Telling My Stories

A life lived outside

  • Advertisements

Posts Tagged ‘intersexed’

Standing In Balance

Posted by catkisser on September 25, 2009

This is the interview I gave Raven Kaldera for the second edition of Hermaphrodities Raven’s works are utterly fascinating and well worth a read. Crossposted at Riding the Second Wave

1) Tell us about your gender identity.

My gender identity is woman/female. Sounds simple doesn’t it? It is far from so. I’ve been told by both intersexed people and trans people I don’t exist, that the conditions of my birth are impossible or at least impossibly rare enough I could not possibly be who I am…..and yet I am. Up to now I have mostly kept these things private to myself and those who came to study with me for this reason. I was born a tetragametic chimera which means in simpler terms, born during the sign of Gemini, I am, literally, twins in a single person with two different sets of genetics in one body, in my case fraternal twins, one male, one female that combined around the second or third cellular split. At my birth I embodied Agdistis. I was born at a “cottage” hospital in 1949 and presented with both an apparent penis and labia, the doctor sewed up my labia and declared me male. From the time I was first able to grasp the concept of male and female, I knew I was female and the circumstances of my birth having been kept from me, when I ran across the concept of “transsexual”, I thus assumed that was what I was and “transitioned” as an adult within that context. It was only after I first transitioned that I learned of my own nature although I had suspected so my entire life. Today my body reflects the Divine Feminine.

2) Tell us about your spiritual path. How did you get to where you are now?

Again, simply put, I was called from my earliest memories. Once again that sounds simpler than the reality. Around the same time, age three to four, I became aware I was not the boy everyone said I was, I was also having very vivid dreams, many of which I remember to this day as if I had them last night instead of some 56 odd years ago. I had a lot of nightmares and quickly learned the technique of lucid dreaming to turn them around and make the “monsters” into allies instead of enemies. But the most vivid dreams that reoccurred over and over were of an enormous, much larger than life beautiful woman dressed mostly in white robes. In those dreams She comforted me, told me things I could never quite remember upon waking but those dreams were incredibly peaceful and soothing and had a profound effect on me. Today I know that is the traditional way She called Her daughters.

Up until I first was enrolled in kindergarten, my childhood was relatively free of gender policing and playing dressup with the girl from across the creek was allowed and not discouraged. By the age then that children were allowed relative freedom from constant parental oversight I was spending almost all my time in whatever wild area was nearby and thus spent most of my early childhood forests and woods. The adults I sought out to learn from were the women that today I would call crones in the best sense. My family tree on both sides is mostly old New England, my father’s side the pragmatic down to earth, my mother’s side eccentric free thinkers, spiritualists and proud as punch of our ancestors such as Susanna Martin, a Salem witch trial victim from Amesbury, Mass. and William Wood who wrote the book “New England Prospects” that launched much of the immigration to that area in the 1600’s but had his own property taken away for going too native. I grew up with spirits, ghosts, tales of witchcraft and devoured any books I could find on those subjects. I grew up a Pagan in other words hidden in plain sight for my fathers side of the family mostly rejected me and my mother’s embraced me. I had a personal feminist awaking around 1958 just as second wave feminism was in it’s birth as a reaction to my own father’s patriarchal treatment of my mother. While the world saw me as male, I was within my own head female always and made as much peace as possible with that.

At age fifteen, our family moved to India traveling leisurely throughout Rome, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, the Middle East both on the way to India and the way back. I “knew” all these ancient places we visited. My father leading the way with an outdated “Europe on Five Dollars a Day” book, we found ourselves over and over off the beaten path of the tourists. We vacationed in Kashmir, I was allowed to travel alone to places like Dehra Dun, Agra and Jaipur. I explored wild places infinitely wilder than I had before and an India which at the time was closer to the India of the British Raj era than the India of today. I met and spent long hours with “gurus” and Muslims and Hindus of all social classes. I was aware I would not have been allowed to have any of these experiences had the world seen me as female while knowing I was and the inequality of that. Strangely enough my actual gender seemed to be clear to many of the Indian people I encountered who reminded me that my auburn hair would get me in trouble in many remote villages I visited if I were seen as female as it was considered the mark of a witch woman for example. Our cook, a live-in position, never called me by my birth name but only “Jackie” after Jackie Kennedy who occupied a place in world culture then immediately after JFK’s assassination similar to the one Princess Diana later had. It was his way of telling me he knew who I was and that was fine with him. I most likely met some hijra during that time, but was unaware of who they were. Had I been aware there is little doubt in my own mind I would have gone native and joined them.

