Friday, April 29, 2011


I recently shared the link to an Op/Ed piece that appeared in the NY Times earlier this week.  The article was titled "Between Torment and Happiness" (read it here) and was ostensibly about the recent incident at a Baltimore area McDonald's last week.  It also wandered into some odd territory about Renee Richards, most likely because a movie about RR premiered at Tribeca last week (article here) - I can't think of any other connection.

I'll admit that the thing that surprised me a bit were the tone of the comments aimed at Ms. Richards.  She has said some fairly controversial things in recent years that seem to continue to cause significant anger towards her.

As for me, although she's said a number of things that I definitely don't agree with I don't share that same level of anger.  Some have criticized her memoir, Second Serve.  In my own journey it was the first book I ever read on the subject that helped to humanize it for me. I hid it in my locker at school and read it in secret.  As a teenager in the 70's who had, up to that point, searched in vain for human stories that contained some of the threads of my own sense of self - it was huge. 

It is not without irony that in her second memoir she indicated that she regretted many of the things that she had done and that my ex-wife used that as ammunitition to prevent me from moving forward in my own journey.  Needless to say, it didn't work.  And, recent comments about trans athletes and competition are seem to indicate a lane-shift whereby her efforts to play professional tennis forced a door open that she would now close if she could, denying deny others that same right.

She lived in an age that was very different than the one we enjoy today and I'm sure that's partly why she feels as she does.  And I can't for the life of me see how I could somehow "judge" her for that or why that might make her a little bitter or disillusioned today. Lynn Conway posted some interesting insight on her website (read it here).

Regardless, she had to endure a lot and for some reason I've thought about what I'd say if I did get the opportunity to meet her one day.  I can think of many things.  But I've come to realize that the words "Thank You" feel appropriate as the first words out of my mouth.

I woke up this morning in Arizona.  My journey here yesterday was not without drama but all I can say is that it felt good to be back.  It's my first visit back since January.  I've got so much on my mind that I woke up at 2am ET a coule of nights ago and the only sleep I had gotten since then were a couple of naps on the plane.  I'm thrilled to have gotten 6 hours of sleep, and I'll be even more thrilled once I've had my first cup of coffee.

At the beginning of this week my life was full of questions - far more questions than answers.  Some of them are logistical (where? how?) while others are more practical (what?).  With so much uncertainty flowing I've very much felt in flux in recent weeks, and that we never more apparent than this week.  However, over the last couple of days, things that seemed cloudy now have direction and the early indications of substance.  It's amazing how things can change over just a couple of days.

I only expect to be here in the Valley until early next week.  I've got lots to do in a short period of time, and then lots more to do between the point when I leave here and the following Monday.  But just as things I've been stressing over are actually becoming real so too will things that need to happen over the next 10 days play themselves out.  All I can say is that my fingers are crossed.  I really don't need a mess-up right now.

One thing has become obvious - my days of "political activism" in the traditional sense are pretty much over.  I'm finally at a piont where I'm not on any boards of directors, where I have no formal ties to any particular organization, and the commitments I make will be carefully selected to fit in with other aspects of my life (rather than the other way around).  There is a meeting today with several trans activists and the White House.  It's something I'm thrilled to see, if nothing else than for the recognition of our needs.  I'll also admit that I'd much rather be here than there.


Anne said...

Hi Donna.

Being somewhat older than you, I was stunned and actually dismayed at the publicity surrounding Renee Richards. At tht time, I was many years post-op and happily married to a very successful businessman that had absolutely NO CLUE about my medical "history".

As Lynn Conway so astutely pointed out on her website referenced by the link you provided...
"Unfortunately, the extensive publicity about Renée's "sex change", publicity which she largely brought on herself, generated a widespread public image of her as a "transsexual" rather than a woman. The mystique surrounding her case widely propagated the image that postop women are not women after all, but are instead whatever "Renée Richards" is."

Perhaps some of the anger directed at Dr. Richards has something to do with the candor that so intimately exposed the bitter regrets and disppointments subsequent to that realization.

However, much like Christine Daniels/Mike Penner. Dr.Richards serves as a sobering example of what can in fact go wrong.

On another note, I am wondering if you would share with us why it is that you much prefer to be here, (Az.), rather thatn there, (the WH TG meeting). I ask, not to be intrusive but I am wondering if I sense a weary awareness of the duplicitiy of the "politics" involved.

Sophie Lynne said...

I sense that your connection to the politics of this is far from over. In many ways, it is more your arena than the wrestling mat, and in this arena you are more a champion than you ever were as a wrestler (and that says a lot.) And you have been an inspiration to so, so many (myself included.)

That said, perhaps now you are better at picking your fights.