize, that way of thinking is not Faith at all. It is desperation. And any God who would damn me because of that is a tyrant, unworthy of worship, and unfit to be Lord of the Universe.

It was with this realization, that Love and Goodness are not in any way dependent upon Christianity or any religion for that matter, that I began to open my mind and heart to all; that honest inquiry with the tools of Philosophy and Science are obligations; that nothing is too sacred to be questioned.

When Krista was killed last year, the Sandstrom-McGuire's received an immense outpouring of support. I would write about my reflections of her, and our lives. I was writing from my heart and many people commented positively on my words of Love.
What Krista and I never really announced was that it was our lack of belief in Christian Metaphysics, divinity of Jesus etc. was something that did draw us together. She remembers as an anthropologist being disgusted by missionaries and business entrepreneurs on how little regard and awareness they had of other cultures, yet they felt compelled to "save these people." from their cultural practices which worked very well on their own. 

For those of you who attended our wedding, you may have noticed our purposeful location, Outdoors in Nature and we did not invite God to the wedding, nor were either of us going to "Serve and Obey" each other. So we wrote our own ceremony to reflect our beliefs. In 2016, having spent 23 years of our then 46 year old lives married, we tattooed our Sandstrom-McGuire Celtic Love knot over our hearts - a Re-commitment to each other, and our shared values. In many of my pictures since I came out, I wear a simple necklace with a leather cord and silver celtic knot. This necklace is one I got for Krista back in the 1990s. It isn't fancy but I was never one for distracting from Love with fancy jewelry. And this piece is far more important to me than any price I could put on it. 

The necklace in my recent photos: The Braided Wreath encircling the Pentagram is one I purchased in 1992. Yes it does have Reclaiming / Neo-Pagan connotations. For me, an agnostic/Atheist, Religion is Art / Music is Religion. It is a mood, a genre. Now, most Christians I know are indeed full of Love and don't care if I believe or not. There are some however who fell away from my family after I announced that I have always been female. Apparently their version of Christianity holds disrespect and ignorance as a basic tenet of faith.

The reality is that in this world there are many self-proclaimed Christians who are adherents to hate, exclusion, discrimination and reject reality, expert knowledge in favor of rhetorical tricks and junk science to enforce their beliefs as Government Policy. These are the Christian organizations like Alliance Defending Freedom, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, Heritage Foundation, American College of Pediatricians, and all of them have unprecedented influence in all branches of our current Federal Government. For Decades they have been steadily pushing hate, division and distrust- tearing down the sources of expert knowledge: public education, academic history and scientific research and replacing it with simplified pro-puritanical Christian linear histories glorifying Pilgrims and Manifest Destiny to pseudo-science like Race Science, Intelligent Design, anti-climate change efforts, and now an uninformed policy on Gender and Sexuality. - They cannot combat Truth so they rely on propaganda and legal rhetoric to diminish it. 

These are the same types of people who through the ages burned innocence heretics, waged wars over heathens, condemned Galileo, tried "witches", endorsed segregation, exterminated Jews. Some self proclaimed Christians would rather defend their gun rights over their obligations to Love.
On the extreme still, there are many who believe in Armageddon as described in Biblical Prophecies. And there are people who take their metaphysical belief and try to enforce it upon those of us who prefer to find solutions through Love, Harmony, and awareness of reality over their metaphysics. 
So, while the 2,000 year history of Christianity especially in the current age has been hateful toward me for no reason other than enforcement of groundless metaphyiscs of some human's interpretation of scripture,

So while we live in a society where Christianity has been so overtly privileged, that politicians CAN make it a point to say they go to church, that our supposedly secular government has as national Holidays Easter and Christmas; that "In God We Trust" is placed on the money - I find it really hard to believe that Christians have been persecuted in the United States. 

Therefore I wear the symbol which expresses Love, Understanding and Nature - a Commitment to Harmony.

E pur si muove
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Hunter's Moon of Como Lake - October 24, 2018


Junk science couldn't erase Galileo
and It Won't Erase Me
Xenia Sandstrom-McGuire

Scientists see a problem with Trump plan on defining sex: Biology.

The current administration and GOP at large uses junk science to deny climate change, push Intelligent Design, and most recently Gender and Sexuality, makes me wonder if the clarification of what science actually is in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 400 F. Supp. 2d 707 (M.D. Pa. 2005) can be applied to strike down the Alliance Defending Freedom / Focus on the Family's / Heritage Foundation, American College of Pediatricians and other religious based anti-LGBTQ ideology which is guides all of the administrations discriminatory actions.
From the ruling:
"After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980s; and (3) ID's negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. … It is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research. Expert testimony reveals that since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena. (page 64) [for "contrived dualism", see false dilemma.]
[T]he one textbook [Pandas] to which the Dover ID Policy directs students contains outdated concepts and flawed science, as recognized by even the defense experts in this case. (pages 86–87)
ID's backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID. (page 89)
Accordingly, we find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in violation of the Establishment Clause. (page 132)

Friday, October 12, 2018

National Coming Out Day

October 11, 2018 is National Coming Out Day. While I had been out to a few for 30 years, I have only been out fully to the World since Friday, December 1st, 2017 at 18:00 CST. (original statement)
Xenia, Warrior Bassist
So to recap:

Name: Xenia (sounds like KSEN-ya - rhymes with Kenya) which is Ancient Greek for "Hospitality." (and a key theme of the Odyssey)

Age: 48 years old

Sex /Gender: Female (spiritually, medically, and legally recognized as such) - even for the 47 years of my life in the closet I never ever thought of myself as a man - I just don’t get how men think / react because my brain has always been biologically female.)

Most Significant Life Event: I was Widowed on June 1st, 2017 when my wife and best friend for 26 years was suddenly killed by a drunk driver in downtown Minneapolis. I just commemorated what would have been our 25th wedding anniversary (October 2, 1993) - Now I am raising our two young teenage kids. The hardest thing I have ever had to do in my entire life is tell my kids that their mother was killed. 

