Transgender Beauty Queen Jenna Talackova

Jenna Talackova

Born to a Czechoslovakian father and First Nations mother, raised in Vancouver, Jenna began her transition at the age of fourteen. She’s best known for challenging the rules at the Miss Universe Canada pageant.  Jenna in the Miss Universe Canada PageantShe had been disqualified from the contest when it came to light that Jenna was a transgender woman. She subsequently won her challenge and was allowed to compete.

She has a television series designed around her life called Brave New Girls, in which she stars.  Jenna is a successful model of runway and print. Being a student of holistic nutrition, Jenna is a vegan and an activist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Jenna is a natural beauty.  She’s gentle and slightly built. Her videos show a soft spoken, kind and thoughtful person.  Drop-dead gorgeous yet unpretentious, she has an easy presence. She is gifted. I like her.

Please let me know what you think of Jenna Talackova.

Marci Lee Bowers M.D. Transgender Gynecologist

I am blown away by this woman.  Dr Marci Lee BowersMarci Lee Bowers is a gynecologic surgeon working in California and Washington State. She transitioned from male to female at the age of 38. She describes her gender dysphoria as her birth gender conflicting with her internal sense of femaleness.

Undoing the Damage

Dr Bowers is the first North American gynecologic surgeon trained to functionally reverse female genital mutilation (FGM), a barbaric ritual still performed today in  29 countries in Africa and the Middle East.  At least 130 million girls have undergone this procedure and, according to UNICEF, as many as 30 million more girls under 15 years of age are at risk.

Putting an End to Female Genital Mutilation

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared February 6th every year as International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM.  This year Dr Bowers’ announced her goal to see the end of female genital mutilation in her lifetime.  Moving toward that goal requires honest communication about sex and sexual identity, she said.

People of this world are slowly awakening and becoming conscious of the many inhumane and unjust treatments inflicted upon those most vulnerable among us.


Dr Bowers has made and continues to make an enormous impact on humanity, none of which could have happened if she had succumbed to the obstacles placed in her way by an intolerant society during the time she was struggling with her gender dysphoria.

Success for one person equals victory for everyone.

I love to celebrate the people who reach out and make a huge difference in this world; those who are part of the solution. Please take the time to learn more about Dr Marci Lee Bowers and leave your thoughts on this post below.  I’ve also recommended books I found on Amazon on the subject of transgender youth and women, as well as a video with references to Dr Marci Lee Bowers entitled Trans Generation. Just click on the picture and it’ll take you there.

Toward a kindness-based life.



Raffie Freedman-Gurspan Brings New Resources for Transgender Individuals

New Resources for Transgender Individuals

A rare opportunity has arisen in the civil service arena for transgender folk who aspire to a career in government. Ms Raffie Freedman-Gurspan Transgender White House Appointeehas accepted her appointment to the position of White House Outreach and Recruitment Director for Presidential Personnel.  This title sounds like she has her foot in the door and she’s keeping it open for any other transgender White House staff aspirants who want to apply. This could be a great opportunity for you or someone you know!

A Long and Winding Road

Long and winding roadBorn into poverty in Honduras, Martin was adopted and raised in Massachussetts by a Jewish single mother, Marion Freedman-Gurspan. Marion noted her son’s expression as gay when he was about 12. Martin attended junior college in Norway where he gave himself the opportunity to transition into her true gender. Upon graduation she returned to the United States as a woman named Raffi. Once back in the U.S. Raffi took a Liberal Arts degree at St Olaf’s College in Minnesota.  Her passion for LGBT activism was satisfied at the National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington DC. where she acted as Policy Adviser focused on immigration and employment equality for transgender individuals prior to her appointment to White House staff.

Raffi’s mom, Marion, contributed her story of Raffi’s transition to a book entitled Transitions of the Heart, available here. The chapter name, starting on page 7, is Discovering Raffi.

Raffi’s story is a story of the power of love. Born into poverty, given up by his biological parents, a latino immigrant boy child adopted and raised in the a single mother. This could have been a recipe for disaster but for the love and acceptance afforded by Marion, the devoted single mother who believed in a successful future for her daughter, Raffi.

If you’d care to leave your thoughts on this article please do so below. I’d be delighted to hear from you.

In kindness,



Coming Out as Transgender – “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” – Lao Tzu

Living the Lie

To come-out as gay, to come-out as transgender, or to come-out as a survivor…. means that we’re leaving the lie behind.  Childhood is filled with honest delights.  When we became caged by our secret we could no longer allow anyone to know our truth. We lived many many years, decades even in our constructed life, never relaxing, never telling the truth, sometimes longing to share this heavy burden with someone but feeling too ashamed, embarrassed and confused to allow it.  Then, one day you come-out.


