The groundbreaking trans series Her Story

Her Story is a six episode series that debuted in September 2015 about the dating lives of two trans women in Los Angeles and stars transgender writer and actor Jen Richards, trans entrepreneur and actor Angelica Ross, and writer/actor Laura Zak. Richards and Zak also co-wrote the script.

What makes this series so groundbreaking is that it instead of using cisgender actors to portray trans characters it actually casts trans people for those roles. Moreover, 80% of the cast and crew are women, half of whom were either queer or trans, including Sydney Freeland who directed the series. The quality of the series is a testament to how important it is for trans people to be able to tell their story instead of having cisgender people attempt to tell it for us.

This show touched on so many of the issues trans people face in a way that was both realistic and respectful. There were so many situations and issues that I related to and moments which moved me deeply, such as the scene in episode 2 when Allie and Violet were discussing dating and sexual preference and Violet said “it’s not about them it’s about me.” When I was married I hated sex, it was more like a chore that I felt obligated to perform, and I honestly thought there must be something wrong with me or that maybe I was gay or even asexual. It wasn’t until I began dealing with my gender issues that I finally realized there wasn’t anything wrong with me; I simply was never comfortable having sex as a male. That was a huge revelation to me and I experienced such a sense of relief and felt hopeful that just maybe I could actually enjoy sex now that I was comfortable with myself.

Her Story

Speed of Joy Productions

So please take the time to watch this wonderful series and show your support for it, because the more support it gets the more likely it will be picked up by a network. This is a show that needs to be seen. You can follow the show on Facebook and also on Twitter at @HerStoryShow, and learn more about the show and the people who created it at their site herstoryshow.com. You can leave a comment about the show on their website here, at the bottom of the page. Every retweet, share, and comment counts, so please do whatever you can to support the show and ensure that there will be a second season.

And watch my column Through The Benz at Grooby.com for my upcoming interview with Jen Richards!

The beauty of nature as seen through the camera lens of Becca Benz

Caterpillar picture by Becca Benz! Dragonfly picture by Becca Benz!

I created this blog not only to write, but to have a place where I could post the pictures I’d taken. Photography has always been a passion of mine, and I much prefer to be behind the camera than in front of it. I’ve taken a lot of pictures over the course of my lifetime but never really had anyplace to display them, until now! So I present to you, the collected works of Becca Benz!

Butterfly picture by Becca Benz! Butterfly picture by Becca Benz!

Butterflies have a special significance to me, so when I spotted this one I was really excited as I crept forward trying to get a good angle without scaring it off. I was usually pretty stealthy and able to get up close to get some good pictures. I could not have asked for better lighting, or for better colors, with the bright orange of the butterfly next to the purple of the flower. I was a happy camper when I got this pictures and saw how well they turned out! And very grateful that the butterfly decided to cooperate.

Butterfly picture by Becca Benz! Bug picture by Becca Benz!

It’s pretty amazing what you’ll see once you really stop and look at what’s around you. The sheer number and variety of bugs I saw was astounding!

Bee picture by Becca Benz! Butterfly picture by Becca Benz!

I was never a big fan of bees until we started growing a garden and realized that if we wanted our garden to do well we needed these little guys to pollinate the plants, and from then on I was always happy to see them.

In the coming weeks and months I’ll be posting more pictures of various things, mostly taken outdoors. Everything from snow and leaves and tree bark to rocks and even rusted barbed wire. You never know what you’ll see if you slow down and really start looking at things. There is no magic skill needed for most forms of art, it’s mostly about just looking and seeing. And good light!

Reflections On Glenn Frey and The Eagles

The Eagles music has been a part of who I am for pretty much my entire life. As a kid I grew up listening to their songs on the radio all the time, and learning who they were and about the group. They were the first group that I really got into and wanted to hear more of their music. I still remember going to the music store and coming home with a bag full of new cassette tapes that I couldn’t wait to listen to, feeling like it was Christmas and that I was about to get to unwrap my presents.

Remembering when Hotel California was such a huge hit, and having a bit of a crush on those scruffy haired guys who were living a dream. The infamous squabbles among the band, and then the breakup which left everyone in disbelief that this amazing group could possibly disband and the music would stop. Then the excitement of the reunion and the anticipation of the Hell Freezes Over album and tour, knowing that once again they would be working together to create more magic.

One of the memories I’ll always treasure was going to see the Eagles in concert with my sons. Since I listened to so much classic rock they learned to appreciate it as much as I did, so when the Eagles came to town they were just as excited as I was. It was pretty cool to be able to share something which had been a part of my life for so long with my sons, and that was a special night none of us will ever forget.

