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Stories of Transitioning Journeys

My Story: The Lifelong Charade [ submitted by Charlize ]My Story: The Lifelong Charade [ submitted by Charlize ]
For nearly a half century, I've hidden who I knew myself to be and portrayed the person family, friends, employers and society in general, expected me to be. From about the age of 13 or 14, I knew something was different. Back then, the term "Transgender" wasn't yet created but I knew I had very strong feminine feelings inside. In the 1960's, it was confusing to see how life as a young boy was portrayed in advertising, television and in every day life knowing it conflicted with how I felt. I also knew it would be dangerous to mention my feelings to anyone. I'd likely be subjected to unpleasant psychiatric appointments and possibly even institutionalized. I was also adopted and even feared my parents might want to "unadopt" me. So, out of self preservation, I did the only thing I knew to do. I hid it. I buried those feelings and went about living the stereotypical male life. While my first sexual experience was with another teen boy, I dated girls throughout high school and college, married had kids, divorced, married again and had my third child, during these 50 years. However, burying decades old feelings became more difficult and the urge to express myself, overwhelming. I began to take advantage of opportunities to privately be myself. It was such a relief to do so but as quickly as I did, it was back in the closet until the next opportunity. This only fanned the flames and in the past 4-5 years, I began a slow, gradual and selective "coming out" process that is still in place today. The circle of supportive friends continues to grow and I am out more publicly in safe spaces but I am still very much in the closet, living, at least for the moment, an exhausting dual existence. I am a Transgender WOMAN! I am gradually coming out but at my own speed and on my own terms. I have come out to my wife and she and I are now trying to deal with this by seeing separate, understanding and supportive therapists; mine to help me through my transition and hers to help her come to terms with having a Transgender spouse and is in the process of determining if that is something she can even accept. However, my other family members, including three children don't know. I love them and they are my world but I am so afraid of losing them forever. This is the real life fear that I live today. Transition is a work in progress for me. Any and all prayers are welcome as I navigate these choppy waters. I long for the day my exterior finally catches up.
Red Cross Volunteer's Soldier of the Year [ submitted by KKHolmes ]Red Cross Volunteer's Soldier of the Year [ submitted by KKHolmes ]
Red Cross Blog Soldier of the Year By Kelly Norton, Volunteer Contributor Who: Karen Holmes What: The State Guard Association of the United States (SGUAS) recently named Karen Holmes, a volunteer member of the Maryland State Defense Force and volunteer for the American Red Cross in the National Capital Region, as "Soldier of the Year." This impressive honor is given to a SGUAS member who has performed commendable service. When: The award ceremony was held as part of the Defense Support of Civilian Authorities (DSCA) National Symposium & Expo on October 19th. Where: Charleston, South Carolina Why: Karen has been a volunteer member of the Maryland Defense Force since 2011, working in support of the Maryland National Guards within the Chaplain's Unit as well as with the Honor Guards and Morale Welfare and Recreation Department. The Maryland Defense Force is a volunteer uniformed state military agency and one of the 24 State Defense Forces authorized by Congress and the state legislatures. It's primary mission is to provide professional, technical, and military support to the Maryland Army National Guard, the Maryland Air National Guard, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. Karen was also recently named as "Soldier of the Year" by the Maryland State Guard Association and the Maryland Defense Force in December 2012 and has been selected to go to the DSCA Symposium to represent the state of Maryland. The award was nevertheless a complete surprise to Karen, who did not learn about it until the Symposium's black tie event. She was surprised and honored. "When you're going up against 23,000 other soldiers from 21 State Defense Force Units in the country, I really was just like 'Wow'... it took a few weeks to sink in," said Karen. In addition to her work with the Maryland Defense Force, Karen has been a volunteer with the American Red cross in the National Capital Region since 2008 where she serves as a Disaster Action Team (DAT) lead and assists with mass care for Montgomery County. For several years, Karen has also volunteered with the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in Prince George's County, Maryland. During this holiday season of giving, it's so wonderful to hear about people like Karen who give wholeheartedly back to their community. Thank you, Karen, for your outstanding service and congratulations on your well-deserved award!
My Hurricane Harvey Story: Karen Holmes - Why I Use My Vacation Time to Deploy as an American Red Cross Volunteer [ submitted by KKHolmes ]My Hurricane Harvey Story: Karen Holmes - Why I Use My Vacation Time to Deploy as an American Red Cross Volunteer [ submitted by KKHolmes ]
Red Cross Blog Written by: Rosalind SE Carney, volunteer Karen Holmes works for the Federal Government as a Safety Officer and is a Cadre Member with the Disaster Team. Karen works in an agency that oversees organizations such as AmeriCorps, working to ensure safe and healthy environments by providing CPR and first aid training and certification. Her role requires her to be in DC so she is unable to deploy on missions associated with her job. However, she knew that her experiences would benefit the Red Cross, so Karen joined as a volunteer in 2008. On her own initiative, Karen pursued several training opportunities within the Red Cross to diversify the types of assistance she can provide locally and nationally. She is a certified Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV) driver, shelter trailer driver and shelter manager, instructor for CPR/first aid and a Disaster Action Team (DAT) responder. On 23rd September 2017, Karen used two weeks of her vacation time to deploy to Dickinson County, TX, to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Each day, Karen and fellow volunteers loaded up an ERV with meals prepared by the Southern Baptist mobile kitchens. Karen drove the ERV and helped serve meals