My college years were at the height of the counter culture movement of the late sixties. Paganism was coming of age at this time as well and more and more material was coming into my hands. So much so that by the mid-seventies I found myself teaching a course at the Free University at Ohio State for several years on the history of Paganism and the Occult. It was around this time I discovered a sporadic wealth of material on the Mother Goddess traditions but it was years later before the specifics about Cybele Herself came to hand due to my eventual path being the most ruthlessly suppressed of all the Pagan traditions by the early church.

Throughout my lifelong studies I was far more interested in the essence of Pagan theology than I was in the trappings and abandoned ceremonial magick as a personal dead end in favour of a gnostic approach. In 1989 I ran across a copy of Merlin Stone’s “When God was a Woman” in a flea market and suddenly things clicked into place. I started going back and re-reading the occult “classics” with new eyes. I suddenly kept seeing the name “Cybele” literally leaping from the pages for me in one semi-vague reference after another. The thing that struck me more than anything else was all the Mother Goddess traditions, presented as totally different religions, weren’t. They all shared the same symbols, the same essence and many of the exact same trappings of practice for literally thousands of years.

At the same time, my final bout with the dysphoric imperative (need to transition) was also coming to a head. Several times in my life I had managed to come to an accommodation with it short of out and out transition. I had learned I could “be” a woman and have others see me as male. At this time, that stopped working entirely and those I met were seeing me as a woman regardless of how aggressively male I tried to appear. Further, it was becoming very distasteful personally to be seen as male.

I transitioned and the Mother Goddess started knocking me around whenever I varied from Her path. I was directed to first establish a reclaiming of Her worship in the form of Cybele and then after literally throwing the missing pieces of the various puzzles in my face, move to the Catskills of upstate New York and establish a centre for that tradition. When I balked somewhat at that last, She took away my ability to not do so by handicapping me physically. When the Goddess directs you, She will prevail.

The Cybeline revival began with what Roman and Greek materials we had easy access to. Since then we have expanded that further back to the essence of all Mother Goddess traditions and then advanced our theology to reflect what we would have been today without the 1500 year interruption resulting from our wholesale murder by the early church. We are not a reconstructionist path in sticking only to Roman or Greek practice but a living extension of our own traditions throughout the world and history. As our knowledge of pre-history expands, we absorb and embrace that.

3) What’s the most important thing for trans people to know about spirituality?

Balance, the single most important thing for anyone, but especially trans/intersexed people spiritually is the concept of walking between the worlds and standing in balance. That is the position the Mother Goddess occupies and She is within all of us. “Walking between the Worlds” is so much more than just gender/sex. It is the intersection of science and magick, the living and the dead, the seen and unseen worlds, the darkness and the light. The gift of being different, and I do see it as a Divine gift and obligation, is the ability, if we only open our eyes widely and actually see that cultural impositions are not the laws of the universe, a “leg up” as it were, on understanding what it means to actually put yourself in the place of another and see through their eyes by virtue of having to see the world from a different perspective altogether ourselves.