Doesn’t “come-out” sound like way too calm a way to describe an event that is being delivered with the force of so much pent-up emotional energy? This day has been brewing for a very long time. It’s been planned, rehearsed and longed for.  I visualize an egg shell cracking open to make way for the emergence of new life. Empty Prison CellI see an angry person kicking the door off the hinges of a locked room. I envisage a slave breaking away from chains of lies and being free now to tell the truth.  Laying down the burden of lies.

The Burden of Truth

You are free.  Free to be you. Who are you?  You are the person who’s been there all along, waiting for her turn to stand up, to speak up, to show up. You are Spirit. Next, you are gender. Gender is a sensibility, a feeling, a knowing and last you are your physical body whose genitals might one day reflect your gender. Along with this new found freedom to live your truth is the burden of social resistance to your truth. Seems we have to struggle every inch of the way.

The Awkward Conversation

Why do they always want to know about the “operation”. Why are they so curious about what’s down there.  Easy!  They immediately begin seeing you “doing it” and they have to start filling in the blanks like who are you doing it with, a man or a woman? Does that make you gay or straight? I know that the surgery gives you a vagina, but what about your prostate, what happens to that?  Initially this conversation is awkward but it really is an important one to have if the questioner is someone you care about.  It’s healthy to be curious and a good and honest conversation, if you’ve got the stamina for it, helps to dispel ignorance and that, my friend, can only help the cause.

If you have thoughts to share about this post or any other, please leave them below.  I’d love to hear from you.

In kindness,



Transgender musician, songwriter and music producer, Laura Jane Grace

If Janis Joplin was pretty you’d have Laura Jane Grace.

Laura Jane Grace sitting on a sofa

Laura Jane Grace

She has that wonderful raspy voice, earthy stance and deep sensitivity of Janis when she’s singing. Laura began her music career in punk rock.  The genre answered her needs of rebellion against society at large and her portrayed gender in particular.  She freed herself in 2012.  She still leads her band “Against Me” in the recording studio where they record under their own label called Total Treble Music and on the road touring the US in concerts.  Their solid fan base have been buying their 6 plus albums and attending concerts since 2005.

Laura has a colourful back story full of struggle and strife with the “authorities”.  Now that she has released herself from gender bondage she seems to be taking a more positive approach to making it right.  She recently recorded a “back yard session” with Miley Cyrus and Joan Jett to raise funds for Miley’s newly founded charity Happy Hippie Foundation established to provide shelter and other benefits to homeless transgendered youths.

Although Laura’s transition has really just begun, she seems really comfortable with who she is on the outside. Laura continues to be a devoted father to her daughter and works with her wife to raise their little girl with love and support.

I encourage you to read about Laura in Rolling Stone Magazine and other similar publications and hear her music.  Laura Jane Grace is a pleasure to listen to and exciting to watch on stage.   Her songs are meaningful and she’s showing up as a force for good.

Transgender Movie Director, Lana Wachowski

“When I was young, I wanted very badly to be a writer, I wanted to be a filmmaker, but I couldn’t find anyone like me in the world and it felt like my dreams were foreclosed upon simply because my gender was less typical than others.”

Lana transitioned in 2002 and went on to team up with her brother to direct the Matrix trilogy of movies which starred Keanu Reeves.

Lana Wachowski and brother Andy

Lana with brother Andy

Attending a Human Rights Campaign Fundraiser, Lana spoke of her life as a child and young boy growing up and the harsh experiences she had that molded her into who she has become today.  The quote above is taken from that speech and you can read the rest of it in the link below.

Read more:

I encourage you to read about Lana and get to know her and her work.  Because she was able to complete her transition and get on with her life, in addition to her contributions of talent in the world of cinema, Lana is also a productive advocate for the transgender youth movement.

Caitlyn Jenner preparing to help the transgender community

Caitlyn’s Journey

Today I watched the first episode of I Am Cait. She spent a few days with some very interesting transgendered ladies from as far away as New York State.

Caitlyn Jenner's $3.5million Malibu Beach home.

They chatted, and got to know each other in Caitlyn’s lovely Malibu Beach home.

Caitlyn was the newest to transition and expressed most concern about the pitch of her voice and her unreadiness to be seen in a swimsuit. Join the club, Caitlyn!  The other ladies were many years into it and were very comfortable with who they were.


The Hostess with the Mostess

Caitlyn hosted the ladies in Los Angeles then they traveled together in a hired tour bus to San Francisco to visit with the Human Rights Commission and listen to the stories of a couple of transgendered women survivors of sexual abuse, assault and discrimination.

