I Believe Hope Is Winning

I am having a hard time with the jumble of emotions bouncing around in my heart like a load of laundry.  I’m getting thrown every which way, struggling to keep any sense of equilibrium.

The TEDWomen2018 talk was exhilarating, but tiring.  To follow that up with the panel at TEDxMileHigh, followed by Jonathan’s book launch in Brooklyn on Thursday, followed by preaching at Forefront Church this past Sunday, was all a bit much.

I flew to New York last Wednesday, and on Thursday evening Jonathan and I headed to an event center in downtown Brooklyn for a photo shoot for an article that will be published this week in the New York Post.  Then we watched over 200 people stream in for the launch of She’s My Dad, Jonathan’s book about his response to my transition.

Jonathan spontaneously asked if I wanted to do our TED talk for the crowd, so we hopped up on stools and without a hitch repeated the words we had spoken in Palm Springs seven days earlier.  It is probably the last time we will do the talk live, so it was wonderful to do it for such a responsive crowd.

As if the book launch itself wasn’t enough, over a dozen people from my former life were there.  Well, 15 people to be exact.  I notice these things.

Five years ago, almost overnight, I lost almost all of my work and church-related friends, as well as a lot of extended family members.  When any of those people show back up in my life (without judgment or an agenda) it is time for celebration.  It is difficult to have your life’s friendships split in two – to lose hundreds of friends overnight, and to have to build new friendships from scratch.  It’s doubly difficult to do it at my age.

Among the 15 were several of Jonathan’s lifelong friends, people I’ve known since they were in elementary school.  I also visited with a couple I worked closely with at the Orchard Group for over 20 years, and another friend who also served with us back in the day.

I saw two nieces I had not seen since transitioning, and five pastors of Orchard Group churches that were planted in the last 10 years.  It was exhilarating, and tiring.  Whenever I meet someone from my old life, my discernment skills go into overdrive as I try to determine whether or not they are comfortable in my presence.  For many, it is a difficult reunion, and I can almost always tell.  These people were instantly supportive, one and all.  Time and again I was moved to tears.

The party ended around 10, and continued at a bar in the neighborhood.  I didn’t go to the bar.  Exhausted, I headed back to the apartment to relieve the babysitter and head to bed.  I slept soundly.

Friday morning Jonathan and I took the train into Manhattan to do a podcast with a female executive who was at TEDWomen in Palm Springs.  She leads peptalkher, a company that works to bring about pay equity.  On the podcast, it was so satisfying to hear Jonathan’s words about the discoveries he is making about gender inequity.  He has not had the visceral experiences I have had.  His knowledge has come through hard work.

Saturday was spent finishing my sermon,  because on Sunday morning I preached at Forefront Church.  Before the first service I connected with two more friends I had not seen in over five years, a Long Island couple I dearly love.  They know what pain looks like, and they are full of wisdom and grace.

Then I preached for both services.  It might have been the most exhilarating part of the last two weeks, but it also might have been the most draining.  It felt like one of the better sermons I have preached.  I have preached different versions of this particular sermon before, but this time was special, at so many levels.

The title of the message was, “Lost Is A Place Too” and Forefront is a church full of people who know exactly what I was talking about.  They are people who have gravitated to a post-evangelical churches because they are honest and authentic and can no longer abide by doctrine that does not pass the common sense test, let alone a hermeneutical or exegetical test.  These are people who have suffered at the hands of the evangelical church, but still they are here, full of heart, working out their spiritual lives in community.  Time and again I was moved to tears.

Sunday morning also stood out because it was the first time I have preached in an Orchard Group church since I was let go after 35 years of service, exactly five years ago this month.  I am afraid I have not yet begun to process all the emotions related to that.  I am pretty sure a lot of tears need to be shed, but I’ll wait until I’m in a safe place before I let that happen.

After church on Sunday I met with Linda Kay Klein, a friend who wrote the best selling book, Pure, about growing up in the purity movement of the 90s.  We enjoyed a leisurely lunch, talking about the joys and fears related to putting your story out there for the whole world to see.  I told her, “Never read the comments.  Whatever you do, never read the comments.”  The book is excellent.  (Gloria Steinem wrote an endorsement and Linda was interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air.)

Because I needed time alone, I walked all the way back to Jonathan and Jubi’s apartment, where I spent the evening with the girls putting together gingerbread houses that are now proudly displayed near their Christmas tree.  The evening was heavenly.

