Losing My Religion

Unity - Impediments to the Colors Coming Together - OurselvesI had always been seen as a spiritual person. I believe in the interconnectedness of all things. What I am finding harder and harder to embrace is the idea of a one God. I am leaning more towards the scientific explanations found through quantum physics and other sciences.

I was involved in the Church for the longest time. As a child, I was an altar person, I sang in the choir and even belonged to CYO for a bit. I was raised Roman Catholic though I always gagged when it came to reciting the Nicene Creed. Especially about believing in one Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. Despite that, I did go on to work as a Youth Minister at a retreat center and interviewed to be a priest. Of course, it would be interesting now, given what we know about me.

I always felt that something was guiding me. I was being placed in position to help people when they most needed it. I took it to be God doing this. These days, I think it is more about being empathic and feeling people’s need rather than a central God figure.

Why the big change? Well, it didn’t really happen overnight, but rather over a long drawn out period of time. As things happened I started to believe less and less in the mantra that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and just take it more as shit happens. Being good or bad has little to do with what happens to you. Rather, it is just things happen.

I think what really started to turn the tide for me was when the Roman Catholic priest pedophile scandals started exploding. I am sorry, a good and loving God would not allow such evil to be done to children.  Jesus even admonishes in Mathew 18:2-6

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 

3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 

4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 

5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Yet, time and time again, we hear of more stories uncovered regarding priests abusing children. If this was just confined to the Roman Catholic Church, it would be bad enough, but recent reports relate how it is also with the Southern Baptist ministry.  I think what makes things worse is the lack of action on the part of the Roman Catholic Church to rid itself of pedophile priests. Rather than turning them over to authorities, they shuffled them around to other assignments, potentially exposing even more children. It all began to be made public in the 1980’s. Yet, here we are in 2019 and the Roman Catholic Church only recently had a conclave to discuss the issue! Yet, even coming out of that, there is no push to eradicate pedophile priests and the clergical hierarchy that tried to cover it up!

It only seems to get worse with the Roman Catholic Church as new allegations of sexual misconduct towards nuns was reported last year. For a Church that is supposed to preach the love and light of Jesus, they seem to be more into orgies than sharing the blessings and teachings of Jesus.

The sad part is how the Church attacks the LGBT community despite all the darkness that surrounds them. They go back to the Old Testament to pick and choose passages to support their hate, despite Jesus very clearly stating in John 6:37:

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”

One Roman Catholic Cardinal even blamed the LGBT community for the pedophile priests! The Roman Catholic Church has always professed hate towards the LGBT community. It is a wonder that anyone in the community would profess to be Roman Catholic.  I attempted to transition back in the 90’s and left the Church for good at that time. Given their history of professing hate and their sexual misconduct and cover-ups, I think it is a good choice.

Before I continue on, I do want to point out that not all organized religions profess hate towards the LGBT community, some are inclusive and welcoming. My friend Karen Furr is pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Community. I believe most Unitarian Universalist Churches are also affirming. I know I was asked to speak at one back in the 90’s. I believe the Episcopal Church is also affirming. Though, I believe the Methodist have chosen not to be. Wikipedia lists the Evangelical Lutheran Church as accepting. So there are few and you can look up who Wikipedia thinks are accepting on their page, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations_affirming_LGBT#North_America

It is sad that a Church who espouses the teachings of Jesus can turn its back on those who wish to follow his teachings. While I no longer follow any organized religion, I do try to follow the teachings of many of the great masters. While I have studied primarily Jesus’ teachings, I have also followed Buddhist teachings as well as some Hindu. I also follow the Native American teachings and wisdom. For as the Hindu koan states, “There are many paths up the mountain. The only one not getting to the top is the one who runs around and around telling everyone else they are on the wrong path.”

I do believe that we all need to come together. We need to put aside that which divides us and embrace that we are all one under the skin.

My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.

“Lady” Emma Morgaine Croft

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We Must Endure!

StayStrong

Many in the transgender community feel under siege. The current administration continues its attacks on transgender people.  All of the Obama era protections that were put in place have been rescinded. Transgender service people are being told that their military careers are over.  The Federal Government and some State Governments are working to basically legalize discrimination against transgender people.