Glenn Frey of the EaglesAnd now Glenn Frey is gone, which is hard to grasp. In my mind the Eagles will always the young guys with long hair wearing old jeans and t-shirts. It was hard enough later on accepting that they were middle-aged guys looking a bit older and wearing expensive suits. But to realize they are now old, just like I am, and that they won’t be around forever, is a bit of a reality check. His loss really hurts.

While his memories and the music he helped create will always be with us, it just won’t be the same. The Eagles and the music won’t ever be the same. Life goes on, but it will be a while before I’ll be able to listen to their music without a twinge of sadness, and without shedding a tear or two.

Rest in peace Glenn, you will be missed.

A Special Thank You To All My Twitter Followers

Becca Benz reaches 10K followers on Twitter!I am astounded and beyond humbled to have reached 10,000 followers on Twitter. I want to personally give a big thank you to each and every one of you for following me and for all the love and support you have given me over the past year and a half. It’s been quite an amazing journey and I’m so happy that you all have been part of it with me.

I had known about Twitter but it was not something I had any interest in until I needed to be on social media to promote my new career in porn. So I created an account In October of 2014 and had absolutely no idea how it worked or who to follow, so I just followed a few stores and fashion magazines because they were suggested by Twitter. I patiently waited for someone, anyone, to follow me, but nothing.

I had done my shoot the month before with Radius Dark and I will always be grateful to him for his unending patience in answering the many questions I asked, and if I recall correctly he was my very first follower, and that sort of got things rolling. He told me to follow pornstars and people in the industry like everyone at Grooby, and that helped a lot. I started getting a few followers and feeling less anxious and worried that I would never build up any size following.

And then are were people who friended me and played a huge role in getting me followers by promoting me and more importantly giving me encouragement. I generally avoid naming specific people because I don’t want to accidently forget someone, but in this case I’m going to make an exception. A special thank you to Andy who believed in me from the start when I was doubting myself, to David for being so sweet and getting my name and pictures out to his many followers, to Jason for his unfailing support and being such a gentleman, and to Rob for always being there to listen and help me through the rough times.

So I began to get followers and learned a lot about social media and what an important role it plays in promoting yourself and moving your career forward. And I asked a lot of questions and was fortunate to have a lot of friends who were willing to share their time and experiences with me. I learned the strategies of when to post, what to post about, favoriting and retweeting, and tweeting about people and events to gain exposure for yourself.

I remember reaching my first hundred followers and how exciting that was, and then reaching my first thousand, and how cool that was. I learned the hard way not to be too quick to post about reaching a certain number of followers because there were a few times when I lost followers and would fall below the milestone, only to have to wait to reach it again, which was especially bas because I would post special pictures when I reached milestones.

And yes, I got a bit compulsive about keeping track of how many followers I had, and stressing out when I’d lose followers, but I’m not quite as bad about that now. lol And I always thought it was odd that I usually gained quite a few followers at night while I was sleeping, but it was always nice to wake up to see how many new followers I had. And I will admit I’ve been closely watching the number of followers I have as I got closer to 10,000, and when I was at 9,999 Saturday night I kept waiting to get that one last follow to reach 10K, and when it happened I had a pretty big smile. It’s a neat feeling to have reached such a big milestone. I keep looking at my profile just to see that number – 10K!

It’s been quite an eventful journey. I had someone impersonate me, which while annoying was also kind of flattering. It was always so exciting when my tweets would get favorited or retweeted by someone important like Steven Grooby or a big name pornstar. I’ve had a tweet favorited by Lavern Cox which was pretty cool. And to have The Abbey tweet about me was also a thrill.

Through Twitter I’ve been able to do my little part to make a positive impact in the causes I care about such as helping get animals adopted from shelters before they are put down, and to be a positive voice for the trans community, and to be a good ambassador for the porn industry.

But the one thing I’ve gotten from social media which means the most to me is the opportunity to connect with so many people and all the friendships which have developed. I have gotten to know some truly wonderful people online who have come to mean a great deal to me. To all of my friends, I say thank you for your friendship and for making my world a better place.

So I guess my next big goal is 15K!

The Special Place Animals Have in my Life

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an animal lover, and dogs have a special place in my heart, especially Pit Bulls. We have three pits at home, and while it took some time and convincing before I agreed to allow my son to get one, I now realize what gentle and caring dogs they are in spite of the bad reputation they have. I realize the statistics show that pits have the highest rate of attacks, but I fully trust ours and have no reservations having three of them in my home. They are very loyal and protective, but also sweet and loving and are some of the best dogs I’ve ever had.