Yesterday morning I walked the girls to school and hugged them goodbye, grateful that they are not yet old enough to refuse a hug in front of their friends.  Then I made my usual stop at Dunkin’ Donuts and came back to the house to pack and leave for LaGuardia.  Jonathan and Jubi came back from the gym and we talked for about five minutes.  He expressed his thanks for my willingness to come, and I left pretty quickly, before I broke down in sobs.

This has been a hard journey, and it will continue to be.  But I believe hope is winning.

 

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Well, That Was Quite The Week!

How do you respond when you are asked to speak for one of the most prestigious speaking events on the planet?  You say yes. That’s what you do.  Then you start preparing for TEDWomen2018.  You write, rewrite, and write again until you have a script that says in 12 minutes what you and your son took 202 pages to say in a book.

You fact check, just to be sure, and edit one more time before starting to memorize. You spend every waking moment working on your script, because some things can’t be fixed in post-production.

You fret over what you are going to wear and over the rehearsal that went great this morning but really shitty this afternoon.  Then you look into the theater where you will speak.  And if you’re a seasoned speaker, your heart drops a little, because you are afraid it is not a speaker-friendly room.  Creating energy in the space will be a challenge.

But you forget about that pretty quickly as you start meeting people.  The first are your fellow speakers who have arrived early for rehearsals.  You have meals together and are a bit star-struck.  You get to know the TED staff a little better, and you’re thinking they were all Fulbright Scholars by the age of 12.  And now you are utterly and completely intimidated by all the brilliant women in the room.

You go to bed the first night thinking, “There must have been another Paula Stone Williams they intended to invite.  You know, the one who got a 1600 on her SATs and went to an Ivy League university before she discovered the cure for the common cold.  Surely they invited the wrong Paula.”

The next day you meet the rest of the speakers and now you are doubly sure there must have been some curious mistake that brought you here.  Because you are in a room with a person who won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and with the theoretical physicist whose first ever observations of cesium atoms demonstrated a connection between chaos theory and quantum entanglement.  Then there is the civil rights activist who founded the United Farm Workers Union with Cesar Chavez.  And the woman who…well…you get the idea.  By noon of the second rehearsal day you’re quite sure you just need to pack up and go home.

But you realize these people are as interested in talking with you as you are in talking with them, and it starts to occur to you that maybe there is a reason you are here among these amazing people whose bios have some kind of “Top 100 in the World” honor on them.  You still don’t know exactly why you have been included, but you accept it as a reality, which gives you the ability to turn your attention away from your ego needs and toward the things that matter.

You realize the majority of these women are unique, in that they have great confidence coupled with great humility; a lot of ego strength without much ego need.  You remember you spent most of your life with powerful white men, who when they came together, started positioning themselves for power.  But that is not happening in Palm Springs.  Everyone is in this together.  The group is collaborative, not competitive.  These women work from a sense of abundance, not scarcity.

By the end of the second day you are thinking, “Oh my goodness, these people are going to change the world.  They are changing the world!  There is hope!  These women are holding it in their hands! And, oh wait, I’m one of them!”

As for the actual TED talk, I guess Jonathan and I did all right.  I can’t speak for Jonathan, but I was not at my best.  We both asked a lot of ourselves and I was a little disappointed with what I delivered, though the attendees were wonderfully responsive.

It is a complicated thing to do a TED talk with your son, and have the talk focused on the pain you brought into his life and the lives of the rest of your family. It is hard to practice, over and over, the words that express the pain, grief and loss everyone experienced.  It is hard to lay it all out there in front of the women in the theater and women from all over the world who are watching the simulcast.

I came home Friday night, spent Saturday speaking on a TEDxMileHigh panel in Denver, followed by evening services at Left Hand Church, and then went home to watch the raw speaker’s cut of the video.  (And before you ask, sorry, I can’t share that video, and no, I do not know when the edited version will be available.)

Saturday morning and again Sunday afternoon I kinda fell apart.  But I am the luckiest woman in the world because I have friends who hold space for me when I fall apart, and let me cry on their shoulder and speak the words only those who love well can speak.  And then it’s Monday and you are back at work again, and it all feels like a dream.

So that’s what I did since my last blog post.  I spoke for TED and I came home and fell apart and was loved by people who are not much bothered by me falling apart.

Come to think of it, being loved well by those friends might have been the most important thing that happened all week.  Thank you Briar and Jen and Mara and Nicole and Jason and Cathy and the other person who knows who she is who loved me so well in the midst of her own great pain.  You are all the reason this authentic journey is full of such joy.