I teach from within the concept of the Mother Goddess but often those very words are misunderstood today. “Mother” brings visions to the modern mind of stay at home moms all nurturing and devoted to children. Goddess implies a larger than life version of the christian God somewhere out of reach perhaps sitting on a cloud watching our every move. Both fail if you do this. The image of the Mother Goddess in every tradition I have studied is the Divine Feminine principle. The image is one we can grasp but She is also the Mother who never gives birth, the Goddess of wild places and of lions and birds of prey. Her essence is present in the now know fact that all higher level life starts off first as female as the default setting in fetal development. She is that within ourselves, male, female, other, that is the spark of Divine and if you do not find what you seek within, you shall never find it without because She is with us from the beginning. The word Nameste is a Hindu word now seeing wider use in the West. Literally it means “the Divine in me acknowledges the Divine in you.” Most fascinating of all to me has been the discovery that at the root of all Mother Goddess traditions you find hints She was, in the beginning, a female identified hermaphrodite and the maleness then cloned off to a “consort” later on.

Trans and intersexed people have a rich and ancient connection with the Divine as teachers throughout almost all cultures of the world. You can even find references to it in the Christian Bible in Isaiah 56 3-5. Several years ago I wrote a series of essays on the transsexual priestesses of the ancient world, I did so as a gift to those who followed me of their heritage. Today, I would write a different version given additional information, gained insight and having witnessed attempts to turn my own hard won path into a “tranny” religion when it never was any such thing. Balance is the key.

4) What do we have to teach the rest of the world, spiritually?

We have the power to challenge gender roles merely by being. This is vastly different from destroying the essences of male and female by rendering asunder all good about maleness and femaleness but rather teaching others it is possible to become fully human whatever that means to any particular individual. As a dyed in the wool feminist, my opposition the the patriarchy is a given but my beef with the Dianic movement born of Pagan radical feminism has been the desire to replace the patriarchy with a matriarchy and a rewriting of history, particularly of the Goddess cultures, to reflect that. Two thousand plus years of a totally patriarchal ascendancy over the world can make equality of men and women appear matriarchal, but my own lifelong journey into ancient history and spirituality teaches me that it was equality, not female dominance that was the hallmark of those cultures. And thus we return to the concept of balance and standing between worlds and embracing our personal Goddess natures. Once you truly accept that everyone and everything around you is also a part of yourself linked by your own Divine nature, you do not need rules to tell you harming others and all around you is harming yourself.


Posted in autobiographical ramblings, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Old Wives Tales vs. Crone Wisdom

Posted by catkisser on August 12, 2009

One of the least noticed but most “in your face” symptoms of overall patriarchal mysogyny is the expression “old wives tale” to dismiss any wisdom that fails the male logic test.  How much do we lose as a society by dismissing in this fashion what, thousands of years ago, was considered one of the best sources of interpersonal wisdom, that of post menopausal women or Crones.

My first experience of feminist awakening I’ve already written about here, but it was my older aunt, Hope, who explained it to me clearly long before second wave feminism reached it’s zenith.  Thinking back, it’s remarkable in itself that she would do so at all, but then I was not shy at all asking about the world from my older female relations and I listened to what they told me.  She was totally honest in telling me her assessment of the nature of my parents relationship and she was dead on accurate as well without being nasty, mean or demeaning about it.

My mother’s side of the family was the old New England down to earth type.  I learned a different set of morals and “correct” behaviour from them that had little to do with traditional “right and wrong” and very strong on treating others with respect sans “moral judgment” on things that actually should be no one else’s concern.  Hope and Vinny didn’t bother to get married until the twins were on their way….almost two years after my cousin, little Hope, was born.  This wasn’t a family scandal, it was barely considered worth noting.  In fact, the joke among my many aunts and uncles on my mothers side of the family was I was the first eldest child actually conceived within marriage.

My female role models among my family were all strong, outspoken women, the men, equally strong and unthreatened by this, with the possible exception of only my own father.

Which brings me to the friendship I shared with my neighbor’s mother, Mrs. Weathersby.  The summer we returned from India my own mother and Diana, who lived across the street on Plum Island became good friends despite the fact Diana was closer to my own age, in her mid twenties, than my mother’s.  All of us got involved in holding seances, playing with the ouija board and assorted craziness which will be the topic of another entry sometime in the future, but through Diana, I got to know Mrs. Weathersby, her mother.  And from her I learned to truly appreciate Crone wisdom.  I was seventeen years old and had I been “normal” I probably never would have paid her much attention but there is something compelling in long conversations with someone who feels free to tell you precisely how she sees the world around her from both long experience and with no “gender” considerations added.  I learned more from her about art appreciation, local politics, relations between the sexes and seeing the world as it is rather than what we want to see than anyone else in my life.  Diana and my own mother joked about our friendship, but in no small part my own transition later in life was to Crone with an appreciation of exactly how wonderful a state of life that can be.