Other Events: I have been raped and sexually assaulted but never reported. A) I wouldn’t be believed, b) it is humiliating to have to open up C) my assaulters seem like such upstanding men they would deny and their supporters would think that I was just trying to ruin their reputation D) I would rather not relive those experience and turn my life and kids lives upside down. - for what in the end would result in no justice for me.

Spiritual / Religious affiliation: Empathy and Inquiry are the necessary components to ethics and morality. Love is not dependent upon religion. While I was raised ELCA Lutheran I have been Atheist/Agnostic for most of my life. I do not fear damnation and I submit to no one. I distrust the motivations of those who say they do good merely because their religious tenets command it. I am guarded against those who invoke Divine Right and Fear to serve their god's will over the freewill of others in order to influence and execute laws  This unchecked presupposition that all one needs say is, "I'm a Christian, therefore I'm a good person" has been an ongoing critique not just of the competing sects of Christianity, but of all religions since the time of Socrates. It is echoed by the Founders of the United States when they drafted our Secular U.S. Constitution.  In 1785 James Madison (Father of the Constitution and 4th President of the United States) remarked in his 15 point essay Memorial and Remonstrance which advocates for the necessity of separation of Church and State: "During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."  
In 2018, we are still trying to wrest our Secular Government from the clutches of those who forsake empathy and love and use religion to enforce bigotry. This Proverb from Classical Antiquity is as true today as it was in the founding of the United States as it was in the time of Socrates:
"Religion is deemed true by the common people, false by the wise, and by the rulers as useful." 

Politics: I ignore memes, sound bites, short political ads (especially negative) and a.m. talk radio - my politics and life decisions is based upon peer reviewed and expertise of honest inquiry and evaluation of data and evidence. For this reason, climate change has always been my primary voting issue because without farmers and clean water we won’t last long. Nature exists to be nature, it is not intended for human enjoyment and exploitation. As human beings dedicated to learning we want to understand the mechanisms of Nature which enable existence of all things living and unliving and what we can do / not do to ensure we don't fck things up.

Reverence: Until they create a human who requires no food nor water nor the necessary elimination of waste products after consumption, every human being is equal and deserving of love and empathy. When other humans seize power and stand in the way over other human rights, we call them on it.
I do revere expertise in the peer reviewed interpretation of objectively verifiable evidence. Therefore the interpretations of climate scientists are revered in the field of climate science. The understanding of biologists are revered in the reality of Evolution; the evidence of medical and cognitive professionals in the field of sexuality and gender are revered above politicians. Civil Engineers are revered in safe building codes, professional plumbers and electricians are revered over the amateur unlearned home owner....etc. 

In conclusion: 
I am the embodiment of rural American values of one born and raised in northeastern Iowa: 

A 48-year old Metalhead bassist / Classical musician / Medieval & Ancient Greek scholar, Blackbelt Martial Artist, well-traveled solo adventurer who loves tent camping in all 4 northern climate seasons, rides horses, loves animals, Environmentalist, bicyclist, house building-do-it-her-selfer, widowed parent of two who had a favorite high school teacher in the late Lois West (Senator Chuck Grassley's sister---who would probably kick his ass were she alive today) who pushed this woman to seize the moment and embrace life.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Morning Music Moods

Last Wednesday,September 12, 2018 the lead guitarist in my KISS tribute band posted a musical teaser of him playing an excerpt of one of our covers for our upcoming show at Minnesota Music Cafe in St. Paul, Minnesota. It looked like such a fun and easy enough thing to do: Set the video in selfie mode then play a brief excerpt - I felt obliged to respond, playing and singing my part from the same section of the song.
Xenia with her homemade Oxymoronic Fretless Precision Frankenstein-Bass
Well, since then I became inspired to post my own excerpts of some of my favorite bassists- the ones who inspired me when I was first learning the instrument. So Here I have collected all of my video excerpts in one place. [* When looking at the dates of my musical excerpts, please keep in mind I started playing bass in October 1983,
My 8th grade band director gave me Carol Kaye's How to Play Electric Bass and Jaco Pastorius Invitation and say, "Learn this!" It would be another 22 years before YouTube was launched, and MTV never showed bands we liked, so like many Gen X self taught bassists from northeastern Iowa, we had to learn on our own swapping bootleg mix tapes,singing bass lines along to sections of LPs over and over and over and over again, or learning riffs from a friend of a friend whose cousin taught him how to kinda play it. I was also fortunate that I could read music even though not much existed in the way of easily available transcriptions. But since I heard Randy Rhoads was studying classical, I started looking through my Dad's organ books to play Bach and fine tuned my bass playing by using Classical guitar technique.
So this is the music, the groove that was already in my blood. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) was the number one song in the US they day I was born. 
In fact you might consider this project an ethnography of a Generation X trans woman from rural Iowa. ]

September 2018
9/12/18 - Gene Simmons (KISS) - Shout it Out Loud (1976)
9/13/18 - John Entwistle (The Who) - Heaven and Hell (1970)
9/14/18 - Jack Bruce (Cream) - White Room (1968)
9/15/18 - John Deacon (Queen) - Bicycle Race (1978)
9/16/18 - Geddy Lee (Rush) - By-Tor and the Snowdog (1975)
9/17/18 - Paul McCartney (The Beatles) - Lovely Rita (1967)
9/18/18 - John Wetton (King Crimson) - The Great Deceiver (1974)
* 9/18/18 (Tuesday Two-fer) - Geddy Lee (Rush) - that cool bass riff in La Villa Strangiato (1978)
9/19/18 - Nathan Watts (Stevie Wonder) - I Wish (1976)
9/20/18 - Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) - Invaders (1982)
* 9/21/18 - Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) - Mother Goose (1971) - playing acoustic guitar
* 9/22/18 - Paul McCartney (The Beatles / Harrison) - Something (1969) - recorded October 2017
* 9/23/18 - Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) - Into White (1970) - playing acoustic recorded January 2018
9/24/18 - JS Bach, Coffee Cantata BWV 21, - Madchen, die von harten Sinnen (1735?)
* 9/25/18 - Xenia Sandstrom-McGuire - The Warrior (1991) - recorded March 2018
9/26/18 - Charles Larkey (Carole King) - I Feel the Earth Move (1971)
9/27/18 - Fran Sheehan (Boston) - Foreplay (1976)
9/28/18 - Lemmy (Motorhead) - Ace of Spades (1980) - doing my all Female Motorhead tribute.
* 9/29/18 - George Harrison (The Beatles / Harrison) Long Long Long (1968) - recorded Jan. 2018
9/30/18 - JS Bach - Cello Suite No. 1 in G - Allemande (excerpt)