I want to point out that we are also slowly turning the tide of ignorance! Here in Massachusetts, a hate group attempted to rescind the transgender protections. Rather than cower, the transgender community came together and worked to educate and and inform the general public and show them that transgender folk are not the bogeyman that the hate group purported us to be.  Many transgender folk even went door to door to talk about the issue and show that we are not to be feared. In the end, Yes On 3 prevailed and the protections were kept in place.

As more and more people become informed and aware. As more and more transgender folk come out and present themselves to the world, we are slowly edging forward. Yes, with the transgender military ban and the rescinding of the Obama era protections, it has become harder to be “out”. Yet, more and more are coming out. For many, their survival depends on it.

We have not regressed to the point of needing another Stonewall. I feel that if we can continue to put a face on transgender people and show we aren’t the bogeyman, we can and will turn the tide. I see more and more people coming out. I have connected to hundreds of people across the world. With some of us being open and out, we are educating and showing that we are not to be feared. Actually, many are finding that we are actually fun to be around. We are, after all, your brother, your sister, your aunt, your uncle, and even your Mother or Father. We must continue to be the face of transgender people. We must continue to be strong on our path. We must continue to support each other. We will overcome the hate and ignorance. We will persevere!

Something my first psychologist shared with me, it is only a moment in time. Yes, a lot of negative things have been happening, but also some positive. It was recently reported that Kansas may be the next to ban LGBT discrimination! These are steps forward that we must embrace and celebrate. Eventually, this administration will fade away and a more enlightened administration will come in that will restore the protections for all Americans, not just LGBT. For our part, we can reach out to our Senators and Representatives and implore them to pass the Equality Act to make it a Federal Law to prevent discrimination. We must continue the fight!

Most of all, we need to be there for each other. If you hear of someone struggling, reach out to them. If you live nearby, go out for coffee or dinner so they can feel connected and not so alone. Have get-togethers with friends so they can make connections and widen their network. There is strength in numbers. We need to not cower, but to raise our heads and hands. We need to speak loud and proud, We Will Not Be Erased!!
NotErased

My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.

“Lady” Emma Morgaine Croft

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Not Quite a Life Choice – Surgery (Jazz)

Just a short note. Not quite ready for my surgery yet. I still have a little more clearing to go. It has been slow going. I got an email from the office congratulating me on my one year anniversary. I have been going to them for over a year now. Granted in some cases it was every other month, but it is crunch time now. I  have another three sessions scheduled over the next month. That is a lot of pain to go through for something that some believe is a simple life choice.

So Cindy came home last night and started looking for a channel. She said that someone at work told her she should watch this show so she can prepare. Hmm, okay. I helped her find it and she said she wanted to watch these episodes of I Am Jazz. Turns out, it was the two dealing with her surgery. Needless to say, I cried during parts of it. Cindy offered to change it, but I told her no, we need to watch it. Dr. Marci Bowers was the primary surgeon. It was done at Mount Sinai in New York. For those who think this is a life choice, let me tell you, the pain and the long recovery, not to mention my own experience with surgery prep, no one, no one, would go through that kind of pain for a life choice. I will be back in surgery prep Thursday night. Hopefully, not too many more sessions. I am down to 118 days and counting. I have to have all the surgical area cleared. That is a very painful place for electrolysis. I share my journey in hopes to educate and inform. Hopefully, in doing so I can remove or reduce the hate and ignorance that has driven many to suicide. 

I had gone to First Event. I do a workshop based on my blogs here called Just Own It! It is my hope that in doing so, I can help someone be the person they always wanted to be. I also got to see so many of my friends that for the most part, I only get to see on Facebook. It was so great to see them in real life. They are amazing people.

I also did the Fashion Show again this year. I am just waiting on the pictures. Once again, the ladies and gentlemen from Sephora did an amazing job. They are quick too. I had a burgundy evening gown for my first trip down the runway, which they did up with red highlights for my eyes. My next outfit was a blue sorceress gown. When I came back from the first round, they quickly switched me over to blue highlights. They are amazing! My daughter, Lindsey, and my wife Cindy had come to see me. When I came down after the show, Cindy said I was just glowing. It is amazing when you finally feel the real you coming out.