Homeless Trans-woman

These women were typical of economically challenged trans-women. Many are homeless-chronically unemployed, emotionally challenged and are forced to earn a meager living in the sex trade. This community’s needs are great and it is looking to Caitlyn to provide the long awaited celebrity voice, no matter how gruff, to educate and inspire sympathy from the public.

The Blinders of Privilege

One of the guests was Jenny Boylan, national co-chair of the Board of Directors of GLAAD, the media advocacy group for LGBT people worldwide. Ms Boylan expressed some concern about Caitlyn’s privileged life dimming her ability to see clearly and appreciate the tribulations of a lower placed transitioning woman.

V.I.P. Name Tag

I admit that Caitlyn did come across a tad spoiled and I might be mistaken but I even think I spotted….dare I say it, a hint of chauvinism. It’s bound to happen. It’s a straight male entitlement that unfortunately isn’t affected by hormone therapy but it’s something that Caitlyn’s going to have to work on along with the pitch of her voice.


Becoming a woman is not an easy transition. Being a woman isn’t easy either. It’s not all lipstick and pantyhose. It comes with many trials. We often cannot protect ourselves and are frequently the target of assaults both physical/sexual and emotional.

Sometimes it feels like there is a war being waged against women in generalwords of aggression and that’s why trans-women are attacked with such a vengeance.

To be clear, I hold great promise for Caitlyn, that she will accomplish what she has set out to do. There is no doubt that she will make the difference in many lives through her advocacy, love and strong but softening voice.

She has my total support.
Wishing you all and Caitlyn a kindness based life.
If you have something to say about this or any transgender issue please leave your comment below or email me at

Chelsea Manning: Lest We Forget

Remember Chelsea Manning –

legal appeal latest newsChelsea Manning Portrait

I just watched an interview with Nancy Hollander, the lawyer representing Chelsea Manning. In 2013 Manning was sentenced to 35 years in military prison for disclosing classified information to Wikileaks while Manning was working for the United States Military in Iraq.  Ms Hollander says the punishment doesn’t fit the crime and is leading Chelsea’s appeal. 

Who is Chelsea Manning?

If you are not familiar with Chelsea Manning’s story, I urge you to read up.  I have my own opinions of the crime’s she’s said to have committed but that’s not the focus of my blog.  She’s an interesting and valuable human being and worth keeping up with. 

Chelsea Manning

In this undated photo provided by the U.S. Army, Pfc. Bradley Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick. Manning emailed his military therapist the photo with a letter titled, “My problem,” in which he described his issues with gender identity and his hope that a military career would “get rid of it.” (AP Photo/U.S. Army)

During the time she served in the ranks she presented as Bradley Manning, a young male soldier.  It was during her ordeal of pre-trial torture and shortly after the trial that she was moved to reveal her true gender.  It was ironic that in the midst of her confinement she exercised her freedom to be honest, transparent and authentic. She announced her name as Chelsea Elizabeth Manning and so began living her truth.

“As I transition into this next phase of my life, I want everyone to know the real me,” Manning says. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.

According to a memo obtained by USA TODAY, it’s a first for the Army, Chelsea Manning has been approved for hormone therapy for transition to a woman at the Army’s Fort Leavenworth prison.

Chelsea has been confined for 5 years now but she is very active.

Writing in the Guardian last December, Manning set out her view of gender identity as one of the great civil rights issues of modern day.

According to the editor in chief of Guardian US, Katherine Viner, Ms. Manning will write on war, gender and freedom of information.

In addition to being a contributing opinion writer for the Guardian, Chelsea has also given her first full length interview to Cosmopolitan Magazine.

To your kindness-based life.


Transgender Troops in the Military

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”

― C.G. Jung

Who do you feel yourself to be?  How do you see yourself?  What is true for you?

According to USA Today the Department of Defense has begun the process of dismantling the ban on transgenders serving in the military. Issues concerning uniforms for transgender troops, medical services, morale and housing will be among the topics to be discussed.

Transgender ban in the military is addressed

Downward view of multi-tiered narrow staircase clad in checkerboard tile ending with a sign that reads Please Watch Your Step

As important as it is to have these conversations, it still sounds like the transgendered person is the third sex.  I realize that the institutionalization of transgendered people translates to the normalization of transgendered people and to quote Martha Stewart, “that’s a good thing”. But I wish there was a way to address this issue without it sounding like we are dealing with a third sex.  There are already women in the military.  That means that people who are in male to female transition will assume to be female. As such she will be addressed in the feminine, issued the normal female kit and be sent on her way. Done!  Same for female to male transition only in reverse.

