Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I was driving to class tonite, and I almost had a car crash in to me. I was driving the usual crowded route with the usual slow spots. I saw the cars slowing ahead of me, so I started applying the brake, pressing down hard as traffic came to a complete stand still. I have a tendency when reaching a sudden stop to then look in the mirror hoping that no one is going to crash in to me. I looked in the mirror whispering “don’t hit me, don’t hit me.” As I did, I saw a vehicle moving pretty fast slam on their brakes and suddenly fishtail. They stopped just short of me.

Typically, one, including me, would be frightened in that type of situation. I’ve been rear ended twice and had a couple of close calls, all the time watching the vehicles suddenly close in on mine.

Once the car reached a fishtailing stop, I broke out in uncontrollable laughter. I couldn’t stop. Honestly, I have no idea what exactly I was laughing at.

Was I laughing at the dumbass that almost ran into me, that I didn’t have to deal with everything that comes with car repair, or because the whole thing probably left the person shitting their pants. (I’m almost laughing again simply typing this.) Or, was it because I “cheated death” this one time? Death has always scared me, but not as much anymore. I guess I’m a lot happier finally being me, and I feel a certain completeness in a portion of my life. I’d rather not die for quite some time, but for now, I just enjoy laughing at people who need to clean out their underwear.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


I met a couple of friends for dinner and a movie last night...specifically, Transamerica. Besides a few inconsistencies, it was a fairly decent movie. I know it’s fiction and things are left out to create a smoother story, thus allowing drama to be created by putting the characters into basically worst case scenarios. Let’s face it, if you made a movie out of a regular transsexual’s transition, it wouldn’t be that exciting a story. Sure, there would be a few dramatic events, but the story would likely have to be told over several years.

The main character, Bree, was excellently portrayed by Felicity Huffman. She did a good job of keeping her masculine voice and finding her masculine side for the movie. The filmmakers obviously had her overdo a few things, but some of it was for comedic relief. The character was also portrayed quite conservatively, with Bree really not having tackled many aspects of transition before her SRS. Again, this is a story, and the main character was forced to deal with many of these aspects in a more consolidated and dramatic way.

Yes, I still wish a transwoman had played the main character, but she would have had to have passed very well to have had the story work the way it did. They did have a few transwomen and transmen in the story, which was definitely a positive aspect to the movie. Another difficult part of this is that many people may think all transsexuals are like this, but hopefully having other transsexuals in the movie will make them realize it was just one, and her story was told that way just for the movie. I mean, let’s face it, pretty much anything you see on TV is dramatized...CSI, hospital shows, Nip/Tuck, soap operas. They take out all of the boring stuff and consolidate it into a piece where the character has conflict to resolve.

Anyway, the movie was definitely positive toward transpeople, and was fairly entertaining.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The sentencing of the men who killed Gwen Araujo

They all did it. They know it. We know it. The judge knows it. The jury knows it. It just comes down to an opinion of why they did it.

man·slaugh·ter n. The unlawful killing of one human by another without express or implied intent to do injury.

mur·der n. The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice.

In my opinion, the accused, and now guilty, party found out she was biologically male and killed her. They found out her little secret and killed her. It seems like simple murder. Manslaughter is more like not paying attention when you were driving down the road and ran over some old lady going thru a crosswalk...that’s manslaughter...not, ‘ooops, how did my hand get a shovel in it and then beat you across the head until you no longer were alive’ manslaughter. It’s murder. It just so happens that not all of the jury saw it that way...although they did for two of them.

Jason Cazares sits next to his lawyer, Tony Serra, on the far side of the accused tables. Michael Magidson and Jose Merel, both wearing county attire, sit next to their lawyers, closer to me. Michael and Jose’s lawyers have requested a new trial, with Michael’s lawyer bringing up their ‘heat of the passion/moment’ defense. It’s the classic ‘gay panic’ defense, and that’s what he’s saying they had to tell the jury...that a reasonable person could kill based on sexual deception. They’re asking for either a new trial or for the court to act as the 13th juror and change the verdict to manslaughter. The Assistant District Attorney disagreed with the lawyers and respected the verdict by the jury. The judge then denied a retrial, and said there was adequate evidence to substantiate the jury’s decision of second degree murder for the two. He denied the request to change the verdict to manslaughter.