Thank you Mrs. Weathersby for that wondrous gift.

Posted in autobiographical ramblings, Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

“They Could Smell the Girl On Me”

Posted by catkisser on August 12, 2009

One of the ways women like me are dismissed is “socialization” as males rather than females. The response to this is often to deny any participation in male privilege as a child. That’s nonsense but the truth is a little harder to put your finger on.

My childhood was during the fifties and sixties, a time long before a kid unaccounted for more than 24 hours found their picture on a milk carton…..if you were male, or considered male. I’ve addressed elsewhere exactly how rigid the gender roles were during this time, if you didn’t grow up during this period of history, you’d be shocked. But while I would not deny I benefited from the greater freedom granted males during my childhood, it’s far from a complete picture on the other hand. With that greater freedom came all the problems of not fitting in with boys and the costs of that.

I never “got” the male dominance games that seem to be hardwired in to the male psyche. Let me explain. Among mammalian males this need to organize in hierarchies with established pecking orders seems to be an essential part of maleness. Among human males this means establishing who is the alpha and so forth. Boys will fight each other (or sometimes use sports instead) to establish who the alpha is. Once established, everyone is supposed to resume friendships as if it never happened. I “get” this intellectually, I never “got” it emotionally. And it got me in a lot of hot water as a child and left me a perpetual outsider in childhood. To me, someone trying to beat the crap out of me for no apparent reason was an enemy….period. Friendship was out of the question, especially if they had fifty pounds on me, towered over me or in some other fashion physically imposing. Allied with this hard wired male instinct seems to be the concept of a “fair fight” meaning if you were smaller, you weren’t supposed to equalize that. Opps, another concept I didn’t “get” and the source of my getting in a lot of hot water.

I was named after my father’s favorite uncle. This was a man who almost certainly was a repressed homosexual, hated women far beyond simple mysogyny and ran a boy scout “camp” on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. My paternal aunts and uncles convinced my parents this camp was just the thing to make a man out of me. For three summers in a row, between the ages of seven to ten, I was shipped off for several weeks to be, let’s be completely honest here, tortured by a sadist who hated me because I was named after him, very girly when he hated anything feminine, and probably worst of all in his mind, better than him at some areas of “woodcraft” which he held in highest esteem because I spent most of my free time in the woods. There is the distinct possibility he also sexually assaulted me as well, but if so, I totally repressed those memories. I was constantly beaten on by older, larger boys. I was punished for not “fighting fair” by using whatever was at hand to defend myself, I felt my life was in danger the entire time. “Uncle Foster” believed that taking us to the country store to buy the fixing for our next day’s meals taught us to learn how to manage money. I had to walk the three miles each way while the others rode in the truck as part of my punishment….almost every single night. Even when I had a large cut on the bottom of my foot that should have required stitches, but I was denied medical treatment for I literally had to walk six miles round trip in order to be able to eat the next day.

For three weeks a summer for three summers in a row I was tortured almost 24/7. The only relief was when I snuck out in the middle of the night and did incredibly dangerous things like trying to swim to an island 1/2 mile out from the camp and back not really caring if I made it or not. The third summer my little brother was also sent to the camp and told my parents that everything I had told them was true about what was happening to me. I stood up to “Uncle Foster”, told him to his face I would piss on his grave. Family members will not tell me where he is buried knowing, to this day, I’d do it and exactly how satisfying it would be now as a woman.

So, was I socialized as a male? I had a large measure of the relative freedom granted males over females, but little of the other advantages, almost none of the “male bonding” experiences and a large measure of similar self esteem destructive abuse heaped on girls. You tell me.

I explained all this in my own mind as “they somehow could smell the girl on me”.

