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Celebrate in untraditional ways with ceremonies crafted to meet your individual expression of life passages and transitions.

Joys and Blessings of being Transsexual

Remarks by Evan Lawrence at the Capital District Transgender Day of Remembrance, First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, NY, Nov. 20, 2012

My name is Evan Lawrence, and I’m a female to male transsexual. I always knew that my assigned gender didn’t fit me, but it wasn’t until I saw the Albany Civic Theater’s production of “Jeffrey” in 1996 that I was able to put my complicated gender expression together with my complicated sexual orientation, and find a way to come out. If you remember the play, there’s a character towards the end who is a male to female transsexual. She and her mom are on their way to the New York City Pride March. Mom’s not entirely clear about what’s up with her daughter, but this is her child and she’s behind her all the way. Mom mentions that she’s looking forward to seeing her new daughter go out with men. The daughter promptly corrects her:  “Mom, I’m a lesbian!” Of course the audience laughed, and I did too. A lesbian transsexual! What a mixed-up person!

Then, on my way home, it hit me—that character sounded like the mirror image of me! If Paul Rudnik wrote her into the play, he must have known people like her, which meant there must be other people like me! I had a right to exist! Thank you, Albany Civic Theater, and thank you, Paul Rudnik! I’m just sorry that I was almost 42 before I could put a name to what I am. That’s a lot of years to live an error.

We may sometimes be tempted to feel that being transsexual or transgendered is just one endless round of victimization. To counter that, I’d like to describe some of the joys and blessings I’ve found in being transsexual.

As transsexuals, we get to choose our own names. We may, if we like, change not only our first names to something more appropriate to our true genders, but also our last names. Choosing your name, the way you’re known to the world, is powerful. As one of my therapists put it, you can do things under your new name that you couldn’t or wouldn’t have dared under the old one, with all its associations and limitations.

We get to choose who we want to be. We don’t have to drag our old identity around forever. Maybe this is one reason some people are so afraid of us—we take the liberty of reinventing ourselves, a liberty they wish for but don’t feel they or anyone has the right to take.

We develop great determination as we pursue whatever we need to do to live according to our own definition of who we are.

We learn to stand up for ourselves as we constantly correct people who refer to us by the wrong pronouns and courtesy titles.

We develop great senses of humor to deal with the awkwardness of ambiguous gender presentations. We learn not to take ourselves too seriously.