So I bide my time for the next 118 days. I think about how wonderful it will be next year when I walk out there post surgery. It is a long, arduous journey.

My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.
“Lady” Emma Morgaine Croft

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Not A Life Choice – Psych!

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Still playing the waiting game. It is frustrating that it takes so long. The frustration compounds when you get a note from the hospital saying they want to move you up a month earlier. Of course, the boss was aware that I would be out a month from the previous messages. I asked if it was okay to move a month earlier. I had to wait for a response since he was out. I was almost giddy knowing that I had one month less to wait. Then psych!! boss says no, we are understaffed and someone else has the time off. So I had to have them keep my old date.

Not sure if it was just this or the compounding of negative events with the passing of our old girl, Brandy. I know it still affects me. Just thinking of her makes me want to cry.

Brandy_snow

I love this pic of her as she loved the snow. She would lay out in the storms and come in totally caked and shake all over. We would be scrambling for the towels. She will always be in my heart. She lived with us since she was a pup for eleven years. It was hard watching as the cancer got to her. It was a hard decision but we buried her with our other sweetheart we lost, Hermione.

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I had bottle fed Hermione due to a defect in her snout. We had to put her to rest when the doctors at Cummings told us that she was also missing part of her heart.

So it has been a tough couple of months. Our other pup, Harley, just does not have the life in him after losing Brandy. They were tight as thieves. Now Harley mostly just lays about.  We thought about getting a new puppy, but money is tight and Doodles aren’t cheap. Worse, they are now adding levels of training when you buy them.

Sorry about rambling. I was just feeling a little lost. It hurt when my boss said I couldn’t accept the new date and had to stick with the old. I put in a lot of hours and it just hurt. Worse is that I am on call all this week so have those night calls too. I woke up the other night at 2:30a and just could not get back to sleep. Of course, last night, paged at 4:30a. So dragging a bit and emotional. I have to work Saturday night also and that might take a while. So being denied the change has an extra sting.

Kind of a bummer this writing. Oh, the woman at the top? That is Soul of the Rose by Waterhouse. It was a painting I had seen and fell in love with. I felt it captured the person I felt I was inside. Cindy even had a shower curtain made of it for me. Had a chuckle, I was listening to music as I wrote this and K.D. Lang and Roy Orbison were singing a duet of Crying. Timing.

I guess at this time, I am just floundering. I am hoping the holidays will pick up my spirit. My daughter did say she is coming Saturday to spend the day with me and help with the store while Cindy is away. She also says she has some clothes for me. Hmm, Tony Bennet and K.D. Lang singing What a Wonderful World. Maybe there is hope.

Ohhhh yeah!

My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.

Emma Morgaine Croft

 

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Transgender Day of Remembrance 2018

I was asked to speak at the Transgender Day of Remembrance out on Cape Cod. It was an honor to speak. I thought I would share the talk I presented. I did go off script just a little bit, but for the most part, this was what I presented.

369 trans, non-binary and gender-variant people were murdered in the 12 months from 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2018.

In 2017, advocates tracked at least 29 deaths of transgender people in the United States due to fatal violence, the most ever recorded. However, 2018 has already seen at least 22 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means.

One was, Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42, who was found dead in her home on January 5 in North Adams, Massachusetts. Steele-Knudslien organized and produced the Miss Trans New England and other pageants and was loved and known by many in both the local and national trans community.

Add to these numbers, the over 40% suicide rate which has been further exacerbated by the current administrations actions against the transgender community.

When I made the decision to once again try to transition, I also discussed it with my wife that I would do this publicly. It was my hope that in being somewhat well-known as a Mason that it would bring some attention. Having also been a writer, I chose to start a series that I called Not A Life Choice that provided the medical and psychological evidence that shows that what we, as transgender folk, experience, is real. It is not a life choice! My series chronicles all that we must go through to just be ourselves.

One thing that I have heard expressed lately is that people are scared. I have heard some who feel they need to stop their transition. Some have gone to the extreme of talking about leaving the country.