Michael’s lawyer made requests for edits to the report, especially those concerning the probation officer’s comments about Michael not capable of being rehabilitated, nor was he remorseful for what he did.

Jose’s lawyer also asked for comments to be stricken from the report which indicated that his client wasn’t remorseful...that he does feel remorseful...in an attempt to prevent his client from being denied parole in the future.

The judge allowed some corrections to the probation officer’s report, but denied some requests to edit or strike comments pertaining to the recommendations.

Next, they allowed family members of the victim to address the court with Victim Impact Statements. Sylvia was first and addressed the court with a very passionate and well spoken speech telling them how her life has changed and how she will never be the same. She said Jaron, Jose, and both of their families have expressed remorse, which she appreciated. She knew they were sorry, but she had never heard any remorse from Michael or Jason, nor either of their families. (It was similar to her Op-Ed article in the SF Chronicle.)

Next was a very distraught sister, followed by the two younger brothers of Gwen whose comments were read by Gloria Allred. Gwen’s aunt went next and expressed how much hate she has for the defendants who had the opportunity to save Gwen, but never did, along with the 3 other people at the party who did nothing. Two aunts followed, the second stating how hard it was to be Gwen - how she was rejected by school, friends, employment, and even her own family - so she didn’t blame her for turning to drugs and alcohol...things that didn’t reject her...just as many adults do when they fall on hard times. She really expressed a lot of touchy topics, especially how much the defendants had destroyed their lives and how much they should pay for their actions. She finished by asking the defendants to tell the truth sometime - to let it out because sometime they will need to tell someone. Another aunt followed. Gloria read statements from another family member. One of Gwen’s younger relatives read statements from another younger relative that contained a number of curse words which the judge soon discontinued.

Sylvia read the final statement from David Guerrero expressing his anger at the defendants.

After a break, Michael Magidson’s attorney was still moving that his client should be granted probation.

Michael Magidson spoke next - saying that the trial was based on lies by his co-defendants, witnesses; and propagated by the defense. He thanked his family and supporters, then read a letter he purportedly received from a gay white man showing his support. He read that the gay man said it was not respectful for people to misrepresent themselves...citing himself as an example such that 'a person with AIDS should always warn their partner' was the same as a transsexual warning their partner that they were trans. The gay man wanted equality, not special treatment, but simple human equality. Michael still showed no remorse.

Jose’s lawyer spoke next and expressed his sympathy and his client’s sympathy toward the family and the loss of their family member...that Jose’s actions were limited to the one night and won’t happen again...that he does not articulate very well, and that he didn’t express the truth during the trial - but protected his friends - and paid for it.

Jose then read a statement expressing his sorrow and that he was sorry about his actions.

The judge them moved forward with sentencing for Michael Magidson. Probation was denied and the crime was based on special circumstances, but did not justify the murder even based on the circumstances. The judge found that Michael wasn’t sorry about his action and rescinded his removal of the ‘not possible for rehabilitation’ that he had previously removed from the probation officer’s report. He sentenced Michael to 15 years to life in state prison. He did not receive credit for time already served.

For Jose Merel, he found him eligible for parole, but that it would not be justified. The nature and seriousness to the victim outweigh the court’s view and outweigh the remorsefulness. He, too, was sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison, but unlike Michael, Jose was credited with time already served. After that, both of them were removed from the courtroom.