TED Women 2018 – Showing Up

In two days Jonathan and I will speak for TED Women 2018 here in Palm Springs, California.  We’ve been preparing for months, with multiple rewrites and rehearsals.  The week has finally come.  Our flights arrived yesterday afternoon.

I don’t think I’m quite as nervous as I was last year for TEDxMileHigh, but I’m still plenty nervous.  I’ve gone over the talk so many times it has become pretty boring to me, but that didn’t stop me from forgetting lines twice in my first rehearsal after I got on site here at LaQuinta Resort.  I mean, there is a giant television production truck outside the auditorium, like it’s an NFL game or something.  And inside, cameras everywhere.  Yep, adequately intimidating.

It is true that I have been speaking for large crowds for decades.  But there is a reason you get to speak to large crowds. It’s because you prepare until you’re sick of preparing.  I know of no other way to put together a talk that does not waste people’s time. Winging it is not an option.  I’m not good enough to wing it.  And as today’s practice showed, I’m not even that great at memorization.

Jonathan and I are talking about my transition from Paul to Paula, and how it affected his life.  It’s not an easy talk, just as his book, She’s My Dad, is not an easy read.  But both are good, redemptively good.  I must admit, however, that telling the story over and over is not easy.  With each recitation of our TED talk, I am reminded how much pain my family endured, and still endures.

There is a line in the TED talk in which I say, “But the call toward authenticity asks you to trust that the truth will not only set you free, it will set everyone free.  I decided to stake my life on it.”  And so I did.  My family’s story is theirs to tell.  Jonathan told his story in his book.  I can only speak of my own life.

My life is not as easy as it was before I transitioned.  It is not as comfortable, and I am certainly nowhere near as financially secure.  But I cannot tell you how much it means to live authentically, especially when it comes to my spiritual life.  It’s like I used to see God through a glass darkly.  Now I experience the Trinity – the glory of God, the unparalleled love of Jesus, the mothering of Spirit, breathing hope into my renewing soul.  And then, joy of joys, I get to serve as a pastor, and work side by side with co-pastors who are in love with the same Jesus I adore.

I have a lot of readers who are astonished I am still a Christian.   I remind those people that I felt called by God to transition.  It was that call that gave me the endurance I needed to face the pain and rejection I knew I would experience.  And that call sustains me still.

Which brings me back to TED. As I watched the video crews scurrying about and talked with the TED staff yesterday, I thought, “And why am I here?”  “Who am I to receive this honor?”  Then I saw the welcome sign, reminding me of the theme of this year’s event, SHOWING UP.

Ah yes, that’s why I am here.  Because I dared to show up. And Jonathan dared to show up with me. We both lost our standing in the denomination of which our family has been a part for over five generations. But that was not our decision.  It was theirs.  So we moved on.  Being true to the call demanded it.

Thursday afternoon we will give our talk about the narrow path, redemption, love, and authenticity.  Jubi will be here supporting Jonathan.  Jen Jepsen will be here supporting me.  Cathy will be watching from Jonathan and Jubi’s New York apartment as she stays with their girls.  And if you are so inclined, you might offer a little prayer around 2:30 Pacific Time.  Because to the two of us, this thing is holy – all of it.

A Major Dilemma

Next week I speak at the TEDWomen 2018 conference in Palm Springs, California.  My talk is done and memorized to the point of boredom.  Tickets have been purchased, rooms booked, and prayers requested.  Only one thing remains.  What to wear?

When I did my TEDxMileHigh talk last winter I wore a pair of Old Navy Jeans and a red sweater to one of the rehearsals.  The curator said, “Yes, that!”  I paired it with a scarf Jen Jepsen got for me at one of her favorite shops in Gunnison.  I added my red Tieks (okay, it is possible I am addicted to Tieks) and that was it.  Nice and simple, like a Colorado female.

This time I’m not speaking in Denver.  I’m speaking in California.  And this isn’t TEDx, wonderful as TEDxMileHigh is.  This is TED, the mother ship.

I gave StitchFix a chance to choose an outfit for me, but I think my first stylist was 16 or couldn’t read or something, because all five pieces were the exact opposite of what I requested.  So I wrote a little note to the folks at StitchFix telling them how they’d blown an opportunity to be prominent at TEDWomen, and they promptly sent another fix.  The stuff looked nice, but didn’t fit.