to those in need. Interacting with people is Karen's favorite Red Cross activity. She describes how people impacted by Hurricane Harvey initially had a look of devastation on their faces that turned to a beacon of hope at the sight of the ERV. Karen saw a community that was just starting to rebuild. The devastation was evident–furniture and clothing on the streets, children running out into the streets to obtain meals and people who had not eaten in a day or two because they had missed the prior visit(s). Many people did not have electricity or a working stove, and some were sleeping on mattresses on the floor, not wanting to leave their homes to go to a shelter. Whatever the individual circumstance, the residents were so thankful that the Red Cross was there. In four days, Karen and her fellow volunteers served 1,078 meals in one area and delivered 300 meals to a church another time. Karen enjoyed giving people the very special touch for which the Red Cross is known. Karen is grateful that her employers are so supportive, telling her that they are happy she deploys as they know how much this volunteer role with the Red Cross means to her.
Karen Kendra Holmes - Trans soldier served with distinction in Md. Defense Force [ submitted by KKHolmes ]Karen Kendra Holmes - Trans soldier served with distinction in Md. Defense Force [ submitted by KKHolmes ]
Karen Holmes served for five years as a model soldier with a little known military agency called the Maryland Defense Force. (Photo by Elizabeth Anne Taylor) Since transitioning as a transgender woman in 2016, Silver Spring, Md., resident Karen Holmes served for five years as a model soldier with a little known military agency called the Maryland Defense Force. As a staff sergeant, Holmes took part in the Maryland Defense Force's stated mission of "providing competent and supplemental professional, technical, and military support to the Maryland Army National Guard, the Maryland Air National Guard, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency." Similar to members of the National Guard, Holmes and her fellow soldiers with the Maryland Defense Force carried out their duties mostly on weekends while holding a full-time civilian job. But unlike the National Guard, members of the Maryland Defense Force, which is known as the MDDF, serve as volunteers and receive no monetary compensation unless the state governor, who serves as commander, activates their units at times of a state or national emergency. Holmes has worked full-time during the past 16 years as a safety officer for a federal government agency in Washington. She was honorably discharged from the MDDF in December 2016. She told the Washington Blade in an interview on Tuesday that she hopes her record as a decorated soldier with the MDDF while out as transgender to many of her fellow soldiers and commanding officers would serve as a strong refutation to the Trump administration's pending plan to ban transgender people from serving in the military. In December of 2012, just one year after enlisting in the MDDF, Holmes was named Non-Commissioned Officer Soldier of the Year by the MDDF and the Maryland State Guard Association. In October 2013 she was named Soldier of the Year by the State Guard Association of the United States for an honor in which 23,000 soldiers in 24 states competed. "They knew I was transgender," Holmes said. "They talked to the National Guard people because we felt kind of a little different. They were OK with me being in the Maryland Defense Force." With all that as a backdrop, Holmes said she was "shocked" when she heard on the news last month that President Trump announced in a posting on Twitter that he had directed the U.S. military to reinstate the ban on transgender people from serving in the military. "I was really shocked and hurt because of the fact that we're doing great things out there," she said. "When I was with the Maryland Defense Force we were supplementing what the National Guard did. I did everything from parades for the Color Guard Detail. I was a chaplain's assistant." And, according to Holmes, other trans soldiers were involved with operations such as engineering and medical duties. Like other advocates for allowing transgender people to serve in the military, Holmes said it's widely known that transgender people currently serving in main branches of the U.S. military are performing well. "And the big thing the president was talking about was the cost as far as medical services," she said. "That's been a big issue," she noted, adding that she feels it's unfair to equate medical costs such as surgery with the desire of trans people to serve in the military. "To me I think it's pretty rough to say we're going to join just to get the surgery," Holmes said. "That's not why they join. They join because they want to serve the country and they believe in peoples' rights." Although Holmes said her co-workers and supervisors at the federal agency where she works were "great" when she transitioned in 2010, she remains reluctant to disclose the name of the agency, in part, because she doesn't want to be portrayed as officially representing the agency on transgender related matters. "And I just don't want to say much about it because who knows what Trump is going to do," she said. The president has said he has no plans to rescind President Obama's executive order banning discrimination in the federal civilian workforce based on gender identity and expression or to repeal previously adopted government policies banning sexual orientation discrimination against federal employees. But some LGBT rights advocates say they fear Trump might change his mind on those protections just as he did in seeking to rescind the Obama protections for transgender people the military.
My Dating Adventure on Dating Sites - Interview with The Frederick News-Post [ submitted by KKHolmes ]My Dating Adventure on Dating Sites - Interview with The Frederick News-Post [ submitted by KKHolmes ]