Next, the judge moved on to Tony Serra, and mentioned the plea agreement. Tony sought a stay of execution (in order for Jason Cazares to attend the birth of his child), and wrapped it up by saying that he expected the sentence to be carried out according to the plea. The judge denied probation based on the crime and violence against Gwen. Pursuant to the plea agreement, though, Jason pled ‘no contest’ and was to be incarcerated for 6 years in a state prison. He has almost 2 years of time-served credit and will be placed on parole after his time of incarceration. The judge allowed the stay of sentence until March 30th in order for him to attend his child’s birth.

I was rather disappointed that the judge actually allowed this, especially with how much Jason has gotten away with.

I’d love to write more about my feelings I expressed at the sentencing and after it, but they aren’t that positive, so I’m going to leave them out.

I would like to express how much Gwen’s death meant to me. When she was killed on a Saturday evening on October 4th, 2002, I had been on hormones for less than 2 months. When they buried her a few weeks later, I was there at her funeral. I skipped out of work during the day, ran by a vendor for a short period of time, then changed into dressier attire in my car. I went in boy mode since I was still living that way at the time. I met up with a number of other transgender women at the funeral and we all showed our respect for Gwen. A few of my friends went closer to view Gwen as she laid in the casket, but I couldn’t bring myself to do so. I was afraid. I didn’t want to see myself laying there.

After the funeral, I put my work clothes back on, then drove back to work. I cried along the way, but had to bottle everything up as I went back in to work. That period of my life was so hard...having to pretend to be someone else as I searched about for my own identity.

I attended my first Day of Remembrance just over a month later. When the person holding Gwen’s card read off her name, where she was from, and how she was killed, followed by Gwen Smith ringing the bell, the emotion of that moment overwhelmed me like never before. I began crying and couldn’t stop. It was that powerful. It was the first time I felt that way...the first time I felt the amplification of my emotions...possibly caused by the hormones or my own emotional growth as a woman.

I ran into some of Gwen’s family members again when I dragged a friend off to a Newark school event that was a fundraiser for Sylvia.

Over the course of the next few years, I saw Gwen’s family either in court or at the Day of Remembrance activities. Sylvia has done so much for the community as the voice of a loving mother.

Gwen’s death still affects me, and likely always will. I think a lot of people have learned from this event, although the ones who have are likely not the ones who really needed to learn from it...but there are probably a few that truly have.

(For another account of the days event, please see Gwen Smith’s blog.)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The morning after

The past two years I participated as a contestant for Ms. Transgender San Francisco, but last night I was simply an observer at TGSF’s Cotillion. OK, I participated with the Debutante and Guys walk, but that was about it.

Yesterday turned out to be way more packed than I thought it would be just two weeks ago. I wasn’t even sure I was going until TGSF’s president asked if I would emcee the Debutante Walk, which I readily accepted. I knew I would have my class Saturday morning, but made an appointment to get my hair done afterward. The sports team I’m trying to play for decided to call a meeting yesterday afternoon, which added even more to the mix.

As I was getting my hair done for the evening, my hairstylist and I got on the conversation of breast implants. She said she had her’s redone by a guy in the city who did all of the strippers. Dr. Gray’s name came to my mind, and when I mentioned that he did mine as well, we were able to chat about our experiences. She had hers redone last year after realizing that her initial ones (from another surgeon) were not looking so good due to a variety of reasons. She said that Dr. Gray had them looking perky again, although she had a little issue with the scars from the breast lift and the implant slipping too far down...which he was going to take care of. Still, I find it amazing that we both went to the same surgeon....small world.

Remember that tight red dress I squeezed both myself and my boobs into this past week? Well, I wore it Saturday night as I had planned, and yes, right away, I felt it’s effects working...quite strongly. Ripley, a guy I met almost as soon as I walked in and who I hung out with for a lot of the evening, was mesmerized by my breasts gently peeking out from the top of my gown....and he says he didn’t even like girls.

Slightly before the evening began, though, I found out that Donna Sachet, the co-emcee, was wearing the same dress as me. I popped in backstage to check, and sure enough, we both were. Lenny, the other co-emcee, giggled at the coincidence. I jokingly told her I was her ‘mini-me’. Small world, huh?