So I booked an hour with a personal shopper at Nordstrom.  She had watched my TEDx video, so she knew what I was looking for.  Unfortunately, nothing fit.  Which was probably a good thing, because everything cost at least a half million dollars.  (I used to buy stuff at Nordstrom, back when I made money.  I forgot how good their cashmere feels.)

This evening, Cathy has agreed to go shopping with me.  Since we split up, we have both agreed that if any kind of major problem occurs, we’ll be there for each other.  Finding an outfit for TED is a major problem, demanding that she drop all other responsibilities, like counseling people in crisis, to deal with my crisis.  I mean, finding an outfit for TEDWomen is pretty much an existential crisis.

I am speaking at TED with my son, Jonathan.  He already has his outfit, a blue shirt and dark blue jeans.  Today he called and said Jubi suggested that maybe he should wear a sport coat.  He said he thought he’d wear his black one.  I reminded him that the camera does not like black, or white, or tight patterns. He said, “Forget the jacket, then.”  Jonathan can say that, because no one cares what a man wears at TED.

Last winter I did a little experiment.  I had a friend look through YouTube comments of four speakers from past TEDxMileHigh events.  Two were men and two were women.  One of the men wore a light tan sport coat and an un-tucked light blue shirt.  The shirt was kinda wrinkled.  The other wore a blue shirt that was one or two (or five) sizes too large.  There was not a single comment about what either man looked like.  On the other hand, fifteen percent of the comments about the two women were about the way we looked.  I never did look at the comments.  I’m not stupid.

Which brings me back to next week.  I’m really tempted to go with an Old Navy sweater I bought on closeout at the end of last winter for $12.99.  (I could have bought 30 of those for the cost of one sweater I tried on at Nordstrom today. Did I mention their cashmere is really nice?)  I’ll pair it with some dark skinny jeans and a pair of my Tieks and call it a day.  Or not.  I mean, it is TED.

There are a few people out there who insist transgender people choose “this lifestyle.”  Yeah, well, if I chose “this lifestyle”, then Donald Trump is the smartest president our nation has ever known.

And so it goes.

We Are A Very Serious Church

I am the Pastor of Preaching and Worship at Left Hand Church in Longmont, Colorado.  As you can see from the picture above, I am a force to be reckoned with.  Therefore, church members would never think of photoshopping a dressed-up dog into a picture of me preaching, and certainly would refuse to do so if it had been suggested by one of my co-pastors.  They know I am serious and in control, always, without fail. I never cry when I’m doing the communion meditation.  I’m as dispassionate and dissociated as a fundamentalist church elder.  After all, it’s just bread and grape juice.

At Left Hand Church, we do everything decently and in order.  Whenever Jen Jepsen, our Pastor of Reconciling Ministries, begins our services with a welcome, she never gets her words tangled.  Upon choking up with emotion, she would never say, “I’m not crying.  You’re crying.”  No, Jen is a professional through and through, always composed, reserved, serious.

Our Pastor of Executive Ministries, Aaron Bailey, would never roll his eyes when the Pastor of Preaching and Worship starts uttering curse words because she can’t figure out how to navigate through Slack or Google Docs.  No, Aaron always treats her with the utmost respect, because as I said before, she is a force to be reckoned with.  And oh yeah, she would never use curse words, ever, in any circumstance, and certainly not during a church service when one child is still in the auditorium.  She is a professional.

Our Leadership Council operates quickly and efficiently, even if one or two people are left behind.  If 10 people quickly reach a conclusion, you’d never find the 11th saying, “But I’m not sure we’ve thought about this one thing…”  And you would certainly never see the group reengage the conversation and after a long and heartfelt talk, reverse their perspective to agree with the 11th member.  No, they are more interested in getting stuff done fast, like a good board should.

And then there are those who do our communion meditations each week.  They are, above all, people who refuse to think on their own, and only repeat the words spoken by real Christians, like Southern Baptist executives and members of Trump’s spiritual advisory team.  They begin their meditations with phrases like, “God said it; I believe it; that settles it for me.”  They would never say things like, “Jesus welcomed everyone to the table, even the dumb ones, the ones who were clueless, and yeah, that funky one.”

Yessiree, we are a serious church, with serious pastors, serious leadership council members, and serious attendees.  Only serious Christians, who have never doubted the existence of God, come to our services.  We only have attendees who know exactly how much God dislikes LGBTQ people, refugees and immigrants.  Our members know it’s not how you live; it’s what doctrines you believe.  A hallmark of a Left Hand attendee is making sure you are good and terrified of hell.  If you say, “God is love,” our members know how to respond.  We say, “Yeah, but how can you be sure.”  We know to be suspicious of the notion God loves everyone, just as they are.