When you think about it the normalization of transgenders in the military will go a long way to eliminating the fear and ignorance that put the ban there in the first place. I’ll resist the urge to quote Martha again.

Another institution is in the news these days.  A penitentiary in Rio de Janeiro is rewriting the rule book on transgender inmates with special attention given to their protection and choosing the correct population for them to join.

If you want to share your opinion on these topics, please leave your comment below.

To a kindness-based life.

Caitlyn Jenner’s Courage Awarded

I watched Caitlyn Jenner accept the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage on TV the other night.  More importantly I listened to her acceptance speech. My God I was impressed.  She was beautiful to behold.  She was glamorous old Hollywood.  She was articulate, caring, humble, and grateful. Her presence was HUGE.

The statistics she quoted were staggering. For example, transgendered people are sexually assaulted 66% more often than non-transgendered people.  Most of these survivors are living with post-traumatic stress disorders.  Transgendered people are beaten, murdered and commit suicide more often than non-transgendered people.

Caitlyn made me sit up and take notice.  She is here to make a difference.  She is here to make up for lost time. Her mission and purpose are crystal clear. Her message was one of acceptance; inclusive, margin-less acceptance of trans-gendered people in general and trans-gendered youth in particular.

Caitlyn Jenner accepting her award for courage

Caitlyn Jenner accepting her award for courage from the Arthur Ashe Foundation

In closing she said  “Trans people deserve something vital, they deserve your respect,” she said. “From that respect comes a more compassionate community.”


Wishing you a kindness-based life.



You can always reach me at

Trans Sexual Rights in New Zealand

I just read a news story telling of a department store in New Zealand called Farmers that is instating “non-specific” change rooms in their clothing departments and retraining the staff to provide sensitive customer care.  These actions are in response to the mistreatment of a trans woman named Mary Haddock, a prominent media personality there.

Mary Haddock -Staniland

Mary Haddock-Staniland

On the one hand, one might think that Farmers is making a forward thinking progressive business decision by creating and naming this changing room space “gender neutral”. On the other hand this approach is not helping society in making the leap to accepting whatever gender  I am  expressing and welcoming me into the restroom or change room that matches it….no questions asked.  I believe that should be the ultimate goal in our evolution as humans.

Either way there is nothing “neutral” about trans-women.  The trans-women I know are very clear and leave no doubt as to what side of the gap they live on.  Their feminine spirit could never be construed as neutral.

As for training service staff, I send Farmers my kudos.  Brand representatives (service staff) must be authentically kind, caring and helpful to everyone all the time. That is what “service” means.  This is basic common sense.

Here’s to a kindness based life.


Your comments on this topic or any other are always welcome below.

You can always reach me at

Trans Woman Secrets to Loving Yourself

We are all born with a perfectly clean slate.  It isn’t long, however, before we begin to become aware of perceived shortcomings.  It comes as no surprise, then, that as adult trans women we find it so difficult to love ourselves.  Louise Hay shows us the importance of loving ourselves and teaches a technique to use to develop that love.  She calls it the “mirror technique” and it simply requires that you look into the mirror, into your own eyes, and tell yourself that you love yourself; that you sincerely and deeply love yourself.

transwoman looking at her face in a mirror

Transwoman using the mirror technique.

Now, initially, this is not an easy thing to do.  For one thing you don’t believe it when you say it.  Your mind wants to argue about it. It wants to point out all your flaws and remind you of all your foibles and past faux pas. But, gradually, as you practice every day you begin to believe that you are loveable and that you do really and truly love yourself.  You form a new habit of self love and respect.  You begin to hold yourself differently as you move through your day and you begin to expect to be treated well all the time by whoever you meet.  Your confidence level rises.  Your renewed unconditional self-love then overflows into all your relationships both intimate and casual and allows you to easily show love and respect for others while judgement and cynicism fall away.

As you practice living your feminine truth you discover that you have to be your own best friend.  You have to be able to depend on yourself to pick yourself up when you falter.

Heart full of "I LOVE YOU"

I love you

You will need to quickly forgive yourself when you err and step back into your confident woman self without hesitation.

Womanhood is not an easy role.  A woman might be a rocket scientist but she’s seen superficially first as a woman.  We are under a microscope most of the time.  We are judged, categorized, and labeled. We are not all pin-up girls.  Glamour doesn’t come easily for all of us.  We have to work at it, some have to work harder than others.  But underneath it all where love lives, beauty shines forth.

It won’t be covered or stifled. Love for self and others is impossible to hide. Like attracts like and love attracts love.  It’s the only way to live.

“Just be, right now, here; and breathe. Begin to trust the magic of yourself.”  — Nikki Rowe


You can always reach me at