Becca Benz's dogs! Becca Benz's dogs!

One of our pits is a rescue dog who was fought and his head is pretty chewed up, but he is the sweetest dog. In spite of weighing 70 pounds he still thinks he’s a lap dog and loves nothing more than to jump up and curl up in our lap and give us lots of slobbery kisses!

The dogs live with my oldest son in another state so I don’t get to see them very often, which is touch because I really miss my babies. Every time I see someone walking a dog I want to ask if I can pet their dog. I need to find a shelter here to volunteer at so I get my doggie fix!

It always amazes me how intuitive dogs are. There were times when I was feeling down and the dogs knew it and would be by my side more than usual like they could sense that I needed them. I’ve always said that dogs are by far the best form of therapy, and so much cheaper than going to a shrink!

Becca Benz's dogs!

My youngest son and I volunteered for six years at a rescue, which was such a rewarding experience but was also difficult in many ways. We spent a lot of time in the quarantine area where there were so many pit bulls who had been fought. It was horrible to see the damage that some of these dogs had endured, and the worst part was knowing it was intentional. I have a difficult time understanding how anyone could abuse an animal, and it’s sickening to realize how prevalent dog fighting is. But even after having been fought most pits were still sweet and loving and maintained their gentle demeanor. It was heartbreaking how many pits were put down even though they would have been a great pet for the right family, but unfortunately they never got the opportunity.

Thankfully more and more shelters are going to a “No-Kill” policy, but there are still too many shelters which are unable to adapt that policy because of funding issues and over-crowding. Which is precisely why it’s so important to get your pets spayed or neutered so that they don’t continue to breed and produce unwanted litters of animals which end up being taken to shelters, or even worse left on some back road where they suffer a miserable death.

It was very encouraging to hear that beginning this year the FBI has now bumped up Animal Cruelty charges to a felony level, which means that it is now categorized the same way as a homicide or arson. This is important not only for protection of the animals, but also because according to a recent study by the New York State Humane Association, as many as 70% of people convicted of violent crimes have some history of animal cruelty. So his will help save the lives if not only animals but people too.

Why 2015 was such a remarkable year for me

As 2015 comes to a close and I look back over the events of the past 12 months, I can’t help but marvel at what an amazing year this has been. Amazing not only in what I’ve experienced but also in how much I’ve grown and become comfortable with myself and with life. I began my transition five years ago but it wasn’t until this year that I finally figured out who I was and got to experience what is was like to be happy and enjoy life as Becca.

2015 began for me in Portland attending my first ever New Year’s Eve party, which was something I’d always dreamed of doing. To be celebrating the start of a new year with my friends was something I’ll never forget, and little did I know it was the start of what would be a truly memorable year.

Becca Benz loves Portland!Portland is a wonderful city where I truly felt at home and made many friends, and where for the first time in my life I developed a social life. Having spent most all my life being shy and socially awkward it felt good to break out of my shell and find the confidence to interact with people, and I found it amazing that people were interested in what I had to say and that they wanted to hang out with me. I spent many fun nights with my friends at our favorite club, where I felt at home and was able to just relax and be myself. We would snuggle in a booth and talk, play pool, or enjoy the various themed nights at the club, my favorite of which was Kink Night. Yes, I do have a kinky side!

I also enjoyed being part of Sex Positive Portland, which is a wonderful organization started by Gabriella Cordova, who is one of the more fascinating people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I was still learning to enjoy my newfound self-confidence and SPP played a large part in helping me continue to grow and learn more about myself. I made so many wonderful friends through the group and while I left sooner than I wanted the friends I made there left a lasting impression on me. We had some truly memorable times at events such as Massage-a-Trois, Sensation Play Parties, and Tantric workshops. And who can forget Stripperaoke!

My main focus as we entered 2015 was learning about the porn business and continuing to carve out a niche for myself. I spent a lot of time on social media networking and continuing to build up my fan base. I was also preparing to go to Hollywood for the Transgender Erotica Awards, which I was so excited about! I remember when I found heels which perfectly matched the color of the dress I was going to wear, and it just seemed like everything was falling into place.

In February I attended the Transgender Erotica Awards in Hollywood which was an amazing experience in so many ways. To be on the red carpet having a bunch of photographers taking my picture was very surreal. It felt like a dream to be there hanging out with pornstars and being recognized and people wanting pictures with me. It was a magical night full of memories I will not soon forget. I went there with a clear agenda of things I wanted to accomplish, and I achieved everything I wanted and more, and my burgeoning career continued to move forward.