Yep, at Left Hand Church, we’ve got our shit  stuff together.  So you’ll never see a picture of an proud dog in a Cookie Monster costume photoshopped onto the stage of our auditorium behind our incredibly gifted Pastor of Preaching and Worship.  And it would never have been photoshopped there by the newest member of our Leadership Council.  Not ever.

And isn’t that the outfit the pastor wore at her TEDxMileHigh talk?  No, our pastor would never wear the same thing twice.  Because above all else, Left Hand is a very serious church.

Look What Slipped By The News Media!

Over the past month I have become frightened, first by the increasingly racially-tinged and divisive rhetoric coming from the White House, and then by a decision made by the Justice Department last Wednesday.

With Trump’s pronouncements coming at a dizzying pace, many quickly forgot that a few Sundays ago the New York Times reported that the current administration was preparing to pronounce that gender is determined at birth, and all accommodations for transgender people should be ended. Last Wednesday the threat became a reality when  the Justice Department took the first step, informing its employees they were no longer to protect the rights of transgender people on issues related to housing and employment.

That news got lost in the pre-election madness.  The Justice Department’s instruction was not just one more crazy idea tossed to the electorate by an unhinged president. It was the first step of a calculated decision to eradicate the transgender population, perpetrated by the Justice Department of the United States of America.

Now, let’s suppose the Robert Mueller investigation does find collusion or obstruction of justice, and Donald Trump is impeached and convicted.  That would not change the discourse on transgender people. Mike Pence is even more dangerous to the LGBTQ population than Donald Trump.  He is every bit as theologically conservative and morally self-righteous as Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  He would not hesitate to issue executive order after executive order to deny the basic civil rights of transgender people.

I am ashamed about how little I cared about civil rights before I transitioned.  I had all of the “right positions,” but outside of voting, I didn’t do much. I did not write my Congressmen or Senators.  I did not participate in demonstrations.  I did not testify against bills designed to limit civil rights. I was comfortable.  Now I know better.

Regardless of how today’s election turns out, I will remain frightened.  And as bad as it is for me, it is ten times worse for transgender women of color and transgender children, whose vulnerability is exponentially greater than mine.

Eight-four percent of evangelicals believe gender is determined at birth, and there are only two genders.  Sixty-one percent of evangelicals feel the culture has gone too far in accommodating transgender people.  Yet only one in four evangelicals actually knows someone who is transgender.  They have a strong opinion about a population they do not even know.  We have seen that kind of prejudice far too often in American history.  From Irish immigrants to Blacks to refugees from Central America, we reject those about whom we know next to nothing.

When I transitioned, I believed if people realized transgender individuals are as healthy as the population at large, we would be accepted.  The truth would set us free.  I was naïve. A lot of people do not care about the truth.  They care about power.

I am the enemy of those in power.  I am not deserving of compassion, understanding, or acceptance.  I cannot believe my sense of entitlement was so great that it took this long for me to realize just how much peril I am in.

Transgender people only have rights in 21 states.  With a federal government that wants to erase us from existence, we are only as protected as the state in which we live.  I am fortunate to live in a state that protects my rights.  Most transgender people do not.

These are trying times.  The hate and division are the worst I have seen.  I am frightened.  And even if today yields an election result in which one party is no longer in control of both houses of Congress, it will not change the fact that this administration would like to strike me from the face of the earth.

Please, write your Congressmen and Senators and ask them to speak out against the plans of the Justice Department to erase transgender people.  Our lives depend on it.

Oh, The Things I See…

In a Q&A session after a keynote presentation earlier this month, I was asked about my personal discoveries related to gender inequity.  Off the top of my head, I could not formulate a list.  It did not take long to do so afterwards.  In no particular order, here are 12 of my discoveries:

  1. In a business meeting, the best ideas are not necessarily chosen. The most powerful person’s ideas are chosen.

When you are in a business meeting, a female quickly realizes the best ideas are not necessarily chosen.  The most powerful person’s ideas are chosen.  When you are the most powerful person in the room, it is easy to assume your ideas are the best ideas.  Most people are not inclined to challenge you, and your ideas prevail.  If you are an older woman, your ideas will rarely be seen as the best ideas.

  1. I am judged on my most recent performance, not on the aggregate of my past performances. I am always proving myself anew.