I chose to stand as a light. I chose to try to educate and inform. I chose to try to remove the veil of hate and ignorance. At times, I feel I am failing in this. When I hit those points, I look at the statistics we share today. I look at those who have lost their lives just for being. I look at those who are scared and try to be a beacon of light. I try to tell them to not fear the shadows for if there is a shadow, there is a light shining somewhere.

President Obama heard our stories and was moved to institute protections for the transgender community. Unfortunately, at this time, hate and ignorance prevail and those protections have been rescinded by a mean-spirited administration that seeks to erase us. Know this, President Trump; We Will Not Be Erased!!!!!

Rather than pushing us back in the closet, I have heard many of my trans brothers and sisters speak out. Many are becoming more active within the community. Many are standing up and being heard.

To paraphrase the President’s speech in Independence Day:

And as we remember the fallen on this day, know that this day will inspire us to stand up for ourselves, that we will seize the day and the world will hear us declare in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night!

Now is not the time to regress and suppress but rather to support and inspire. There are too many lives that depend on us all to come together as one and help those who are to follow to be able to live in a loving and accepting world. It is time to squelch hate and ignorance. It is time to tell our stories and to be who we are unshackled by the limits of societal norm. We must remember those who fought for our rights at Stonewall. We cannot allow hate and ignorance to push us back into the closets. We must continue to fight hate and ignorance with truth and justice. We must continue to educate and inform until all manner of discrimination is eradicated. My weapon is my pen. (Okay, nobody uses pens anymore) I will continue to write in hopes of educating and removing the veil of hate and ignorance from the eyes of those who wish we did not exist.

I shared on Facebook a flowchart of what we must go through just to get to where we are. I received a few comments about how they thought I was brave and how they did not know just how involved it was. In this case, it took a pictorial representation to show what we go through. So we must use all the tools, all the media formats available, to educate and remove ignorance. We must continue to be lights shining in the darkness for others who are scared and unsure. We must always show love, compassion, and caring. We must not retaliate against ignorance but educate and inform. We must continue to work until we never have to have another Day of Remembrance and never have to honor another senseless death. We must push to ensure that police recognize our transgender brothers and sisters and call them out when they misgender them in news reports or police reports.

Shine bright!!

My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit!!

 

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Not A Life Choice -What About Transmen?

I was on a group on Facebook where there was a poll; How many in the group are MTF (Male to Female); how many are FTM (Female to Men). I found it interesting that out of the thirteen respondents, ten were MTF and only three were FTM.

I noted also at First Event, a transgender conference in Massachusetts that they have added Transmasculine tracts over the years, but the focus mainly was Transwomen. I found the anomaly rather curious. Why is it that there are less Transmen? Could it be to the patriarchal society we live in that families have to have a male progeny to “carry on the name”. Could it be that babies born intersexed or with androgynous genitalia were “doctored” to be boys? This has happened and in one case the person, later in life, attacked the doctor who did it to them.

Another thought is that women have a little more latitude in presentation than men. A man who wears a dress is thought as an aberration, but a woman in jeans is accepted. A woman can cut their hair short, they can wear men’s shirts. Yes, some get called names like butch or dyke, but in the end, they can present as they wish. I think also, in the case of female to male, with testosterone, they can grow a beard and bulk up. So it makes it that much easier to pass. A male to female just starting out has to deal with the affects of testosterone like facial hair, bulky bodies and fat in the belly instead of the breasts and buttocks. Once a transman starts testosterone, they add facial hair and bulk up a bit. Their voice lowers, while a transwoman has to try to train their voice to be in the higher range.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying their life is all shits and giggles. They also struggle as transwomen do, but it just seems their numbers are a percentage of transwomen. I was just wondering if this is more because it is easier for them to be seen as a man, than for a transwoman to be seen as a woman? Transmen also face a lot of the issues that transwomen do, especially when it comes to medical support, insurance, and counseling. Also, while a transwoman can have vaginoplasty and have a workable vagina, the technology is just not there yet for a perfect penis for a transman. For many, it appears that they have to be content with just getting top surgery.