October 2018
10/1/18 - Xenia Sandstrom-McGuire (Solar Plexus) - Song #2 (1990)

** 10/2/18 - Day Trip to Decorah, Iowa - Dunning's Spring - Commemorating my 25th Wedding Anniversary to Krista Lynn Sandstrom (February 19, 1970 - June 1, 2017)

10/3/18 - Evening Meditations on Bach and not giving a fk
10/4/18 - JS Bach - Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in D minor (actually me just goofing of on 6 string)
10/5/18 - Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) Jack the Stripper / Faeries Wear Boots (1970)
10/6/18 - Come Fly With Me - Live with Shoop! at the Stillwater Art Festival
10/7/18 - Jimmy Bain (DIO) We Rock (1984) - Live with Black Rainbow
10/8/18 - Craig M. Gruber (Rainbow) Man on the Silver Mountain (1975) - Live with Black Rainbow
10/9/18 - Paul McCartney (The Beatles) I Want You (1969) - recorded October 2010

*10/12/18 - Stylized Reading of an obscure Bible verse Ezekiel 23:20
10/16/18 - John Dowland - If My Complaints (1597) - experimenting with lute tuning
10/18/18 - Acoustic jam (Iron Maiden) Wasted Years (1986) - just me jamming..
* 10/18/18 - My French Student Encounter in 1990 - Response from my 10/12/18 reading
10/19/18 - Just jamming on my 1960s Kay Upright Bass -

10/20/18 - Xenia - Morticia - Live on Blast Beats and Bicycles pod cast (we start at 49:40)
10/22/18 - Xenia - Black Rainbow mix - A live mix of Black Rainbow at the Dog House.
10/22/18 - Xenia - Visibly Jamming some Sabbath with my Black Ripper and Rainbow Pussy hat.
10/28/18 - Xenia (Morticia) Bela Lugosi's Dead - from our Live show at the Turf Club
10/28/18 - Xenia (Morticia) Deadlier than the Male - from our Live show at the Turf Club

November 2018
11/04/18 - Xenia - Baby You Dig  - practice with my 11 piece vocal jazz band - Shoop!
11/08/18 - Ace Frehley (KISS) Getaway (1975) - yes all the cool bass lines were played by Ace.
 -- 11/08/18 - Getaway - Full band practice with KISSin Time
Yes, I am a native Iowan.  You can tell by my shirt, we are afterall known as the Great Potato State ;) 

Music sounds better on vinyl because the Music was better ;)
Xenia circa 1981/2
"Femmy"from the All Female Motorhead Tribute

Monday, August 27, 2018

Discovery and Revelation

Nearly 15th months have passed since she was killed, 14 months since I began HRT, and nearly 9 months since I revealed to the world who I have always really been. Now it has only been 9 days since I emerged with what I know in myself to be a renewed spirit, and really only a few days since I admitted to myself yet another facet of who I am. 
A glade in Reservoir Woods in Roseville, Minnesota
None of this would ever have happened had I not been determined to cast off Fear. Fear of rejection, of perceived blasphemy which is really a fear of disturbing others comfortable norms and memories, and fear of breaking hearts. Even more difficult was that as I do not consider myself on the whole a person who fears, I found myself protecting the fears of others instead of encouraging them to confront, overcome them. By protecting and enabling fears I had done a grave disservice.

In all cases, it is Fear which prevents knowledge, discovery, inquiry, Love and Growth. In myself, fear inhibited my feeling genuine emotion. Every reaction I ever experienced was filtered. In every human interaction I ever had this filter prevented me from engaging in meaningful conversation with everyone. So long as I remained closeted I could never grow. And had it not been for the encouragement of certain messengers of self-Love early in my coming out, and particularly the one who encouraged me to focus decluttering, letting go of material and emotional waste, to direct my attention to finally focus on loving myself so that I can bring out the independent woman I am, I would still be gripped with fear-- placating the cis-het-christian privileged majority view. I never would have allowed myself to simply learn to discover what I really like, what I have discovered about myself.

One thing I began to notice back in April, I was beginning to discern meaning in words.. I have always regretted my inability to hear lyric whether sung, rapped, or spoken. For the first time I was moved by poetry - so much so that I started to tear up, and desired an empathetic touch. 

9 days ago, I was resolved to engage in face-to-face conversation, not necessarily with people who have been and remain my confidants, but with those friends and acquaintances whom I have always perceived as genuine good spirits. It began when I got dressed up and went to Mpls to hear some solo artist friends. I was pretty certain I was going to be alone at a table taking in the music - which was great. Then another musician friend came in and he sat with me, and while I've known him for over 20 years, this was actually the first time since I have known him that I felt I could just converse without the filtering fear.
Caught alone with the Doritos!

From this experience, I went to other public gatherings, speaking with others, and then I had a few lunch hour / coffees with those I had kinda known for over 20 years (some since college) and most recently a dinner (okay the dinner was with one of my confidants and her husband). With every conversation these friends remarked on how they felt they were meeting me for the first time. That before I came out, there was a guarded sense between us. It is no longer there.I am grateful and hopeful for growth in these renewed friendships.