Becca Benz at TEA 2015! Becca Benz at TEA 2015

The next few months after TEA were difficult. Everything seemed to be going perfect and I was so optimistic that my life had turned around and that the worst was over, but then in the blink of an eye everything went wrong and my whole life imploded. I spent the next several months trying to deal with all the problems but feeling hopelessly overwhelmed, and the depression came back as bad as ever. This was definitely the low point of the year for me. But I did as much as I could do to resolve the issues and tried to get back to moving forward with my life again.

One of the issues I had been dealing with was finding a new place to live, and in the spring I relocated to a new place where I was able to get back on my feet and had time to heal. It was a soothing environment and I started feeling better and was able to get back to my regular life. The person who took me in was someone I had already known, but we got to know each other much better and had many enjoyable conversations about a variety of things. We discussed the porn industry since she is very successful and well respected within the industry and she was very gracious in sharing her knowledge and wisdom with me and I learned so much from her. In addition, she taught me about website administration and html and helped me design my first WordPress blog. She was a good friend when I desperately needed one and I really enjoyed my time there, which as it turned out was all too brief.

I had met Venus Lux in February at TEA, and talked for a bit and after I told her a little about myself she wanted to interview me, and then a few months later she asked me to write a column for her magazine, TransGlobal. Then in August she offered me a job opportunity with her company. I could not have been happier because this was exactly what I had been working towards since I made the decision to do porn, and it was like all my plans had worked out perfectly and produced the exact result I had been hoping for.

But it was a very difficult decision to leave Portland and all my friends there. Although I’d only lived in Portland for about a year it already felt like home and I had a lot of friends there who I cared about a great deal. I had thought that Portland would be my home for many years to come, and it was with a very heavy heart that I made the decision to leave. I don’t do well at saying goodbye, and it really hurt to say goodbye to all my friends there who had become such an important part of my life. But the job opportunity in Los Angeles was too good to pass up, so once again I packed up my car and moved to another state to start a new chapter in my life. I was sad to leave Oregon but excited about my future in Los Angeles and all the opportunities there.

While I was excited to be moving to Los Angeles for the job opportunity I wasn’t sure how I would like living there; I’d never really had any desire to live in Southern California and was not looking forward to all the traffic and figuring out how to get around. But after having gotten lost a few times I finally started to learn my way around and get to where I needed to go.

I finally ventured out to Hamburger Mary’s for TGirl Night and had a fabulous time, and got to see a few old friends and make some new ones. I had thought I would be able to fit right into the community and make friends because I already knew people here, but it proved to be more difficult than I anticipated, and for a while I was feeling really lonely and homesick for Portland. But that all changed in early November.

Life has a funny way of giving us something magical when we least expect it. In the midst of a very stressful time someone unexpectedly came into my life who has been a ray of sunshine. I had gone to Hamburger Mary’s the first Saturday in November and met a friend there who introduced me to someone he knew. I can remember the exact moment we met. I turned around and there she was; a statuesque redhead with a dazzlingly smile. Her charisma was apparent from the beginning and I knew she was someone special. She was able to get me to let down my guard down and to open myself up to enjoying the night and to enjoy being with her. We spent the night dancing and kissing and it was a night I won’t ever forget.

The Abbey In the following weeks we spent a lot of time together, going out to eat, going to clubs, but the moments that were the most meaningful were the talks we had in the car. We talked all the time but for some reason we seemed to have more meaningful talks in the car; talks where we open up and get to know each other on a deeper level; to get to see the real person and talk about the stuff that mattered.

One night we drove through the Hollywood Hills and we held hands and talked about everything. It was nothing short of a miracle that I managed to navigate through all those crazy turns in the hills with only one hand on the wheel! She indulged me and showed me all the tourist spots so I could take pictures. We parked and enjoyed the amazing view of Los Angeles, and then we drove to Griffith Park where we got out and held each other as we enjoyed another amazing view of the city lights. That was a magical night that I will never forget.

I knew from the beginning she lived in another country and was just here visiting, and that she was a free spirit and was not ready to settle down. But in spite of my best intentions I still developed feelings for her, but the amazing part was that I was able to live in the moment instead of dwelling on the big picture, which is what I normally do. I just enjoyed the time we had together and managed to not scare her away. We settled into something which was comfortable and worked for us. It has only been less than two months since we met, but it many ways it feels like we have experienced a lifetime of memories together. I’m not sure what the future holds for us but she will always be special to me and I will always love her for what she was able to teach me about relationships and about myself.

