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To: Melanie XX
I have read your letters and articles in Subversive. I am not TV/TS, but have a couple of friends who are. I have never understood why they felt as they did until now. My hat is off to you for putting into words what my friends have not been able to do. While I may not choose to live as they do, I now respect their feelings and have a different perspective on their lives. Thank you for helping me understand a different circumstance that I personally could not place myself in a position to see or understand. It is a shame that TV/TS is so misunderstood in the American public. I have no qualms about being in public with these friends and am personally amused when they are approached by other men. Do I feel embarrassed? Not really. It is really a unique feeling when you are accompanied by a couple of damn good looking women (and they ARE good looking).
From: Geri VH
To: Melanie XX
Just A note to say I really enjoyed reading your article ((TV or TS - How to tell)). I have struggled long and hard , and find solace in your writing. Because of cultural influences I am having a hard time with self acceptance as I travel toward surgery. Knowing there are others who are happy such as yourself gives me a little more confidence.
Reply to Geri VH:
Thanks for the kind note, Geri. I've enjoyed discovering that sharing my thoughts brings some joy to others. It's always fulfilling to hear from someone who tuned in to what was being said and found common meaning. Society is so cut and dried that it leaves no room for those who wish no definitions or do not fall into existing categories. Unfortunately, most of humanity would be found to be outside society's categories if they were not afraid to speak up. So, the myths are perpetuated and we all suffer under them. Yet, there is the hope that if a few brave people speak up, their voices will blend together and become big enough to be heard and listened to.
Keep that positive attitude. We cannot control the unexpected turns our life will take, but we can start each day choosing for ourselves the direction we will go from here.
Take care and keep in touch,
To: Marsha J
CC: Melanie XX
Marsha, with thanks for your great and gracious efforts, I think it's best to drop me from the ASCII logs mailing. Though I'm active online, I don't feel comfortable in the Gender chats, and do not download your logs.
I'm very comfortable as a TV/CD, and have been so for many years.
My concerns with the gender chat are two-fold:
- I do not accept Melanie's view that I must declare myself to be TS before I can feel, be considered, or enjoy being feminine. While it would be quite easy to make that declaration in order to be accepted, neither vagina nor penis are that critical to me.
- I cannot accept or in any way support the AOL mandatory characterization of what we loosely call the 'gender community' as Gay/Lesbian/Homosexual. Whatever my own sexual orientation may be, I cannot and will not allow AOL to rule that I MUST be G/L/H if I am TV/CD. I commented long ago, and repeat now, that the urgency of our crusade for a forum had us put expediency before principle. [Please note that I said AOL, not GLCF.]
I will, as I have always done, encourage others to stop in for your Sunday night chats so that they may have the privilege of choosing for themselves.
Two thoughts in closing ... Please do not read anything into this note beyond what I have openly said and very carefully phrased. ... Also please feel free to share the note - or its thoughts - with others if you wish.
"male by chance, feminine by choice"
Reply to: DawnSel
Hi Dawn! Sorry you feel as you do. However, you have misquoted me completely. I don't think one has to be a woman to be feminine. Some of the most feminine people I know are men. Feminine and Masculine have NOTHING to do with sex but alot to do with gender. Gender is grown into and not dictated by any accident of birth. I don't know how you could have so misunderstood me. In fact, my entire crusade has been to separate the sexual issues from the gender issues. Gender has nothing to do with sexual preference. It has nothing to do with anatomical sex. Anyone has a right to be, and should be encouraged to be, whatever gender they want.
I concentrate mostly on TS issues, because I am TS. I cannot speak for TVs or CDs because I have not experienced what they have. That is why the forum has always been open to everyone and why I have sought to never impose any of my personal views on anyone else.
If you were to read The Subversive, which I have published for over a year, you would find many articles written for and about the TV/CD community. And, if you had been reading the logs, rather than choosing NOT TO KNOW, you would see that most of the chat revolves around gender issues in general and then splits about 50/50 between TV and TS issues.
Its truly a shame that your preconceptions about what I mean and what the Gender Forum is all about have prevented you from actually finding out. As for the Gay/Lesbian community, some of my best friends are gay. Some of my best friends are TV. ALL of my best friends are human beings. I do not feel that I have to fear the embarrassment of associating with "their kind", as you seem to worry about.
Finally, AOL never offered us anyplace to be. In fact, the only way we have been able to get an authorized place to meet that is not just a public or private room is because the GLCF OFFERED the room to us, without even being asked. They offered the hand of friendship, not to say we are gay - they KNOW we are not! - but to help another minority that is oppressed by traditional societal roles. I, for one, welcome the opportunity to join with others against the common oppressor, for in unity there is strength.
In any event, it is a shame to lose the keen mind and clever conversation that you possess to misconceptions and biases. I hope some day you open up a bit to include more people into your group than those exactly like yourself.
Sorry for the intensity of emotion on my part, but you have been sniping at my heels for two years now, only because my efforts did not completely cater to your needs. Still, I care for you and for all who can drop their attitudes of division, and look forward with hope to the day you may choose to join us again in a common effort so we can all reap the benefits of companionship.
Subj: Mel's response
To: Melanie XX
Thanks Mel, you voice my opinions exactly. I can understand the over whelming feeling of "TS" part of the Gender Forum, but I have never felt shut out by you or anyone else for that matter. It is exactly the opposite, the warmth, love, and closeness of the Community is exactly what draws me to the Forum on a weekly basis.