I am still on my soul journey and anticipate more breakthroughs, milestones. But what I can say confidently right now is that I know why I remained closeted for so long, but had I known what living is really like, that the world is full of myriad tints and colors of emotion, I would never have tried so hard to pretend to be a man... I would never have subjected myself to the horror, that is "conversion therapy" - a discredited practice advocated by the current GOP candidate for Minnesota Attorney General. This practice is indeed torture inflicted on the vulnerable to weaken their self-worth to the point of committing suicide -- and making them compliant to fear of a privileged pious class of modern day pharisees. 

Knowing what I know now, I understand why women like me want to stay closeted, but the world is so much better, relationships are more meaningful when you allow yourself to live. 
As for me, I am on continuing on my soul journey.

Love, Authenticity, and Strength
Late July Selfie in Iowa City

Monday, June 18, 2018

Why I Love Being an Electric Bassist

I have been playing Electric Bass since October 1983 nearly 35 years, and there are a lot of jokes about bass players being, "failed guitarists" - or the weakest and therefore most expendable member of the band while the lead guitarist and drummer get all of the attention.

In reality, The Bass RUNS the band, whether the other band members / audience know it or not. Popular music forms we take for granted originate with the invention of Opera through the influence of theory and practice the 16th Century lutenist & Experimental scientist, Vincenzo Galilei (Galileo's dad). The essential structure of this form (monody) has 2 voices at work, The Melody and the Bass. -- everything, all other instruments grow from there.

We should all have a good idea about the melody, that’s the part which carries the lyrics - but let me talk more about what the bass does - as musicians understand the bass.

The Bass establishes the structure and groove of the music. It is both:
the PRIMARY RHYTHM instrument -- setting tempo, meter articulation with a solid prep-beats and down beats
the PRIMARY HARMONY instrument -- harmony is built from the bottom up (i.e. a root position C major chord is named after the Bass pitch "C". Furthermore All of the instruments tune to the bass.
The Bass thus provides the single focal point in which all instruments in an ensemble lock in. It is the conductor.
[e.g. * When I play in orchestras, I keep one eye on the conductor as I represent the sonic representation of their baton. When I am on stage, I keep an ear on everyone. The drummer locks in with me and we create a pocket so that other instruments don't get lost. We keep the groove going steady on because that groove subliminally and overtly overpowers anything the higher pitched instruments are doing. Therefore they need to listen to the bass if they are off, cause I WILL NOT BUDGE as the groove is far too important. -- I will only change in a desperate situation such as if its clear they higher pitched instruments are totally lost ---or just don't get it (or are stubborn) ** A bass in the hands of a clumsy performer, the sonic space in the venue gets easily cluttered and the whole band suffers as if the sound engineer pressed the "suck" button.]
Functional Harmony is built upon the Bass. The Bass directs the harmony. - If the guitarist, keyboardist, horns and vocalists are outlining a C major chord with the pitches C-E-G; The bass can change the character. Making it strong and stable by playing a C; propel it forward by playing an E; or destabilize it by playing a G 
The Bass- can change the meaning entirely by playing, for instance and A - which changes the harmony into an A minor 7. -- And this is just the start… 
I take my responsibility as Bassist very seriously. For I am endowed with the awesome power of directing tempo, rhythm, meter, harmony , structure and Groove.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Authenticity, Love, and Strength

Authenticity, Love, and Strength goes a long way.

I am not going to worry about those who call me a "confused man" or an "unfit parent" who endangers children blah blah blah (I don't share a lot of this crap publicly-- but I do get it from time to time) -- or like that recent video making the rounds yesterday of a California Republican candidate who filmed herself following a woman who is transgender into the restroom and harassed her. Or the propaganda from groups like the Minnesota Family Council, Alliance Defending Freedom, Focus on the Family or those who call themselves TERFs (Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists)-- Because it is clear to everyone with a heart who acts with empathy that no one involved with those groups are interested in Truth, Authenticity, Love. All they really want is an excuse to enforce their own bigotry - that's what it comes down to. When schools bring in field Experts for people to learn the real truth of what it is to be transgender, and the Minneosta Family Council will ignore that opportunity for education. Instead they will counter and bring in a Lawyer to help them "defend their religious freedom" / or they will find that one person who claims they were "formerly trans" but de-transitioned with the help of their interpretation of Gods plan. --- In reality it is clear none of them are interested in learning Truth or promoting Love, or acting for the good of community. Their actions are why Jesus was so pissed off at the Pharisees who claimed piety to Law over Love; or Socrates with the Sophists and the Athenian Elites - so caught up in defense of their ignorance and bigotry they could not pursue Truth.

When it comes to Truth, we trust the objective peer-reviewed research of professional sciences. Those who spend their entire careers in rigorous specialized study of medicine and psychiatry.  And they are the ones who confirm that I am indeed female. So the opinions espoused by those above mentioned groups (MFC, ADF, FoF, TERFs) and other like minded individuals, unqualified. They are empty of any substantive understanding of biology. For they haven't even begun to scratch the surface of understanding.  I know that they provoke feelings of anger in me through their emotionally charged insistence that I am a confused man, but in the end, it does my soul no good to respond in anger. 
ANYWAY, I wanted to talk about something else today.  On those days I feel particularly ugly and dysphoric because I developed male secondary sex characteristics - enduring the alienation, isolation, and unnatural process of "male puberty" when all of the other girls were experiencing female puberty. [*experiencing what its like to be that girl exposed to boys in locker rooms that seems to be the crux of the anti-trans bathroom bills. Where was the Minnesota Family Council defending me from this horror?!? - again its because they lack Love they cannot see Truth.]

Xenia without make-up
I have decided to combat those negative feelings by taking them head-on -- I post videos and pictures of me - not just of those which I feel good about, but like the one the other day of me jamming for the fk of it on bass. I put on make-up to try and alleviate those male looking features and ended up feeling even more ugly - So I thought to myself dammit, I can either sulk and feel dejected or I can simply go out in public.

