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Gay Pride Parade July 1st, 2000
&
Letter from Joanna & Chrissie


* * * * * Notice! * * * * *

Saturday, July 1st, is the local Gay Pride Parade!

If we the trangendered community want to be accepted by the gay & lesbian communities we should participate in their activities and show our support for them. It doesn't matter if you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual; it's a matter of showing support for freedom of choice to live as you wish and be happy with your life. Just as we, the transgendered community, also desire from others.

Let's take pride in who we are!!!

Location: corner of Franklin and Kennedy (Gas Lyte Square) is the starting point. The Rally begins at 9:30 a.m., and the Parade gets underway at 11:00 a.m. And ends up at the Tampa Performing Arts Center, and Playhouse Theatre for shows and concerts.

(*** Click on the link below to read a letter from Joanna & Chris regarding the Parade. ***)

An open letter to Bobbi, below:

Bobbi-

Oh, that's too bad! We managed to get the very last t-shirt for you today. I understand your reluctance to show up someplace where you don't know everybody, for us T-girls it takes an extra leap of faith to put yourself out there in public. Do remember, though, that you would have the "Thelma and Louise" of the TS's as your companions. And these are gay/lesbian people, some of the nicest people you will ever meet or want to be around. You will be a stranger for no more than 30 seconds, and will probably make easily a dozen new friends, and be adopted for life by Mark and Carrie. If you have spent any time at all around the gay community, you know about the instant acceptance that you have. Part of this is being a member of an out-group that is spurned socially by society at large (remember college sociology?), but a great deal of the acceptance is due to a simple fact I have discovered:

Gay people are much, much NICER than straights! More intelligent, articulate, friendlier, politer...just nicer! No other way to put it!

So, can I talk you into it? After all, you are going to be dead a LONG time. You deserve to have some fun, and be a part of a really great family. Chris and I have always done alot of things with the gay community, both before and after we met and became a couple. We have always been accepted, and treated terrifically. (Of course, we both are attracted to men, so that helps!) Neither one of us have ever really cared about hiding what we are - after all we know what we are inside, and we are girls, not guys. I understand that traditionally a TS transitions to full-time and then goes back in the closet, and most of the girls aspire to this.

I guess I just have to ask "Why?"

This is the year 2000 - people are more tolerant than in the past, and most people will respect you if you are honest and stick to your principals and be true to yourself. They may not understand you, but they WILL respect you. And accept you because of this.

When I was trying to pass as a male, there were people who didn't like me for one reason or another. I have now been living as what I should have been - a girl - for over six months. Full-time, no safety net, none of that ridiculous "boy mode" crap, or androgynous look. Just slap on the panstick, wriggle into a skirt, and go to the office, then to the stores, bank, movies, whatever. About the same percent of people that didn't like me before don't like me now. Maybe different reasons - but the point is - it's a wash statistically, no different then it was before. Except for one important difference - I have a MUCH better life now, being what I knew I was supposed to be all of my life.

I suspect the feeling is mutual for you, too. I also believe that you feel the same as I do - and Chris does - that you don't feel ashamed to be what you are and who you are. I'm not going to let shame keep me from enjoying my life, so whether I "pass" or not is not going to keep me from going places and doing things I have always liked to do. And I don't have a checklist to make sure that I'm not doing things that are "male behavior". That is a SUPREME line of crap. (You ought to see some of the stuff my lesbian friends do!) Frankly, I'd rather go out and get read sometimes than sit at home and tell myself I'm a woman. I'm finally free of my past now, and I'm not going back in the cage again. No way, no how.

When I went to work the first week as Joanna, evreybody in the company here in Tampa - all 2,000 plus - knew I was a transsexual. I could feel the stares every day. Heard the remarks, wrong pronoun use, old name - the works. But it didn't matter to me - I went to work every day with a smile on my face. Because I was free at last - free to be right. And eventually people changed, and accepted me. People come down from xxxxxxxx and mention "Gee, isn't this where Joanna xxxxxxx works? That's really special what she did."

Everybody in xxxxx xxxxxxxxx knows me as the transsexual woman, I'll never, ever, "fit in as a normal woman" in this organization, right?

Guess again!

Now I get the ultimate compliments - men talk over me, call me sweety, treat me as a second class citizen, hold the door for me - and I love it! People see what you project - whether they know you are a TS or not. Makes no difference. They adjust to you, life goes on. Any of these girls in our community can have the same thing - only their fears hold them back.

One thing I do know - I could not have done this without the Triangle group - the gay support group. They accepted me from the start, ran interference for me, supported me, stood up for me, and even intervened in the dreaded "bathroom issue" for me. You saw a little last week of how they are. Yes, there is along way to go in society, but I'll be up there on the barricades with them. All of the queers, the faggots, the dykes, the misfits. And if the whole world knows I'm a TS, that's OK. As long as they keep holding the doors for me, and I have a job, and they call me Ma'am - WHO CARES? Some of our sisters need to get a life, quite frankly. And stop feeling so ashamed of themselves. That's what pride is all about.

Standing up for yourself. And not ever, EVER, being ashamed of who and what you are.

And, sisters - get over the passing issue! Anybody who thinks they will be 100% passable, all of the time, is "bullshitting the public". And themselves. Get over it, and get a life, ladys!

So, in case you change your mind, we will hang on to your t-shirt. We will break the ice here in Tampa for the TS community, maybe next year a few more will show up, and then it will take off from there. Being the first is never easy. You take your shots, most definitely. It's not easy. Nothing worthwhile is EVER easy. But the satisfaction lasts you as lifetime.

The next time someone mentions something like wanting to "fit into the normal female population" pick from this list of responses I use:

-"normal" is a setting on my washing machine

-it's not a closet, it's a jail cell. And you are serving a life sentence.

-Why be normal? It's no fun and boring...

-I am a normal, transsexual woman - what's your point?

Besides, there are going to be lot's of "real women" ( a term I despise) at the parade. Most of them are lesbians - do they fit in as normal?

And don't forget the two trannie chicks!!! We'll be there - out and proud!

Joanna and Chrissie

PS - Want to have some fun? Put this letter on the Enchante web site. Should make for a lively meeting next month. (We double dare you!)

Message from the WebMistress: and of course, we will expect to see you at the next meeting girls. I'm sure you'll want to make yourselves available for any questions or comments regarding the Gay Pride Parade and your double-daring letter. :)



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