Another curious aspect is with all this bathroom bill nonsense. Have you noticed that all of these are focused on “a man dressing as a woman to molest your child in the ladies room”. Of course that is total unfounded hogwash, but that is how they present it. Yet, you never hear about if a transman is forced to go into a ladies room because that is what it says on their birth certificate or license. A bearded transman, can be compelled to go into the ladies room based on these insane laws.

I know quite a few transmen. Many are really handsome. They are all wonderful people struggling on their journey. I just find it interesting that often times they are left out of the conversation. I was just curious and pondering this on a quiet Sunday morning.

My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.

Emma Morgaine Croft

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Not A Life Choice -The Government

Many in the transgender community were concerned about Trump and Pence due to their hate of the LGBT community. We were told we were unreasonable. We were told we were fear-mongering. Yes, we were concerned and it appears rightly so. The New York Times recently published a story stating that the Trump administration is planning on rewriting the rules concerning Title IX.

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Now the Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.

The department argued in its memo that key government agencies needed to adopt an explicit and uniform definition of gender as determined “on a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable.” The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by The Times. Any dispute about one’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.

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I have presented the science regarding transgender people in my series. This administration ignores that science and chooses to base sex only on the genitals.  Their hope is to remove the legal challenges so they can promote their hate and ignorance and basically erase transgender people. This will please their evangelical base, but goes against all the science. They want to undo all the protections that were in place and open up transgender people to unfettered bigotry, hate, and discrimination. Transgender folk had every right to be concerned about this administration!

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The National Center for Transgender Equality has posted a response to the New York Times Article:

“This proposal is an attempt to put heartless restraints on the lives of 2 million people, effectively abandoning our right to equal access to health care, to housing, to education, or to fair treatment under the law. This administration is willing to disregard the established medical and legal view of our rights and ourselves to solidify an archaic, dogmatic, and frightening view of the world. This transparent political attack will not succeed administratively, legally, or morally.

In the name of preempting some misinformation, let’s talk about what this proposed rule would not do. It would not eliminate the precedents set by dozens of federal courts over the last two decades affirming the full rights and identities of transgender people. It would not undo the consensus of the medical providers and scientists across the globe who see transgender people, know transgender people, and urge everyone to accept us for who we are. And no rule—no administration—can erase the experiences of transgender people and our families. While foolish, this proposed rule deflates itself in the face of the facts, and the facts don’t care how the Trump administration feels.

To transgender people: I know you are frightened. I know you are horrified to see your existence treated in such an inhumane and flippant manner. What this administration is trying to do is an abomination, a reckless attack on your life and mine. But this administration is also staffed by inexperienced amateurs overplaying their hand by taking extreme positions that ignore law, medicine, and basic human decency.

With each awful headline like this, remember that you are far from alone. NCTE and other organizations are continuing to fight against this bigotry. Remember that there is an entire human rights community that not only stands with us but will always fight back—and fight hard. Thousands of us have devoted our lives to protecting you and your families, and our ability to do so is nothing short of a privilege. And we will not lay down now.

Transgender people have fought rules like this one in federal and state court and won. We have stood toe-to-toe with administrators, legislatures, and executives who would agree with this rule and yet we won. We have fought and will continue to fight for The Equality Act, a bill currently in Congress that would explicitly enshrine civil rights protections for transgender people—Congress must pass this long overdue bill now. We know how to defeat this, and we will do everything we can until every transgender person feels secure in their rights under the law.

At the heart of our work at NCTE is the belief that no one should have to suffer  just to be true to themselves. And yet transgender people are still often forced from their homes, fired from their jobs, harassed at their schools, and denied the most basic level of dignity by a broken system. Knowing this, millions of transgender people wake up every day and step into an uncertain world. This is the most common trait shared by transgender people: A strength and resilience for hard and difficult times. If this administration is hoping to demoralize us, they will be disappointed. If they are hoping we will give up, they should reconsider the power of our persistence and our fury.”

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The changes they propose will also be challenged. I hope that the rest of the LGBT community rises up against this also. Just a reminder that they also want to end Marriage Equality and nullify all gay marriages. We must stay vigilant. We must stay strong!  We must fight against hate and ignorance!

 

My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.

Emma Morgaine Croft

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