Posted in autobiographical ramblings, Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Practical Magick

Posted by catkisser on August 8, 2009

I come from two very old New England families, one dirt poor “swamp yankees” the other with a linage that includes John and John Quincy Adams, the composer Stephen Foster and other semi famous personages mixed with a Swedish grandfather.

My mother’s side of the family always felt like my “true” family.  On that side was William Wood, who wrote the book “New England Prospects” that triggered the immigration to New England and Susanna Martin, the witch of Amesbury called by Newsweek the first American Feminist.  She was hung for witchcraft during the Salem witch trials, but only at the end of a long life that saw her raise nine children mostly by herself while managing her farm.  My mother’s side of the family practiced magick, accepted the realities of ghosts and spirits and were quite open about family stories of the supernatural.  We played with Ouija boards, did seances and communed with the spirits in those marvelous pre-revolutionary homes in the family.

One family story was about the closet in my Grandmother’s bedroom.  Apparently all my aunts and uncles had had the same dream about it growing up.  My grandparent’s home was in a small town called Groveland just east of Haverhill.  Our family was connected to Plum Island, off Newbury and Newburyport back as far as Susanna Martin.  Every one of my aunts and uncles and my mother had dreamed as children that there was a portal to Plum Island in my Grandmother’s closet.  As a young child, I had the same dream and was told about theirs after revealing mine.  So you see, my childhood was filled with magick, it was second nature to me.  I also was drawn from the earliest memories to any wild space accessible to me and back then even New England had no shortage of them.

When we lived in Framingham, Mass. one such place was along the river a  few blocks from our home.  A “woods” as we called it then about 30 or so acres with encroaching suburban tract homes pressing on two sides.  I practically lived in those woods.  On one visit from my paternal Grandmother, who never approved of me at all and made little secret of that, she deliberately let my parakeet, Petey, out the window.  Petey was allowed to fly around the house most of the time and never before had flown out of the house.  I was devastated and obsessed over his survival in the coming winter.  I searched for him in the woods for months.  Paying particular attention to the treetops as a result, one day the idea occurred to me to “invent” a new animal that was part bird, part mammal that had both feathers and fur.  I was quite skilled at visualization even then and had no problem at all “seeing” this animal at will while aware it was something I had made up.  To my amazement, I had no trouble at all getting others to see it too!  In just a few weeks kids I didn’t even know were reporting sightings of my animal/bird.  Call it the power of suggestion, mass hypnosis or magick, it taught me an early lesson in perceptions of reality and how they could be malleable.  It was my first experience with practical magick, it would be far from my last.

Posted in autobiographical ramblings, Life | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by catkisser on August 8, 2009

In the earlier entry called Life’s Turning Points I talked about my “feminist awakening” in the pre-dawn of the Second Wave of Feminism. How I became aware of male privilege by having it extended to me by my father and I rejected it causing a rift that never healed between us.

I had trouble since his death forgiving him still. Privilege is a hot button topic these days but having lived a life essentially outside I have had unique experiences with it. I was born in Grosse Point, the wealthiest place in America at the time. I joke I was born with a plastic spork in my mouth because we were the “token poor folk”, my father being a teacher at Detroit University School. I attended nursery school, kindergarten and first grade with the wealthy elite but not one of them. Class distinctions were something I was aware of at a very early age as a result.

The summer of 1964 we moved to India. Perhaps because of my early experience with class in the supposedly classless society of 1950’s America, the culture shock for myself was quite different that those of my American classmates. I say American classmates because the American International School in New Delhi was truly international. Students from all over the world attended. I knew and socialize and played with kids from Soviet blog nations, South America, India, Europe. And it was not lost on me how ill equipped many of my American classmates were to deal with a society with the caste system. I ate India up……..loved it. Unlike my peers, I listened raptly to stories from our “servants” about Indian culture, religion, ghost stories. And apparently, in retrospect, they knew more about me than I realized.