Karen Kendra Holmes, a speaker at the Rally for Trans Students event and a safety officer for the federal government, should be on BlackPeopleMeet's Mount Rushmore of users. She received messages from 150 potential suitors but didn't go on a date. I was both stumped and amazed by this, since I recently left eHarmony because of my dusty mailbox. However, that was just my cisgender privilege popping up again. "I kind of did it basically as validation to myself to see if any guys would come on to me," Holmes said. Holmes weaned the 150 men down to 85 and then disclosed that she is transgender. "Out of the 85, 70 of them said they still wanted to go out." But Holmes didn't take the relationship further. "I kind of chickened out." I asked if this has to do with the frequent violence against transwomen. "That is definitely the key to it as well. But my whole big thing, my philosophy is totally different from a lot of the [trans]girls out there. Some girls figure ... before we get intimate, they'll find out for themselves. No, no, no, you don't want to do that," Holmes expressed. Disclosure is a delicate issue in the transgender community, and the moments after disclosure can be potentially dangerous. "My philosophy is if we're going to go on a date, I'd rather tell the person before because I don't want them to spend anywhere from 75 to 100 bucks for dinner and say so, oh by the way, and then he gets really pissed off and mad," Holmes explained. She's also used Plenty of Fish, but didn't receive much luck. Holmes identifies as a lesbian, and she was looking for a romantic relationship. "A couple of the girls who I thought might work out, when we went out, they just kind of wanted a [platonic] girlfriend. Great. You kind of like wasted my time basically." Holmes began fully living as a woman in 2010, and over the years, she's learned how to navigate romance while valuing herself. For the first three years of living as a woman, she put herself "on hold" to take care of herself emotionally and physically. Her dating advice for transgender women is rooted in authenticity. "Let that person know, if you can't [date a transgender woman], I totally understand. I'm not going to hold that against you. But I don't want you to think I'm a trial base for your sexuality or something like that. I feel too much empowered," Holmes said. By Imade Borha - Reporter with The Frederick News-Post
2017 Nominee Black Trans Advocacy Award [ submitted by KKHolmes ]2017 Nominee Black Trans Advocacy Award [ submitted by KKHolmes ]
WOW after having a real bad day yesterday, I open my text message to see the Black Trans Advocacy Awards Official Nominee 2017. The award will be give at the Black Trans Advocacy Conference on Friday April 28, 2017 in Dallas, TX. Not sure yet which category award I was nominated for yet. Wish me luck !!! Congratulations on your award nomination. You have been nominated to receive a Black Trans Advocacy Award in recognition of your contribution to advancing black transgender equality! Final award selections will be announced at the 6th Annual Black Trans Advocacy Awards Gala, held in Dallas, Texas Friday, April 28, 2017 7PM at the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria Hotel, Vista Ballroom.
Karen Kendra Holmes - The Top 50 Successful Transgender Americans You Should Know [ submitted by KKHolmes ]Karen Kendra Holmes - The Top 50 Successful Transgender Americans You Should Know [ submitted by KKHolmes ]
Transgender people can accomplish great and admirable things as out and proud individuals. They should be role models not only for queer youth, but for anyone. Despite great personal hardship, many transgender people have done great things with their professional careers. Karen Kendra Holmes has worked for the Corporation for National & Community Service for 15 years as the agency's Safety Officer for the past six years. She serves as a Staff Sergeant with the Maryland Defense Force as a Chaplain's Assistant and Honor Guard. In 2012, Holmes was awarded NCO Soldier of the Year by the Maryland Defense Force. She was also named Soldier of the Year by the State Guard Association of the United States in 2013. In 2015, Holmes was honored in The Platform Magazine as one of 41 women around the world who inspire and make a difference in their community.
The Woman Inside [ submitted by NikkiDiCaro ]The Woman Inside [ submitted by NikkiDiCaro ]
I met a girl I thought I knew before She was standing, waiting at my door I heard her breathe I heard her knock but only once I ignored her, hoping she would go away She wasn't what I wanted Or what I needed No not nearly enough to satisfy I met a girl I thought I knew before She was standing, waiting at my door I heard her breathe I heard her knock but only once I went about my business as if she didn't exist Another day in life surrounded by mist After years of searching wishing and hoping Imagining myself in the body of another I discovered the girl still waiting but older The person I always was and always will be Longing and yearning, pining and sobbing I opened the door and walked into my life I embraced myself and the healing began It finally came, it was there all the time My life finally makes sense Let living commence If only I knew, if only I knew I would not have wasted all that time.
me i was born a woman in a male body [ submitted by fancynj2002 ]me i was born a woman in a male body [ submitted by fancynj2002 ]
THi this is my story Hi ladies, my name are Felicia Lisa Brown of New Jersey. I was born on March 3rd I am 5'5" 155 pounds 38b 32 39 with real breast. My breasts are a result of having gynecomasia. As a child raised by a single mother until I was 10 I dreamed of being a female, and would wear my mother's clothes when I could. After my mother remarried I had fewer opportunities to me fem. Depth inside I have always had this feeling. After two marriages and one child I still feel this way. After 911 (2001) I had this strong feeling of how short life was and my fem side wanted out. I lost 40 pounds shaved my body and meet others that felt the way I did on the Internet. Kianna Brown was my mentor (via the internet) and gave me support. She mailed me my first wig. My wife is not aware of my feeling. I am purging right now due to the fact that my wife found some of my clothes in our attic. I told her they must have been left by the prior owner. This feeling of wanting to be fem is strong and confusing, I wish I had a place to go and keep my clothes and dress and go out one day with another CD that understood. Well until that time I just love chatting with all of you for support and understanding. By the way I wear a size 8 dress and 9 shoe and shop to fit an 8 one day. Thanks for your continue friendship and understanding, Felicia Brown" I am now size 6 and my wife does not like my female size...i now realize that I was born a woman in a male body. Thus bigender. ..i will have to continue as a male and be Felicia when I can
Chronicles of the BrewTown Dreamer [ submitted by BrewTownTGirl1989 ]Chronicles of the BrewTown Dreamer [ submitted by BrewTownTGirl1989 ]
I normally will say plenty of stuff about my life in my blogs. Check them out at kayleahdee.blogspot.com.
A Mother's Words of a Caterpillar to Butterfly by Rosetta Holmes [ submitted by KKHolmes ]A Mother's Words of a Caterpillar to Butterfly by Rosetta Holmes [ submitted by KKHolmes ]