This is my nature, It is how I functioned and continue to function in the aftermath of Krista's death. Anyone who has been in conversation with me when I bring her up, has experienced me having to pause, tear up and just start to cry before I can regain composure and continue. But that is what I do.

I have the harsh blizzard wind stinging my body, but I'll be damned if I let it destroy my soul and zap my confidence and my full human experience. 

Last week when I went in for a professional bra fitting, I was at first not wanting to go alone. I had a very good and empathetic cisgender friend offer to make the call and come with me. I was grateful, but I ultimately decided, this is something I must do for myself. So I made the call, asked the questions, set up my appointment and went down for my fitting. Even then, I had some dysphoria creep in, but the woman who was helping me, really set me at ease. She only saw me as a woman.

What those who lack empathy will never get, never be able to see, is that despite what they impose, and despite the stress I have already experienced every second of every day of my life feeling unnatural and uncomfortable in a body which was infected by male secondary sex characteristics.
Is that I am and have always been female. I am not a traitor to the male gender, nor trying to be a non-conformist and reject 'male' social roles. -- I have always had a female brain, a female soul: confident and fearless. Now with the proper hormones fueling me, I am finally at home, at ease and natural - no need for the ineffective anti-depressants - Ah this is what cisgender people have always known! this is a great feeling - so why do so many cis-gendered citizens try so hard to prevent me from sharing in feeling natural - from having the proper hormones from feeding the starved areas of my brain and body?] 
It is a very powerful experience and indicator of a good soul full of Love when people see me for who I am. 
- The most powerful words of Love expressed to me, occurred when I was feeling particularly bad about my appearance, frustrated I started to choke up...she saw me for me, held me and with an empathetic voice which communicated her understanding said:

"Oh Sweet, Darling Girl"

She held me and cried with me.
It is with this light, with my own self-knowledge, competency, reflection that I can easily disregard the actions of the current administration, organizations like the Minnesota Family Council - Because they do not act in Love, Definitely no empathy, no gumption to Inquire for Truth or even awareness that they themselves lack the ability understand how much a slave they have become to dogma. - Their words cannot hurt me. But while it is easy for me to shake my head in disbelief and laugh at them for their idiocy and flimsy attempts at theology, they really do much damage to our neighborhoods and our country in promoting lies fueled by bigotry. - And in this case turn a blind eye to women who continue to be murdered, assaulted and raped.

I will only combat their bigotry by remaining a good and active member of my community, my children's lives, my own volunteering at schools and when bus loads of elementary aged school children arrive in my neighborhood to visit the Zoo and Conservatory, I will continue to take interest in their education by saying hello with my usual smile and nod.

Most people are decent human beings.I chose to follow that course.


Promoting Love, Strength, and Actual Truth
Living visibly in accord with Nature.
I am and have always been Woman
Mind, Body, and Soul here Aligned
in Truth, Beauty, and Goodness
Our Children, Our Family, Our World
Overcome Ignorance
Femina Sum
This Natural Biology is Truth
I am and have always been Woman

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Cis-Het Normalcy and Closeted Decisions (part 1: 1970-1996)

Since last Friday, I have had some major positive events which encouraged self reflections and revelations about the initial reasons, meanings and resultant actions with regard to the decisions I have made at every point in my life. These revelations would never have been possible had I remained closeted [-for those of you new to the game, I am a woman who is transgender and have lived with Gender Dysphoria my entire life,. The hidden stress and pain of which remained throughout lifetime: treating it with pious religion, stoic buckling down, cognitive behavioral therapy, antidepressants -- none of which worked as I was constantly questioning the why rather than investigating the Truth in reality of nature. My dysphoria only dissipated when I finally made the decision to live openly in my true female gender which I publicly revealed on December 1, 2017. ] This post begins on Friday, April 13 (my lucky number!) when I attended the 14th annual Transgender VoicesFestival hosted by One Voice Mixed Chorus, and enhanced with what became a brief impromptu gathering of four transwomen over 45 at Crooners Lounge this past Thursday night. 

In both of these experiences, as I have been discovering since coming out, is that conversations are free and I am able to include authentic emotions and reactions in my face-to-face interactions. Gone is the constant guarded shell under which I concealed my true self. As a now 48 year old (who first joined the Internet at the age of 26 (as one of 16 million people around the world at that time) and got her first cell phone at 37) I have to say after being surrounded by so many younger trans women, men, and gender non-binary individuals, I came away feeling both excited and proud, but also more than a little envious of the loving support many of them have through the benefit of peer-reviewed resources, knowledgeable healthcare professionals, and open communities that has only been made possible with the advent of the Internet in the mid-late 1990s. 

Some of the hi-lights were singing in a room with about 25-30 other trans and gender-non binary singers. It was a completely cis-gender free space where we could just sing our voice part regardless and not feel uncomfortable. I also attended a choral reading session. This was the first time since the death of my wife, that I sang legit repertoire during a reading session of new music. Quite a bit of overwhelming emotions. 

As I registered, I did not recognize anyone. I mean, I was hopeful I would run into Jane, the artistic director of OVMC. We were in graduate school together, and I nearly came out to her back in Spring 2001 in our Early Music study group, but decided against it. We saw each other once again years later when my children were very young. It wasn't until the very first sessions that we met again, this time seeing me for the woman I have always been. Later in the day we caught up with each other. And then Venus de Mars and I found each other. She had been one of my friends and confidants for the past 20 years, so we hit the morning sessions together. - (Venus founded her band All The Pretty Horses in 1994 and is currently presenting speaking engagements for her up coming book on the Trans Roots of Punk.