Our live in cook was an incredible man named Lakshman. It was strange enough suddenly going from suburban middle class to having servants but here was a man who spoke seven languages and could read and write in five of them…and he was a servant because of his caste. Lakshman never once called me by my birth name in two full years even in response to others using it when answering the phone or in conversation. He insisted on calling me Jackie instead, often to the great confusion of those trying to leave me a message. It took me years to figure out why along with remembering some very stern warnings he gave me whenever I planned a trip to villages outside the Delhi metro area. During this time shortly after the assassination of JFK, Jackie Kennedy had a position in the rest of the world similar to that which Princess Di would have later. She was literally the royalty to the world. Calling me Jackie was Lakshman’s way of telling me he knew me and who I was and he approved and honoured that. He used to warn me that my hair colour, red, would get me in a lot of trouble if I was seen as female. At the time I made no sense of why he would tell me this but he and others (all Indian) repeated this to me constantly. Red haired women were considered witches outside the urban areas. I did not know at the time about the Hijra, no one told me of them and if I ever met any, I was unaware of it………but every Indian knew of them and apparently recognized my similarity to them with no problem.

Other than Christine Jorgensen, no one in “polite” Western circles ever discussed people like me. Despite having devoured my father’s psychology text books from the time I first cut my reading teeth, I found almost nothing but very vague references to anyone like me, anyone intersexed but Indian myths, religion and folk tales were full of them. It was at my first “western” party I met first person who set off my intersex radar as well. Western kids in India socialized with dance and music mixers at each other’s home a lot. New arrivals were expected to bring along the newest records from the US and England so the parties were a big deal. At my first one I met a girl who was leaving India for the States and something happened between us I’ve rarely experience since. She and I were drawn to each other like we were opposite poles of a magnet and it wasn’t sexual. We talked all night long as if we were long time friends and I can still see her face clearly in my mind..but I have never been able to find a picture of her in the school yearbooks from the immediate prior years. I am certain she was intersexed like myself.

In India I cut across all class lines and borders constantly. Many classmates were from much poorer situations, some from totally different cultures and ideologies. I met with adults who would later be a head of State, the governor of the state I was to live in later, servants and beggers and even did volunteer work in a leper colony. Economic class never meant much to me after that and the rest of my life I went from poor to well off to poor many times without much concern. Racism was also a concept pretty much outside my personal experience until my senior year of high school in West Virgina.

Posted in autobiographical ramblings, Life | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Confessions of a Deeply Closeted College Co-Ed, circa 1969

Posted by catkisser on June 18, 2009

There really is only one word that sums up being a woman in a male body…..weird. I lost my virginity in 1969 during the age of “free sex” under bizarre circumstances. But first some background. (they are my stories after-all so you have to indulge me)

Being born with a female neurology (central nervous system) means regardless of the attempts to make a man out of you, you still think and feel in female norm fashions. Knowing since I was very young what my situation was, I was intensely interested in the differences between men and women and the mechanics of sex were mysteries to learn everything I could about….intellectually. Being bisexual and knowing everyone expected me to be interested in girls, it was fairly easy to just not think much about being interested in men. For some reason I never had any homophobia which apparently was required for hetero malehood, but then other than having every chicken hawk (old men who cruise for teenaged boys) who encountered me trying to bed me, it just didn’t come up much. So, as I was expected to do, I pursued girls as romantic interests. Looking back it was pretty pathetic. As a total sexual submissive by nature, unless I encountered a very sexually aggressive girl absolutely nothing happened at all. In lesbian circles this is sometimes known as lesbian sheep syndrome. Female sheep indicate sexual availability by standing perfectly still, you get the picture.

So, although every one of my circle of friends both in India and the US thought I was quite sexually active and experienced due to my knowledge of the mechanics of sex, I wasn’t, the instincts and my sexual responses worked against that. This was also the time of my first dysphoric “crisis”. It appears these strike women such as myself at roughly ten to fifteen year intervals until they finally get so bad you finally transition or suicide. Many of us of bisexual or lesbian nature can make adjustments (deals with the devil) through several of these crisises before they finally reach the breaking point. Mine was stepping up the adjustment I’d made as a child of honouring a parallel, but totally closeted female life. But I wanted, craved and was overwhelmed with the need for estrogen and seeking desperately for a reliable source of birth control pills, the estrogen levels of which were magnitudes greater than the ones today. As a friend today has pointed out to me (she suffers from PCOS), due to my actually having ovaries that had shutdown during the great puberty hormone wars within my body, they might have actually killed me had I succeeded. No place for the flow to go = blood poisoning.