Well David under the circumstance right now I think it's better Kate and me just distance ourselves for awhile because whenever I talk with her it only made me feel worse. I know she is having a hard time trying to understand what my son is going through and she is not interested in reading up on children born this way therefore she can't be supportive of me excepting things the way I have. To her it is a choice, but for me it is not a choice whether I accept this or not. He is my son and I Love him unconditionally and always will and I will stand by him until I die.

At this time in my life I can't take anyone upsetting me especially if they can't have an open mind and be willing to check things out before being so judgmental. Hopefully one day she might be able to come to gripes with this and at less try to understand how I feel and realize what pain and suffering my son has been going through all his life. He has as much right as we have to live his life the way he wants to and be happy instead of living his life the way other people feel he should just so they can feel comfortable. Their lack of understanding is due to their lack of information which is available concerning transgender children. I've learned a lot in the past 4 weeks. Going to the support group and talking to the pastor has really helped me to better understand and adjust to the way things are. Like they said it's not about me, it's about him and his happiness and it's not his problem it's our problem because we make it about us and what w feel and want. That's why I thank God for helping me see beyond the outside appearance and to look into the heart and soul of the individual. For no matter what, inside he is the same person that I loved before. It's like if you took a love story book and changed the cover to something totally different. Once you open the book it would still be a love store, only the cover was changed.

