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Friday, October 8, 2010

Judge not...

I've been having a slow conversation through Facebook with a friend from high school. Hopefully she will show up here eventually. But she's a little busy training to be a Peace Corps volunteer, so we'll se.

In one of her messages she wrote:

You have an original voice. I know that transgender issues are understandably important to you, but I also find your posts on other subjects to be fascinating. You write with passion and are able to reduce the macrocosm down to the infinitely human microcosm.


Also, everyone changes as they live their lives. Most of us don't want to be judged, but if we are, we want to be judged by who we are now. As an old high school friend, I would like to see you address this type of issue in relationship to transgender politics.

I'll try to do that tonight...with a little bit of other stuff mixed in.

No, I don't want to be judged by who I was, though I am not ashamed of that person. I led a fairly good life up until the point where I could not do it any longer. But, my oh my, do I wish I had been able to live a life like Oak Reed or Andy Moreno.

Truth is that I was too afraid...afraid of what my classmates would have said or would have done. I was not strong enough to face that. So I waited...and slowly matured. And I learned about who I was, slowly and surreptitiously, to be sure. When I was much younger, this sort of information did not exist...or was so well hidden as to be virtually nonexistent.

And perhaps more than I should have, I've divorced myself from most of my friends I grew up with, under the assumption that it is just to hard for them to understand. I mean, I did attend my 30th high school reunion in 1996, a couple of years after my surgery, but that really didn't go so well, all in all. A few people talked with me for a little bit, but it certainly wasn't necessarily the people with whom I would have preferred to spend time (with a couple of exceptions). Then again, most of them had no idea I'd had a sex change, so perhaps the space between us shouldn't have been unexpected.

I shouldn't judge them based on that encounter, if only for the fact that it was 14 years ago. It may be somewhat ironic that as a teacher, it's my job to judge, if not the students themselves, at the very least, the quality of their work. I strive mightily to make sure it doesn't go beyond that. People shouldn't be how well they do in a mathematics class.

And the person a student is when he or she takes a class from me is not the same as the person they will eventually become. These are, after all, young adults.

Who would want to be judged by who they were as a young adult...or a high school student...or a grade school student...or a child in preschool?

And for those of us who are transgender and/or transsexual, why should we be judged by how we were labeled when we were born? How would you like that if it were you who were so judged?

As a transwoman I am not ashamed of the man I was until I was 44 years old...but I am not that person now. I'd rather be measured by the woman I have been for the past 18 years.

I'd love it if some of my friends from my past contacted me. I know that I have moved so often and had so many upheavals in my life that that I haven't done a good job at keeping in touch with those people.

If I could afford it, I'd love to throw a gigantic retirement part when the time comes and have all those friends who helped me along the way be there. Unfortunately, it is doubtful that will ever happen.

Friends Along the Way

I started out on this
road all alone
Fear and Pain
my only companions
I wondered if
I would lose myself
The road seemed dark
and fraught with peril
Til I found I had
Friends along the way

As the road wound
through hard terrain
I sometimes doubted
my ability to go on
But I fought back
the Fear
and worked through
the Pain
with the help of my
Friends along the way

As time passed by
the road ascended
Obstacles less frequent
but harder to pass
And at times
I needed the
places of refuge
respite and care
offered to me by
Friends along the way

I've come to the crest
of the mountain
I've climbed
As I look down below
I see all of the
barriers crossed
the challenges I met
and the lessons I learned
I will never forget those
Friends along the way

What lies over
the top of the road
There is no
way of knowing
But deep in my heart
From the depths
of my soul
I know that I'll have
The company of my
Friends from along the way

--Robyn Elaine Serven
--July, 1994


  1. Just a little something to muse about.

  2. thanks for sharing robyn. wasn't sure who was left contributing here. I tire of herding cats.

  3. It takes something pretty direct telling me I'm not wanted for me to leave something unfinished.