I have over 40 years of non-profit experience.  I have been a chief development officer, a president, a CEO/Chairman and a non-executive chairman.  Nowadays, most of that knowledge is not acknowledged, nor is it sought after. I understand this may be more complicated than gender inequity.  It may be because my body of work as a male is generally unknown. Nevertheless, even when only taking into account my work as a female, I find I am judged on my most recent performance, not on the aggregate of my past performances.  I am always proving myself.

  1. My age used to give me an edge. My age now costs me my edge.

When I was an older white male with salt and pepper hair, my presence in a room gave me a gravitas I did not fully recognize.  People assumed I knew what I was talking about.  Now, as an older woman, my age puts me at a deficit, time and again.  It is important to note, however, that I do not experience that in primarily female environments.

  1. In settings dominated by males, I am discouraged from thinking out loud. Speaking up is affirmed only if my thoughts are withheld until I can speak them clearly and concisely. 

As a male of some standing, a room tended to become quiet when I began to speak, and remained quiet until I was done speaking, even if it took me a while to find the right words.  As a woman, I am expected to speak only when my thoughts are well formed and concise. I also am interrupted and talked over twice as often as I was as a male.

  1. I am judged on my looks, and more so by women than by men.

I rarely thought about what I was going to wear when I was a male.  Now it is always on my mind.  Back when I was still looking at comments about my TEDxMileHigh talk, I noticed that about 15 percent of the comments were about my looks. When I compared that with two men and another woman who spoke at the same event, there were absolutely no comments about the men’s looks, and 15 percent of the comments about the other female speaker were about her looks.

  1. As a female, women see me as a threat more often than I ever experienced from other males when I was a male.

This is a puzzle to me.  It may be because most corporate systems are patriarchal.  They do not include many women at the top leadership levels.  (Only 22 percent of Fortune 500 vice-presidents are women, and only 4.8 percent of CEOs are women.) Therefore when women do find a place at the leadership table, they are less inclined to empower other women who come along behind them.

  1. A lot of my time is spent listening to men explain things that I know far better than the man doing the explaining.

Men assume I am less knowledgeable than they are on virtually every subject.  However, if I point that out, I am seen as too aggressive.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a mechanic at a bike shop, or a gate agent at an airport, or the CEO of a non-profit half the size of the one I used to direct.  I am constantly talked over and talked down to.  Mansplaining is a real thing.

  1. I receive fewer work-related compliments than I received when I was a male.

I imagine this has as much to do with positional power as it does with my gender.  But I always received a steady stream of verbal compliments about my work as a male.  As a female I am complimented about 60 or 70 percent as often.  Interestingly, I notice that to be true with my preaching more than in any other setting.  I find that fascinating, since I am pretty sure my preaching as a female is stronger than it ever was as a male.

  1. Regardless of the social setting, I am apparently invisible.

I cannot count the number of times a female flight attendant in first class has leaned over me to refill the glass of the male sitting in the window seat, while ignoring my empty glass.  This does not happen with male flight attendants. Thank God free upgrades are based on miles flown, not gender.  If gender was a factor, I’d never be in first class.  ( I know.  First world problems.)

  1. If I am seen as too feminine, I am ignored. If I am seen as too masculine, I am too aggressive, or I am seen as a transgender woman who “is really a man.”

Until I suggested they stop, some friends would ask, “Was that Paula who showed up at that meeting or Paul?”  I told them that being forceful did not mean I was reverting to my life as a male.  It meant I felt passionately about the subject.

  1. Women with whom I work who do not lead in a typically male manner are ignored in meetings dominated by men.

Brilliant ideas that have been collaboratively created by women working together are not considered unless I use my alpha leadership abilities to champion the cause of the women who are the geniuses behind the ideas.  Otherwise, the ideas of those women never find a hearing.  It makes me wonder how often that happened in my past life, when I did not have eyes to see the non-alpha women in the room.

  1. Sometimes I don’t get the contract, not because I am a female, but because I am transgender.

The most surprising aspect of this observation is the places in which it happens.  I know radical feminists are sometimes resentful of transgender women.  They feel we are just one more example of males usurping power.  But I did not expect to find it in other typically liberal settings. Liberals want everyone to know they are supportive of transgender people, but I believe there is an implicit bias that causes them to see us as less qualified than others.  If I listed these 12 items based on how often they are experienced, I am afraid this would be listed first.

It only took me a couple hours to come up with these 12 observations.  I stopped at 12, but I could have kept going…