After intermission, I was the emcee for the Debutante and Guys walk. I mentioned the thoughts that ran thru my head four years ago when I walked across the stage for my very first Cotillion...how I felt excited and nervous, but proud to finally be me...amongst people who were supportive and tolerant. I was honored to welcome each one to the stage and read their name as they walked a path few will ever take.

Before I went on stage, though, Lenny grabbed me and mentioned they’d like to do a little skit based on the ‘mini-me’ theme. Since Ripley looked sorta like a mini-Lenny and was dressed in a black tux, he instantly became my escort for the skit. He and I both entered center stage with me on his arm. Lenny and Donna both played on the situation, and hopefully everyone got a good laugh out of it. Lenny dragged Ripley off stage with him while I stood with Donna for a few seconds...then ran off behind the curtain again.

Later, Ripley and I watched the final portion of the Cotillion, as Mr. and Ms. TGSF were selected. For the second year in a row, a Jennifer won. Congratulations to her and may she enjoy the next year as Ms. Transgender San Francisco.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Five Years

My boss treated myself and a number of coworkers to lunch today in order to celebrate my five years with the company (which also basically marks my five years in the Bay Area). Only one other person in our celebration had been there longer than myself, with one of the others starting just a few weeks after me.

Five years. It sounds like a long time, and yet, it seems so short. I’ve been here 1/7th of my life...a life that has changed so much in that amount of time. Back then, I had short hair, no chest, was plenty hairy, and was still living as a guy. Oh, I also had the male equipment. Now, the facial hair is pretty much gone, my hair is long, I have recently enlarged breasts, my body hair is minimal compared to what it was, and I’ve been living as a woman for the past two years...almost a year with girl equipment.

Five years ago...I wasn’t dating anyone, nor even considering the possibility of dating. Now I am.

Five years ago, I wasn’t quite sure where I was going in my career, but it held promise moving into the biotech field. Now, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up.

Five years ago, I was starting to ramp down on racing. My triathlon career, although seasonal, basically stopped. I still rode my bicycle for about two years after moving here, but when things started growing and I still had Junior to hide, I basically decided to halt any rides. I still continue to run...something that has been my stress relief for the past 22 years.

Five years ago, a radio station started up that played music I liked. We both arrived in the Bay Area around the same time. On New Years Day, it disappeared...replaced by romantic Spanish songs...apparently the decision by higher-ups. The radio station, KARA, disappeared a few years ago, as well. I was going to use it as a way to say my name properly since it’s rhyming nickname was ‘KARA in Santa Clara’. Anyway, I mentioned the disappearance of my favorite radio station to a friend, who hinted that maybe it was a sign to move on...in whichever direction I chose. Perhaps it is, or perhaps it is just an opportunity for me to reflect on which direction I want to go.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My boobs don’t fit

In preparation for this weekend’s Cotillion, I tried on all of the gowns hanging in my closet. From the ones I feel comfortable wearing this Saturday, none of them fit. My boobs are too big. I just can’t squeeze both my body and boobage into them. I squeezed into the variety of size 6 and 8 gowns I’ve purchased for formal affairs in the past, but now they’re all a bit too tight.

So, this was as good a reason as any to go buy another gown. In the past, I mainly squeezed into 8’s, but I was lucky enough to squeeze into a 6 last year. As I was shopping tonite, I saw this gorgeous red gown. I found a size 8 and ran off to the dressing room.

It was a little tight zipping it up, but I was able to squeeze my boobs in pretty comfortably...as in, my cleavage will be showing. And it hugs the body pretty nicely with it’s ruffled pattern. Causing trouble on Saturday night...yes, perhaps so.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ranting and Raving

I saw Pam last night. She’s visiting Barb for a little while as she recovers from FFS. During our conversation, we also talked about breasts.

While we were eating dinner, she also asked me why I don’t drink. I have been asked this a lot over my life, and frankly, I’ve grown tired of the question. l lied to her, and after the response of telling her that I was then lying to her, I felt really bad about such a lie. I shan't do it again. I’m sorry.