Xenia and Venus
Friday, April 13, 2018
Before that reunion, I got myself a coffee and invited myself to a table of about 5 other attendees a mix of cis-het artistic directors, trans and non-binary individuals. All of whom were about 20 years younger than me save one, a trans woman who served in Viet Nam and had come out just a few years earlier. As I took it upon myself to pull everyone out of their isolated cell-phone texts, We made introductions the younger attendees related mostly positive experiences regarding their affirmation. Contrasted to older transwoman who recounted a painful and isolated experience, divorce and rejection from her son after coming out 2 years ago. This is really all too familiar a story from those of us of Gen Xers, Boomers, and older generations. We not only have to contend with our own upbringing where there existed no information regarding our Identities, but also the biased social constructs held by our peers and older generations.

And this is a really important distinction to make. In hindsight for those of us who are older, it is really easy to wallow and get angry with our loved ones and society who were then not supportive, rejected us, ignored us, didn't help us. No one had the language to describe our experience. I myself am naturally inquisitive so rather than just living as the woman I am, I constantly questioned, "Why is it that when I sleep, I always appear in my dreams as a girl…and as I grew older - a woman?", "Why am I attracted to women." "Why, if I have male parts, do I feel removed from them, why am I frustrated that my body, my form isn't developing into a woman? Will I ever get to experience bearing and caring for my own child?" etc.

There was no information out there for me to find, and I was far too scared to ask an adult. So the fact that I had no information to help me, How could anyone who does not have these feelings, thoughts and experiences even find a starting point to help me understand?
The thing about being closeted for so long is the insidious effect it has on creating depression and its unseen impact upon every decision one makes to align with Cisgender-Heterosexual normative societal expectations. Even 4 1/2 months out of the closet, I still found myself being mindful of the cis-het normalcy of others, when I should be focusing on what is right for me. 

Michaela, Jendeen, and Xenia
What I have discovered is that I made many decisions in my life in a state of clinical depression, but I did not recognize I was depressed until very late. Unlike my experience now where I don't really care what people think about my appearance, my attitude then was that Passing was a necessity. I never wanted anyone to know I was assigned male at birth (AMAB), I just wanted to be incognito live, congregate and be free as the woman I am.

When I applied to colleges in 1987, I knew I needed a break from my past, so I began using my given middle name, "Christian" which for a time I shortened to "Chris" because of its gender neutral implications [I began using the traditional abbreviation Xn or X-ian from which I ultimately derived my true name Xenia]. I also remember nearly checking the Female box on my enrollment forms. Ultimately I relented and checked the male box because I didn't want to confuse anyone or cause problems the very first day. I also made the decision to live in Ylvisaker Hall which would ensure that I only had 1 roommate instead of Brandt which even though it was right next to the Music building, I would have to live with 3 other male roommates, and I didn't think I'd be able to handle that stress well at all. [* my senior year I got a single on 3rd Floor Larsen - this helped greatly!]

Then came the decisions surrounding my degree choice. After being awarded a music scholarship from the Iowa Arts Council and having a pretty good music pedigree as both a vocalist and instrumentalist, I had initially intended on getting my double major in Music Composition and Philosophy with a vocal performance emphasis as an operatic lyric baritone. While I did not care for the way my vocal coach was treating my voice, I also had some severe dysphoria regarding the fact that I could never realistically live as a woman and have this baritone voice, and I didn't have the courage to say, can we work on developing me as a countertenor because I didn't want people to think I was gay (this was 1988 after all). So instead of focusing on music I decided to switch to Classical Languages. I am actually glad I got the degree in Classics because I would never have learned them anywhere else.

I also cut my hair short the day after I turned 19 years old-- thinking for a time, okay I am 19 I am just going to buckledown and focus on being a guy.---I cried the very next morning realizing what I had done missing my hair and looking very much like a guy. The very next weekend was the first time I got drunk (in someones room on 5th floor Dieseth on 2 Coors Lights and who knows how much Mad Dog 20/20 -- I will never touch either ever again ;) ). In hindsight I abused alcohol as a means to alleviate the pain of gender dysphoria. And decided I would never ever cut my hair short again.

So I grew long hair under the guise of being a Heavy Metal musician. I didn't care at all for the pop-metal on the radio (Poison, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi, RATT etc), but at least by adopting their appearance I could pass off myself as a metal musician and thereby protect myself from abuse. (At the time there wasn't an understanding of what gay was let alone transgender--assumptions of either would get the shit kicked out of you, ostracism and far worse…). At least this way I could still hang with women, even if they thought I was a guy and they could still find me attractive even if I adopted a feminine appearance. That was pretty important to me because I am in no way attracted to men. I am a lesbian. 

In other circles I would explain my hair as channeling my ancient Celtic Warrior Spirit which I named "Grianeala" or "Solar Swan." (Eala / Ella) for short. What I didn't say was that the warrior spirit I was channeling was based upon Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni who led a revolt against Roman forces in Britain in 60/61 CE after the Romans stole her land, beat her and raped her 2 daughters. I began writing a Heavy Metal opera on her life and struggle as a high school student in 1987---its undergone a number of revisions and I still have yet to finish it--30 years later.

Finally in Spring of 1991 I was living in Nottingham, England and decided that I would return to the states, leave Luther College, get a music degree from UNI and then high tail it out of Iowa, leaving everyone I know family, friends et al. and make a new start in Northern California so that I could affirm my true gender where no one would ever know that I was ever a guy-- I did not want people ever to look at me thinking I was some sort of freak -- for a long time this was a major contributing factor as to why I didn't transition for so long. As you know the story goes, that didn't happen, I returned to the states and ended up in a 26 year long relationship with my beloved late wife

The older I got the less realistic I could imagine my appearance ever passing as female, and friends, relatives and new acquaintances would all build an impression of me as a guy. So long as passing was my focus, the likelihood of me transitioning to affirm my true gender would be impossible.

When I began therapy in the 1990s there weren't any physicians or therapists who understood gender dysphoria. One therapist whom I saw suggested that my dalliance with gender variance was fine for college but now I am an adult and need to grow up and put this behind me. Another one indicated that my need to present as a woman was an obsession and I should find other pursuits that would distract me from it. 