Thanks - Steph
To: Stephanie2, Marsha J
The main point is, we must always be on guard against becoming so sure that we are fair that we stop checking to find out. It doesn't matter how noble your heart is, fairness can never be determined from only one side of a communication. All parties to an interaction need to be polled. Still, unfairness does not exist just because someone calls "foul". If any individual or group feels put upon, it is their duty to stand up for themselves and say so. But they should not just decry a nebulous injustice, but point out specific instances or examples of attitudes that are not fair. What would be even better are suggestions for improvement that can be acted upon to correct the inequity.
The logs hold a record of all the give and take of the Gender Conference. If one has a feeling of unfairness, one should cull the logs and point it out, rather than closing one's eyes.
I think it is important that each of us, as individuals take an active interest in the direction of the social groups of which we are a part. In truth, as misdirected as I believe DawnSel's comments to be, I find them much more valuable to maintaining a fair forum than the lack of input by those who remain silent.
To quote myself from The Subversive,
"Speak up and be heard,
or shut up and be herd."
To: Melanie XX
Hi Melanie, I recently signed on AOL (again) mainly because Marsha J. is here and its the only way I can get her to talk..(In person shes real quiet)..(Grin)
Any way I am currently writing an article for my VP's column of the Chicago Gender Society newsletter which will focus on BBS's for TS/TV's
My observations, at this time, have led me to believe that AOL is sadly lacking in the area of TV/TS support. I Do not feel that being stuck in an unlisted area of the GLCF is exactly promoting our cause. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against G & L but I believe AOL should have something more directed in our direction....
At CI$ there are the Human Sexuality Sections which have general areas and closed areas. I can find no such area on AOL, perhaps I have over looked it?
CI$ just got over some flack regarding its required labels for TS/TV/TG people....They required us to label ourselves, a requirement not required of any other member of CI$. The main thing was that we were using female names but were male. However they even required Post OP TS's to use the suffix TS or TG, until it was made quite clear that Postops are female (or male as the case may be) and they then offered to remove the suffix upon receipt of a Doctors letter....
any way, enough already... you probably know all this already.
I will probably be leaving AOL since at this time the 2400 baud limit is very restricting for d/l's and until such time as AOL Recognizes our community I can see no reason to be here. There is no TV/TS message base available and I think this would be a good place to start. Sorry for bending your ear, hope to hear from you..
Hi Denise! Thanks for your well-considered comments. You are painfully right about AOL's lack of support of the TV/TS/TG community. However, you are also just as right about the lack of support for blacks, women, and minorities of all sorts. Its not so much that minorities are discriminated against, I think, but that AOL is still suffering growing pains and trying to provide services to the majority of its users first, and fill in the rest when they can. As a result, "special interest" users have found various niches in established areas, used that as a base to grow, and when they are a large enough force online have lobbied AOL for a home of their own with good results. One of the best examples of this is the Gay/Lesbian Community Forum, which boasts 2600 members!
I began the America Online Gender Group just over two years ago in a public room called Gender. We began with three members. Now we have 264. Over a year ago, the GLCF, seeing our efforts and also recognizing a growing force that could join with them in lobbying AOL, offered the use of their official conference room to our Gender Group. With these facilities, we were able to gather up to 48 individuals at a time in full interactive communications - much better than the 24 member limit in the earlier room. The logs of our meetings are emailed each week to all 264 members by our secretary, Marsha J. Also, I began an online gender newsletter about a year ago called The Subversive which is now distributed on Feminet, Compuserve, Fidonet, The Corner, RGA, and three different gender servers on Internet.
Most recently, we lobbied AOL and received a Gender Issues folder in the GLCF Resource Library. We have scores of files listing support groups, medical information, personal stories, etc. This folder is one of the most popular in the GLCF and is growing every week with new uploads. Crossdressers also have a special folder in the heart to heart section of the GLCF.
Now, I admit there are many more services that need to be offered to our users. And certainly there must come a time to have a forum of our own. So, with our history of growth on AOL as a community, it seems the best way to accomplish this is to keep adding services for our increasing membership until we, too, are a force big enough to be recognized. Its a frustrating job at times, but the rewards are the letters I receive from mainstream people with gender problems who make their first contact with others like them here on a family oriented board. And perhaps that is both the strength and weakness of AOL at this time.
More than Compuserve, AOL seems to appeal to middle America. As a result, it seems much more accessible to the novice user. Those who have suffered for years kind of stumble across us by going to the GLCF to see what resources might be available. However, because it is a family board, we have a lot of resistance to "coming out" of our section. Nonetheless, we continue to grow each month at a rate of 15 to 20 new members. I'd like to urge everyone in the gender community to spend at least some of their online time here, thereby contributing to our political clout and ultimately to a forum of our own.
Thanks again for your thoughts, and I hope to see you around. :)
To: Melanie XX
Thank you for suggesting that people keep a journal/diary. I have started to. Not only does it give one something to look back on, but it also gives you a chance to work out some of your own problems on paper.
Also, I have sent for your voice tape today, so you've gained another customer...as everybody keeps raving.
Gwendolyn Ann Smith
Hi, Gwen! That's the fun part about diaries: later when you read them, you can't imagine you ever thought like that. In my diary in The Subversive, each month I transcribe material I recorded three years ago. I listen to myself and the points of view I had and whistle to myself in amazement. We change all the time, but never see it unless we leave place markers and take notes.
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