Unfortunately, I have seriously grown tired of the usual questions. Most of the questions revolve around my not conforming to the masses. Why don’t you drink? Why don’t you believe in God? Why aren’t you straight? Why do you run? And lately, the most annoying question has become ‘are you thru with all of your surgeries now?’

Frankly, it’s a wonder I haven’t started lying that much before now. So, here are the answers...please stop asking me, ok? I’m tired of dealing with them. I’m just me...deal with it.

I don’t drink because I don’t.

I don’t believe in God because I don’t.

(...although I do believe there may be some sort of afterlife that definitely does not incorporate some bearded guy guarding a pair of pearly white gates.)

I’m not straight because I’m not.

I run because I can.

I don’t know if I’m finished with surgeries because I don’t know.

I’m finished for a while (which really defeats the definition of ‘finished’) because I don’t have enough money to do anything right now. I’d like to have my nose revised, my chin/jaw slightly revised, the hardware removed from my chin, and my vagina slightly tweaked. It will all have to wait...or I will simply reach a point where I don’t care anymore.

Happy? Good...me too.

OK, thank you for allowing me to vent. Yes, I’m finished with the major surgeries...they’re finally done. The GID has become nothing more than a faint memory. It’s even weird thinking back that I had a penis less than a year ago, but I did. So, there are no major surgeries currently planned or even on the drawing board at this time. I’m hoping to visit the dermatologist once my tax refund is in my checking account, but that’s about it in terms of voluntary doctor visits.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Still Discovering

I’ve spent the past two days at CUAV’s speaker’s bureau training. The organization has a proactive program in place to promote an end to hate-motivated violence. To accomplish this, they send out public speakers to San Francisco District Schools to talk about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer topics. Most of the speakers are LGBT or have LGBT family members.

Connie, whom I have met at various events since Gwen Araujo’s murder, is the main contact at CUAV. She mentioned her speaker’s bureau training to me a number of times, but every time it came up, I had something else going on. This was the first time I was finally able to make it...and I’m glad I did. I met 17 other great individuals that were going thru the training as well. CUAV has really been short on the numbers of speakers lately, so they really need the increase. In fact, they’ve had more requests for speakers than actual speakers available. Hopefully this will allow them to fill their ranks a little better.

In our training, though, we had a wide variety of people, cultures, and races. There were lesbians, gay men, transsexuals, genderqueer, bisexuals, questioning individuals, androgenous...you name it, we had it. During our two day discussions and training, though, I finally came to realize something:

I’m not bisexual.

I guess I used to consider myself such, but it wasn’t until this weekend that I finally realized that I like more than just men or women. Gender is not a constraint. I also do not like confining myself to the gender binary. Why limit oneself?

So, what am I? Well, like an omnivore that eats both meat and everything else, I figured I would be an omnisexual. It just sounds so cool. When I looked it up on the internet, it appears the synonym is ‘pansexual’, but that sounds kinda weird.

“Yeah, I’m pansexual....I wanna have sex with a pan.”

OK, so, you can call me pansexual if you want, but I’m sticking with omnisexual. More interesting, though, is that a lot of people that consider themselves pansexual or omnisexual are simply calling themselves ‘queer’. I’ve heard it being used for a while now, but I never really connected on the thoughts behind using it. I thought it was simply about people being gay or lesbian and just wanting to use the term queer instead...but it’s not. It’s a reclaimed word, reclaimed from those using it as on offensive word. It’s come to signify those that do not conform to heteronormative societal norms. It’s about simply liking who you want to like without having to worry about the societal pressures of a man having to love a woman, and vice versa. It’s also about liking people who may not fit the gender binary.

The problem with the word ‘queer’, though, is that not enough people know what it means...thus, I’ll likely use the word ‘omnisexual’, but also refer to myself as ‘queer’ in the midst of friends who might be able to comprehend it.