I mean looking back on it there wasn't ANY realistic public information readily available to the reality of the transgender experience. The prevailing thought by many was that this was only about clothes…a mere "hobby" to dress as a woman-- or that it was some sort of "fetish" designed to illicit some kinky misogynistic fantasy. And if in the movies or TV shows you needed a socio-pathic killer, what better scapegoat than a "confused man wearing a dress." Or played for laughs to get a Section 8 so they can leave the Korean War.

Then came the advent of the Internet In my first web enabled computer in 1996...

Saturday, March 10, 2018

How to Speak Trans (Who Defines Me part 2)

In the past 25 or so years, the only times I ever hear the term 'Political Correctness' / 'PC,' is when it is invoked as an epithet by those who identify with a 'right' leaning political persuasion, for the sole purpose of griping about something they view as "touchy-feely" . In fact I don't think I have ever heard a left learning person even bring it up since college (and I graduated college in 1992). PC has meant to me being aware of language use as a means of helping foster communication and understanding; being civil and polite, don't be a jerk and purposefully offend. Apologize if you accidentally offend because you really do want to learn something new, and be gracious to accept the apology when the sincere effort from the offender to learn has been made.

Even then I really detest using the terms right and left / conservative and liberal. These words as so charged with emotional baggage that every serious conversation is rendered pointless because those invoking these terms tend to think of conversations as an adversarial contest with all of the maturity of fans of a junior high football game. 

I avoid those terms (PC, right, left, conservative, liberal) all together. If there is any adversarial position it that between Inquiry and Defense. INQUIRY is the path chosen by those who have an honest desire to understand new things and expand knowledge without worry about how it might overturn what they already believe. Exemplified by Socrates, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Darwin - researchers and Academics 

DEFENSE or Apologetics is the path of those who resist expanding knowledge; constantly work to employ any means necessary (usually by appeals to emotion) to discredit the honest research of Inquirers. Certain key words and phrases ('materialist', 'you must be a true believer', 'science is indoctrination'…) uttered by one indicate that they are a Defender and thus not serious about learning. So don't waste your time with them. 

It is not a simple matter that Defenders tend to be Right leaning and Inquirers tend to be Left, nor is it true that people are consistently Inquirers or Defenders. For everyone has these moments. Reality isn't binary, there is a full analog spectrum, and these instances of one side or another are merely samplings to indicate generalities. 

As a transgender woman and feminist, It has been my lifetime of experience which have demonstrated to me that my existence triggers automatic defensive posturing from many on both the right and the left. While many do this unintentionally, Language use often reveals the unconscious biases cis-gender (those who aren't transgender, i.e. most people) have. And while they may honestly believe they are simply inquiring, the meanings expressed in their language often comes across as callous, uncaring, with no real desire to understand the experiences of a Transgender person. [* this is very similar to the experience my wife and I had when in the early 90s we went vegetarian. Most people didn't ask why we were vegetarian, instead they began conversations defending their position as carnivores.

For example, one may innocently say something but completely miss the context in which it has been received then wonder why the transwoman flips out and goes on the attack. Of course when this happens, it never looks good for the transwoman unless in the view of cisgender people. For other transwomen, we share her experience and know what was said that demonstrated a lack of respect. 

I usually have no problem when people who do want to know do slip up in language, because yeah, I imagine for cisgender people, they have no concept of gender dysphoria (which is what I lived with for 47 years). But for other who purposefully show disrespect through language (i.e. Defenders like religious zealots and TERFs) it is just one more of their tools for abuse and defining our experience and our bodies. 

So as a public interest, I am presenting a glossary of phrases which I have heard over my lifetime and want to provide a "definition" (as well as the emotionally charged snarky responses I'd love to say, but don't) as to the message which is actually communicated. 

1) CISGENDER WOMAN - You don't have the experiences of what its like to be a real woman, growing up as a woman, (harassment, abuse, rape, fluctuating hormones, menstruation, childbirth,) 

TRANSGENDER WOMAN- This is really presumptuous. First the ciswoman is communicating that she does not respect transwomen as women, and regardless of what she might say, she still thinks of them as men. It is an indication that you cannot step outside of your own experience and understand that. With the exception of menstruation and childbirth which many cisgender women also have never experienced, all of the other issues: harassment, abuse, rape and hormones are experiences shared by transwomen.  Just know that transwomen experience violence at a much higher rate percentage wise than cisgender women   I should not have to disclose specific and multiple examples of my very own #Me Too subjection to these 3 forms of violence. 
In a 2009 report, 50 percent of people who have died as a result of hate violence toward the LGBTQ community were transgender. Seventeen percent of all victims of hate crime violence toward LGBTQ people are transgender, and 11 percent are transgender women.And fatal violence is not the only sort of violence that transgender people face either. One in two transgender people report being raped at some point in their lives, and some reports have even estimated that 66 percent of transgender individuals will face sexual assault during their lifetime. This suggests that the majority of transgender individuals are rape survivors—and rape, as you may recall, is an important matter of discussion for feminism...
The ciswoman could have simply inquired of the transwoman, "Would you mind sharing with me your experiences as a woman?"

2) CISGENDER WOMAN - Why do you want to be a woman?

TRANSGENDER WOMAN - Why do you? It isn't a question of why. I have always known I am a woman. I imagine ciswomen have always known they are women.  Could it be that because for a variety of reasons I lived for 47 years closeted, and pretending to be a guy, that they think of me as a guy and that I must have experienced and thought of things from the vantage point of a guy, and I see something of an escape?