This was at the height of the military draft and my induction center was in Kentucky, across from Huntington W. Va. They made multiple attempts to draft me despite my 2-S student deferment. Ah the blindness that comes from keeping a deep dark secret. It never once occurred to me that the answer to the draft was simply tell them the truth! Instead I did things like paste one of those enormous plastic flowers made to put on VW bugs on my chest and answer questions on the forms that asked badly worded questions such as “have you ever committed suicide?” Figuring they couldn’t draft you if you were dead, I answered “yes”. That led to an interesting session with a draft board shrink.

So here I was, sexual confused, a female libido fueled by testosterone, (that particular brand of hell is known only to classic transsexuals and women suffering PCOS) and instincts that worked against my ever having sex. A tri-delta sorority girl decided I was just the thing to make her pre-yuppie boyfriend jealous and her uptight family crazy. After all I was a genuine hippy activist who lived in a basement apartment we oh so cleverly called the A-P-T with a beer tap frig and was on the crash pad circuit. A crash pad was a place that traveling hippies told each other about that let anyone sleep there. Gross Glenn and my roommate, Fred, travelled around spreading the word so at any given time my place was filled with strangers.

The sorority girl, who’s name escapes me, and I were chatting away in the living room when Debbie and Gypsy from Arizona appeared at the door looking to crash for the night. Ms. Tri-Delt found that just too weird and immediately left. She and I had been drinking heavily, so I showed the two hippy girls how to set up the couch as a bed and retired to the bedroom and basically passed out. When I woke Debbie was on top of me and we were having sex. Talk about mixed emotions! I was pissed my body had betrayed me by responding, felt I was being raped for all practical purposes and aware I could not express that to anyone….all while having an orgasm. I did get up immediately afterwards and shower.

Three weeks later my friends told me Debbie was pregnant and it was my child. Actually she had left Arizona because she was pregnant but this cruel joke on me was continued right up until she gave birth. The other joke on me was I was practically sterile so the odds it was my child approached zero but I had no idea at the time.

My second attempt at sex was stoned with a good friend. It was a disaster. Third time being the charm, I drove down to Huntington from Columbus on a tiny 150cc motorcycle to spend a weekend with a woman I’d dated in high school…finally I experienced sex.

Posted in autobiographical ramblings, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Life’s Turning Points

Posted by catkisser on June 16, 2009

In everyone’s life there are points where a decision or event changes the entire course of one’s life. Mine has been no exception. I suppose my birth was the first major one. Apparently I was born a hermaphrodite. That’s right, someone born with the supposedly extremely rare condition of both male and female genitals. The decision must have seem easy to the doctor who delivered me, just sew up the labia and toss a blue blanket over the area. Afterall, it must have seemed a no brainer at that time that being a boy would be vastly superior to being a girl and back then no one had a clue what gender identity was, babies were supposed to be a tabla rasa, a blank slate for life to write on.

By the time I was three I knew something was very very wrong with that, by the time I was four or five, I learned never to speak of it aloud…but it was always there, always present, my shameful secret. My maternal grandmother was present at my birth and quite telling is she always honoured my female nature in a covert but supportive fashion. I was told in no uncertain terms that boys did not play “house” or have dolls but I did have a wonderful assortment of homemade stuffed animals Grandma made for me…..and I played “village” with them. I was an avid reader so my parents bought me the Hardy Boys books. Around age nine I discovered a tomboy who had a Nancy Drew collection….we exchanged books.