What we all look for in life is not approval, but love and I've loved Kate all these years, not because of, but in spite of.

I'm watching my son drifting away right before my eyes and turning into Karen "a beautiful woman". It's like watching a caterpillar transform into a butterfly.

It was supposed to be this way [ submitted by RabbahRona ]It was supposed to be this way [ submitted by RabbahRona ]
I have been blogging about my transition at www.RabbahRona.Blogspot.com - I recently wrote a post entitled It was supposed to be this way; in it I explored my satisfaction with not starting to transition until I was 55.
Then and now [ submitted by Chrissy ]Then and now [ submitted by Chrissy ]
A lifetime gone right......In 1966 I was eight years old. I had no idea that what I was feeling would take me where I am today. Like most, it was confusing and left me feeling lost. A lot has changed since 1966 and not just for me. I've changed everything around me and those who thought they knew me. Lost a friend or two but that's okay. I'm sure I'll get by.
Self Serve [ submitted by oldvanner ]Self Serve [ submitted by oldvanner ]
A biographical story as written to Dale Brumfield and told by Ellen Shaver http://www.styleweekly.com/richmond/self-service/Content?oid=2105272
40 Years & Wandering [ submitted by KKHolmes ]40 Years & Wandering [ submitted by KKHolmes ]

I recall as early as 13 years of age when I started dressing in clothes designed for women. I wasn't sure why or when I decided to do that, but I felt right within myself to wear women's clothing and I was more comfortable with myself when I did. For years I purchased women's clothes, shoes, and wigs to dress in. I kept the clothes for a year or so and then packed them up to throw them away, only to return to dressing as a woman a few months later. I felt awesome and at peace when I dressed in women's clothes.

I never talked about my feelings to anyone, not even my parents. Later my parents felt something may be wrong and sent me to see a psychiatrist who later said I had a chemical imbalance and put me on Lithium. After months of using this drug, I realized this was crap—I was able to get off that drug by faking everything was OK. But deep down inside I knew everything wasn't OK. I was afraid to talk to my parents about what was going on with my dressing because I didn't understand it myself and couldn't find the words to explain it. I was confused when I was a young boy and my confusion continued as I grew into a young man.

In my 20's I got married and my wife was OK with my dressing, but 6 months later she realized that it wasn't OK and divorced me. That was my first marriage. My second marriage lasted 18 years, and during that time I suppressed Karen and hid her from my wife and her kids. Between marriages I thought I would remove Karen from my life for good by throwing away her clothes yet again, but this time it was over a cliff. About 5 months later, Karen was back in my life. I couldn't shake Karen loose, it was a consistent battle and she would return with force each time I tried to remove her from my life. So I embraced the fact that I was a crossdresser, but my soul was still in turmoil. But at the age of 53 I made the decision to do what I needed to do to live for me. So on 10/1/2010 I transition Full Time to live as a woman. On 4/8/2016 I had my SRS.

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