3) CISGENDER WOMAN - Transwomen just want to fool men into having sex with them. So they dress as women and wear make-up 

TRANSGENDER WOMAN - So then why do other women dress as women and wear make-up? According to the Cis-woman's assertion, wearing make-up must mean that all women want to disguise themselves so they can fool men and have sex with them. Couldn't it be that some of us chose to wear make-up and dress as women because we want to, that it helps us feel good about ourselves? There is more to being a woman that clothing, accessories and make-up.
But do you know what kind of violence and ostracism transwomen face when they are confident in themselves and go out in public? Then we get blamed for the unwanted attention, harassment and violence because of the way we chose to dress? We are not responsible for other behavior or other people, and we should not have to hide and deny reality in order to have relative safety in public. 

4) CISGENDER WOMAN - Transwomen are mocking the experiences of Real women. They are just guys who want to play dress up. 

TRANSGENDER WOMAN - While there may be some guys, for instance drag performers, who like to play dress up. I am a woman. I dress how I want. Most days I wear something practical like jeans and a t-shirt, and I don't usually wear make-up. When going out however, I do like to dress nicely. I am also really self conscious about my appearance, because I know to most people that I look like a guy, and talk like a guy. And I myself having lived 47 years with gender dysphoria still get those moments of stress about my appearance when it looks so "male." It really sucks and has been a lifetime of disturbance, stress, anxiety, depression 
This is another example of cisgender women thinking of transwomen as guys. That "guys" have a shallow  / superficial idea of what being a woman is (such as wearing stereotypical female clothing is all we think being a woman is.) Heck no! I am a woman. I may have pretended to be a guy for 47 years, but I don't actually know what its like to be a guy -- I only know how to be me. I am confident and strong, and those are human virtues not gendered traits. 

5) CISGENDER WOMAN - Locker-rooms and Restrooms should be only for Women born with a vagina. My daughter would be uncomfortable, if not traumatized if she shared a locker room with a transgirl who had a penis. 

TRANSGENDER WOMAN - You think your daughter might be traumatized? Try being the girl who has to deal with the trauma of having that appendage growing from her own body and then thrust into a dangerous environment with boys who also have appendages who engage in lewd and violent acts and have their own callous and sexist language and ways of thinking. In short, while a transgirl / transwoman might have a penis, they aren't boys / men. 

6) CISGENDER WOMAN - Because so many transgender people have been coming out in recent years. Its just another PC fad that’s being shoved down our throats. 

TRANSGENDER WOMAN - There are just as many transgender people there have always been. Its just that we have decided it relatively safe to reveal ourselves, liberated from fear. Remember the people who have been forced / oppressed are transgender women and men. We are the ones who have been forced not to reveal ourselves because cisgender people usually dealt with transwomen by killing us, finding some excuse to have us institutionalized, lobotomized, ripped from our families and other such horrors. And now we still get killed and people in power do what they can to obstruct our lives rather than learn about us. 

7) CISGENDER WOMAN - Biology / DNA shows that one is born either male or female. Therefore there is no such thing a transwoman. 

TRANSGENDER WOMAN - Vague recollections from your high school biology class does not translate into expertise in biology. Experts know that humans are much more varied than the simplified biology you were taught. Researchers not just in biology but also in cognitive science understand the rare variety yet equally valid humans transwomen are. 

8) CISGENDER WOMAN - Well if it’s a brain difference, then transwomen are nuts and need to have their brains fixed. 

TRANSGENDER WOMAN - Jumping from 'brain difference' to 'nuts' is a huge leap. Brain difference merely shows that there is a difference - there is no indication that transwomen are nuts except for your own judgment that there must be something wrong with transwomen. Because their bodies don't match their brains. Believe me, I have gone through cognitive behavior therapy and tried all sorts of things, medications, so that I could live pretending to be cisgender. It sucks and causes a hell of a lot more stress than being truthful, confident, and out. 

9) CISGENDER MAN - I grew up not feeling comfortable around men and preferred to hang out around women,  but I always knew I am a man. 

TRANSGENDER WOMAN - Then you are a cisgender man. Your aren't a transgender woman. We might share these experiences, but it suggests to me that you might be trying to find a "cause" for me being transgender, that you can relate to. In my case there is no cause, I just have always known I am a woman. 

10) CISGENDER MAN - When I was a boy, I liked playing dress up  / make-up and playing with dolls. I didn't really care for sports, trucks and tools. But I always knew I was a boy.

TRANSGENDER WOMAN - Then you are a cisgender man. You aren't a woman. There is nothing inherently female about dresses or dolls. Thats just a custom of our western society that associates those things with women and girls. For the same reason, liking tools, trucks, and sports isn't a male thing. Knowing oneself is the key here. You know yourself to be male. Take you out of this society and raise you in another society, you will still know yourself to be male.  I know I am female and at its core it has nothing to do with whether I like dolls or trucks.

11) CISGENDER MAN - Can't you stay closeted until your kids are grown? Don't you think you might be traumatizing them by switching genders.

TRANSGENDER WOMAN - This too is presumptuous in that they seem to have an idea about what our family life is like. Furthermore how is me being out and open and honest with my children going to negatively impact them?  The truth is, I still like all of the things and do all of the same activities with my kids I do as a myself as I did when I was pretending to be a guy. And my love for them remains true. So what kind of benefit will my kids get from me lying to them?

There are many more questions and statements along these lines. I am certain someone will still find more and present them to me because they might have something they think will allow them to continue to think of me as a man. Just remember, a person cannot learn anything new who is always defending their position. 

Finally when a transwoman needs to vent about the abuse and violence she faces from zealots and TERFs, don't immediately discount her venting by appealing to the humanity of TERFs. The message communicated is an extreme lack of respect and empathy for the violent reality transwomen face, and it is really hard to find humanity in ones abuser. So the time is not to forgive the abuser. 

The message is akin to one who has been abused by neo-Nazis, having neo-Nazis build a database on your friends with comments about doing violence against, then having your friends killed. And while one is venting about the evils of neo-Nazis, to come back and say "Nazis are people too!" 

That is all. 

With much Love, 

previous post: Who Defines My Experience

Seek to Understand ~ Assume Positive Intent
(K.L.S. 1970-2017)