But the major turning point at that stage in my life was the night my mother tried to leave my father. I was about nine years old at the time and understood that my father’s treatment of my mother pretty darn patriarchal (no I didn’t have that word then but I sure as hell got the concept). Finally being fed up that treatment my mother attempted the bravest thing I’d ever seen, to leave him even in the face of the threats my father made that she’d never see us kids again. She actually did walk out and I came out of my hiding place crying. My father totally misread my feelings for one’s of abandonment and “comforted” me by telling me “don’t worry, she’ll be back because she has no place to go.” This was the late fifties and second wave feminism was just barely getting started and I sure wasn’t aware of it but I had my feminist awakening right then and there. My father’s attitude was just plain wrong, I wanted no part of his male entitlement. That wedge existed between him and me up to the day he died.

Another turning point that was unexpected happened when I was 15 years old. Our family was living in India and I was practically an emancipated minor in the freedom I had. Walking alone on a dusty road outside of Jaipur I was suddenly aware the entire world around me was paired. Monkeys, insects, reptiles, people, everything was in male/female pairs but me…..and I was struck with the realization I would never actually be part of such a pair because of who I was. It was a powerful but unbelievably sad moment in my life, the realization that I was something not quite human, not quite of the world and probably never would be. That sense of being in the world but not of it has been with me in some fashion ever since.

There are lot’s more, one appropriate for Pride month on the 40’th anniversary of Stonewall, but maybe later.

Posted in autobiographical ramblings, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by catkisser on June 15, 2009

I’ve been many things and seen many places in my somewhat unusual life journey so far. As a teenager I lived in India and travelled much of northern India and Kashmir. I was blessed with being able to explore many of the sights of Rome, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and much of the rest of the Middle East as well at that time. I’ve ridden an arabian stallion to see the pyramids, spent the night basking in the reflected moonlit in front of the Taj Mahal, gone on elephant back through the jungle, explored the old bazaars of Istanbul and old Delhi, climbed in the Himalayas. I attended Ohio State University where I followed my interests for three of the four years resulting in an education closer to the traditional “classic” model than is the norm for most American college students. I was a “hippy” and a political activist in the late sixties. I was married 25 years and raised a wonderful daughter. I was a master cabinetmaker, a psychiatric aide, a mystic who taught classes for the OSU free university in the mid-seventies on the occult and finally, a nursing assistant who worked as a “gypsy” aide in many different hospitals and nursing homes.

Not a “normal” woman’s life in many respects, but then, I’m also not your standard woman.

I was born in 1949 near Detroit, Michigan and the gender and name on my birth certificate then is not the same as the name and gender of my life today. I could now bore you with all the lurid details of growing up different, but most reading this already have heard it many times in many forms from others. My story differs only in that I discovered relatively late in life that I was born intersexed and that fact was hidden from me by most of the doctors I had contact with who knew. Intersexed?, what’s that you ask? Is that where someone has both male and female genitals? In my case, yes. But my case is unusual among intersexed people as well. I am what is called a tetragametic chimera or “merged twin mosaic”. That means I was born with both XX and XY tissues and had some of both sets of genitalia, which is extremely rare. Scar tissue indicated surgery was done on me when I was born without my parents knowledge or consent. It borders on certainty in my mind that a hysterectomy was done on me when my appendix was removed in 1980, again, without my knowledge or consent. I spent many years as a transsexual advocate and am only now breaking my silence on being intersexed rather than transsexual. None of it is really relevant to my life now except as history. Today I am happily female, my body and mind in congruence.

I could wail about the difficulties of my life, regret my lost girlhood and be resentful of the years I spent trying to act like a male for all those around me, but that would be missing and regretting all the wonderful things I did and learned unrestrained by the expectations placed on women in western society. The simple fact is, I was able to learn and do things unhampered by those expectations and my life has been richer for that. I consider myself blessed being the way I was and the way I am today. Each and every step along my journey taught me valuable lessons and opened my eyes to aspects of life that most others never even considered. Even becoming disabled had it’s positive results. As She did in ancient times, the Goddess chose me before birth and guided my life to forge me according to Her will.

Posted in autobiographical ramblings, Life, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »