Today is a Good Day To Die

Originally posted July 1, 2014 with a small revision

I am a soldier to no cause or belief. I am a warrior. I choose my battles very carefully and most of those are within myself. I strive never to live a moment of my life with any regrets, or tasks left undone. If my life in this vehicle of my soul were to be terminated today, tomorrow, or whenever, I want to be able to say “Hoka hé, Today is a good day to die.”** -Deanna Joy

** Battle cry attributed to Oglala Lakota Warrior His-Horse-is-Crazy

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Still Think Trans Women Have Male Privilege? These 7 Points Prove They Don’t

Dolls pic

This article reads like the nightmare I lived in since I was around age five.

Reblogged from everyday feminism

Deanna Joy Hallmark

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To This Day Fourteen Years Ago I Pray

Author’s note: This prayer was attributed once to Saint Francis of Assisi and is now known simply as The Peace Prayer

The Peace Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

Deanna Joy Hallmark

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2015 Santa Fe Pride

Deanna 20`5-05-27 1
Deanna 2014-06-26 2

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“Call Me Caitlin?” I Assure You That You Really Don’t Want to Get Me Started!

A whole slew of new thoughts has arisen since my last installment yesterday with regard to the Vanity Fair cover story of the newly minted and probably photoshopped Ms. “Call me Caitlin” Jenner. Beyond it being exploitive of women in skimpy attire , it promotes a very narrow gender-normative image of the transgender experience and that alone hurts the rest of us while being viewed from the cisgender majority as a big step, if not leap, forward.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the headline “Call me Caitlin.” It sorely fly-mebrought to mind that vintage National Airlines ad campaign which touted the infamous slogan “I’m Cheryl, Fly me!”

The other thing that brought forth my ire was her cheesecake presentation in a swimsuit as if she were posing for the cover of a swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated.  At first glance I was somewhat jealous of  the almost unrecognizable flawless face with not a wrinkle, laugh line or scar to be seen anywhere which made me wonder how much of her was digitally airbrushed with some new and improved software akin to Photoshop™.  I haven’t had any feminization surgery and yet I have been told by strangers that I must have good genes because I don’t look a day over fifty, at least from the chin up..

Next on my list was her more than amply curvaceous figure and I thought to myself that at least my bust is real and perky like a teenager and I don’t have to worry about them sagging anytime soon.  It is hard to believe we are the same age with me a few months older.

One more thing I noticed was they had to mention that she has yet to undergo what was my first and foremost priority which no one will probably ever see except my doctor, a lover  or three and perhaps some of my women friends sharing a hot tub together with bathing suit optional.   And they certainly aren’t going to be looking that closely anyway, if they do at all.

Still I shouldn’t judge her priorities being quite different from mine. After all we trans persons are a very diverse lot which has been my point from the beginning.. Still again you who are not trans wouldn’t think so from this whole media circus.

I am wondering just how many of my well-meaning friends who know me as a transgender woman will be asking if I have seen this latest cover article of Ms. Jenner in Vanity Fair Magazine. Many have already asked me recently if I had seen the two-hour Diane Sawyer interview where “he” still wanted to be addressed with male pronouns and his birth name.  I had missed the original broadcast so after the second or third  asking I went to the internet to watch the Special including the all-too-frequent commercial breaks and I must admit that I was thoroughly impressed with the candor and demeanor of this objectified person of interest. Now all of a sudden, we have “Call Me Caitlin.”caitlyn

If they do ask, unless they are close enough to be considered a trusted friend with whom I have been in intimate conversation about my transition, as I am not one as yet to be so cool headed as Ms. Cox was with her two Katie Couric appearances,  I’ll just probably just settle with “I assure you that you really don’t want to get me started!”

Deanna Joy Hallmark

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Has “Call Me Caitlyn” Cheapened The Transgender Reality For the Rest of Us?

caitlyn

I already posted the following text as a response on my trans sister’s blog Michelliana, but I have decided to re-post it here for those of you who don’t follow her blog.  Since I posted this last night, I have decided to make a few edits while keeping the original intent intact.

I am certainly not the only person, trans or otherwise, who was not dismayed by the Vanity Fair cover photograph of the newly minted Ms. Jenner.  For all she has done to bring the transgender experience into the homes and hearts of millions of people it still promotes a very narrow gender-normative view of the transgender experience while being viewed by the cisgender majority as a big leap forward for transgender equality in America.

In some respects, I had already seen her as a “Jenner-come-lately” but now I have had to ask myself whether the media spectacle has somehow cheapened the transgender experience for Ms. Jenner’s own aggrandizement when there are so many of us that have entered into the process of transition with absolutely no idea if we would ever be able to complete it if we ever wanted to transition at all.

I certainly am not typical myself of the diversity that exists within the transgender reality. My image of myself as transgender fits into the binary male/female view of gender. Until I began transition, I had no idea just how diverse the transgender spectrum could be but I was motivated to learn as much as I could. No amount of educational opportunities will work if the cis majority is not motivated to seek them out.  This kind of exploitive media sensationalism I believe has done more harm than good for the rest of us.

While I am one who by no means had to face the many challenges and barriers that many more will never have any hope of surmounting, I still feel cheated by all the media sensationalism especially with the magazine cover.and all the other photographs I presume accompanied the article. I am likely to encounter some resistance to my transgender viewpoint from well-meaning friends and allies, but will do my best to keep my cool and not take it personally.

Deanna Joy Hallmark

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My Final Word On Memorial Day

As a lifelong pacifist who not only refuses to condone war for any reason and to being coerced to killing people under the orders of a “superior” officer, Memorial Day is not one I  care to celebrate. much less talk about. This year, however, I will make an exception.

The origins of Memorial Day are usually over-looked by most Americans, especially White Americans, as a day originated by freedmen of Charleston, South Carolina in the post Civil War era to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice and who far and large were white. Those fallen soldiers mostly died not from battle wounds, but from disease and deprivation.  The ones that are not so much remembered are the emancipated slaves who died by the hundreds of thousands because they had little or no shelter, food, water nor access to medical services, the basic necessities of life and the terrible price they paid for their freedom from bondage to their white masters.

The Arlington National Cemetery was founded in 1864 on what had been the Custis-Lee Plantation. At it’s center was the imposing Greek revival style building then known as the Custis-Lee Mansion and today called Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial in honor of the Confederate General who had led the Southern cause to their eventual surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, VA, on April 9, 1865   What most don’t know, the  Union Army not only covered the rolling hills along the Potomac river with graves of their fallen comrades,  the General’s former garden was also planted with the remains of the fallen who had died to preserve the Union.

I learned that the reason for burying soldiers in the garden so close to the mansion was to remind the General of all the men and women he was responsible to have been killed during that long bloody war which, if you count both sides, had more American casualties than any war that America has fought before and since.

As I was the one son to be born in Arlington, VA, I was given the middle name Lee which I never really liked but carried right up to my legal name change in January 2012 from David Lee Hallmark to Deanna Joy Hallmark. I kept my family name because of it’s long and somewhat colorful history which reaches back to at least the fifteen century in Britain. The American progenitor to the Hallmark family name was my three times great-grandfather, George Hallmark who was the unacknowledged illegitimate son of Mary Hallmark, which required he adopt his mother’s surname. As an adult he had come to the British colony of Virginia as a convicted petty thief to serve a seven-year sentence as a bonded servant on a nearby plantation from the one from which my middle name had ironically been derived.

You can probably understand why I decided to drop my given middle name of Lee.  I changed the name instead to Joy because of the joy I now was feeling from having finally begun to live my life-long dream as the woman and girl I always believed I should have been.

So folks, that is my final word on Memorial Day!

Peace,
Deanna Joy Hallmark.

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My Loving Supportive Sister

Here is a letter of testimony that my dear sister wrote to the Fairfax County, VA School Board in support of a change to the Board’s non-discrimination policy to include transgender students.  She granted permission to share it.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
To: The Fairfax County School Board
Re: Policy 1450, Nondiscrimination
I am a resident of Fairfax County, and both my children graduated from Annandale High School in the early 2000’s. One of my siblings and I also graduated from Annandale High school, in 1967 and 1970, respectively.
I am very sympathetic to those who are uncomfortable with the idea of trans-gender individuals. I really would prefer this did not exist, and that I wouldn’t have to deal in any way with these issues. But I do, up-close and personal: my brother came out as a trans-gender woman a few years ago, when she was in her 60’s, after a life-time living as a man.
When I look back now, honestly, I see that there was always something different about her—when she was living life as a boy and as a man. She did her best to conform in High School, playing football, being in Drama Club, asking girls to Prom, trying to fit in. She was always a gentle person, to me and to our brothers and had our support when she received low draft number during the Viet Nam War, and showed great personal courage in gathering evidence and letters of recommendation to apply for Conscientious Objector status.
The pressures of social conformity, though, are very strong, and my sister did her best, graduating college, finding work, getting married, rearing a son. Only late in life did my sister have the courage to face her greatest challenge and claim her true identity. Believe me, this has not been an easy process for her, or for our entire family. Any discomfort you can imagine with this issue, and especially about being with a trans-gender person, whether for yourself or your children—I have experienced personally.
Do I wish I hadn’t had to go through this? Yes. Frankly, I wish none of us would have to deal with this. However, even more, I fervently wish that no one should ever have to experience not feeling safe to be themselves. No one should ever have to pretend for a lifetime to be other than who they truly are. No one should ever have to hide themselves in fear, because who they are makes us uncomfortable.
If the laws and school regulations had allowed my sister to dress as and live as the woman she always was, her life—and her entire family’s life—would have been very different. We cannot change the past, but we surely can change the future for all trans-gender people by allowing them to fully express who they truly are. I urge the Fairfax County School Board to include gender identity as a protected class in its non-discrimination policy.
Sincerely,
Linda Beste

If you didn’t figure it out thats me about whom she is speaking!  The measure was passed!

Deanna Joy Hallmark

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A Case of Mistaken Identity

I was thinking this evening back to when my late beloved partner became pregnant with our son.  Because she was 36 years of age, the risk of fetal abnormalities were higher than if she had become pregnant at a younger age.  Our obstetrician recommended an amniocentesis to screen for  any developmental abnormalities.  As  a side benefit of this procedure, the sex of our child could become known to us if we chose.

I was in a community college training to become a business computer programmer and had a conversation with a female student about whether I would prefer a daughter or a son.  For some unknown reason at that time, I expressed a preference for a daughter.  When the results of the procedure came in, it would reveal that we would be having a son.  I was disappointed to say the least and my beloved would try to console me by suggesting that I would be able to teach him to catch and bat and all the other typical boy activities.  I gave her a slight smile but inside I was not consoled as much as I tried to “man-up,” as it were.

That “unknown” reason seems much clearer in retrospect which I suspect had a lot to do with my conflicted feeling of being a son instead of a daughter myself.  Possibly I believed  I would be able to live vicariously as a girl through my daugther.

Life is certainly full of ironies, isn’t it?

Deanna Joy Hallmark

 

 

 

 

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One Picture Worth Ten Thousand Words

“One Picture Worth Ten Thousand Words”  has been long been referred as a Chinese proverb attributed to Confucius. Another modern attribution is to Frederick R. Barnard, who published a piece commending the effectiveness of graphics in advertising with the title “One look is worth a thousand words“, in Printer’s Ink, December 1921. Either way, I now present the equivalent of 270,000 words about my transition beginning with a picture taken on December 15, 2011 with the last being taken on March 27, 2015.

Deanna Transition horizontal

 

Need I say more?

Deanna Joy Hallmark

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