Laura and Nikki Among the places Staci and I hung out was Club Shine. I had heard about Club Shine and soon discovered why everyone loves it there so much. The club is fun and full of energy, but what makes it special is the homey feel the club has to it, and the two amazing ladies who run it, Laura and Nikki. They take the time to visit with everyone and to make sure they’re having a good time, and Nikki is never without her trusty camera taking pictures (a lady after my own heart!) And the more I talked with them the more I realized what genuinely good people they are. I attended the Shine Transgender Community Awards and got the opportunity to see how much they care about the community and to meet some truly amazing people and make new friends. It wasn’t until later that I learned about Lunden Reign and what amazing musicians Laura and Nikki are! I was blown away the first time I saw one of their videos and heard their magical voices and the wonderful lyrics they wrote. I was immediately hooked and am looking forward to hearing them live in February!

I have known about Transgender Day of Remembrance for many years and have always wanted to attend, but was always hesitant to for a variety of reasons. But I feel so much more connected to the community now and this was the year I needed and wanted to be there.

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015I attended Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015 in West Hollywood and it was an amazing and inspiring event in so many ways. The speakers all had very inspirational messages about how we as trans people should be valued for who we are and that our live matter. We are so often forced to deal with negativity and so it was nice for a change to hear words of hope and to feel good about who we are. Listening to names and hearing the stories of those we lost this year was painful and heartbreaking, but we must never forget or let their deaths be in vain.

The musical selections by Alexandra Billings, Our Lady J, and Trans Chorus of Los Angeles were beautiful and inspiring and brought us all to our feet.

The theme of the evening was “Not One More” to bring home the message that we as a society are one whole community and not a bunch of separate entities, and that we need to embrace each other and value the diversity that makes our culture so unique and special. After a passionate and eloquent speech by Dr. Jaye E. Johnson the crowd rose as one with chants of “Not One More” which was a powerful moment. He closed by saying that it was his hope and dream that during his lifetime November 20th will be a day to celebrate the transgender community and not a day to mourn those who we’ve lost. Amen to that.

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015But what I remember most was the candlelight march through North Hollywood after the program concluded. We marched through the blocked off streets carrying trans flags and signs and we made our voices heard with chants of “Not One More”, “Trans Lives Matter”, and “Stop Transphobia.” What filled my heart with hope and brought tears were all the people along the route who showed their support by honking and giving us a thumbs-up, and the people who stood and cheered us. It was powerful and inspiring to experience so much support and acceptance and to be have the chance to feel good about who we are. In a year full of special moments that was the night I will remember the most because of the inspiration and hope I felt, and the strong sense of community and belonging. But the night wasn’t over yet and I was soon to have another wonderful experience.

I had heard about The Abbey on various tv shows and read about it, and one of the reasons I was most excited about moving to Los Angeles was that I’d get to finally go to The Abbey! But after I moved here I felt a bit intimidated to go there by myself, so I kept putting it off. It wasn’t until after attending Transgender Day of Remembrance in West Hollywood that I finally made it there. I was really hungry, and it was close by, so I decided to stop by and grab something to eat. I found a table to sit at and was a bit in awe that I was actually there, when one of the employees brought me a menu. He was sweet and friendly and we soon started talking, and we kept on talking for a good part of the night until it got busy and he had to get back to work. I had a delicious BLT, made a new friend, and had a great conversation, so it was a wonderful night! I have since gone back regularly on Friday nights to see my friend because we have the most wonderful conversations and he gives the best hugs!

And then to top off what has already been an amazing year, on December 20th I found out I had been nominated for a Transgender Erotica Award for Best Internet Personality! I have to admit that I had been hoping I might get a nomination, but when it was finally announced I felt so incredibly happy, and very humbled to be in a category where so many amazing people had been nominated. I had the biggest smile the rest of the day and even did a fist pump or two! To be recognized by my peers and fans to even be nominated is a very special feeling. So now I’m even more excited about TEA and can’t wait for March to get here!

Becca Benz TEA nomination

This year has been sort of a mixed bag as far as friends and family. I have gotten to know so many wonderful people in Portland, and then in Los Angeles, as well as online and many friendships have developed which mean the world to me. But at the same time my relationships with my mom and sister have deteriorated, and I’m not exactly sure why. We have always been very close and they both have been very supportive of my transition and accepting me, so it really hurts to lose having them in my life. But this year I’ve learned that family in not just defined by blood relations, that family are those people who make the effort to care and to be part of your life. While the void of not having my mom and sister in my life can never be filled, it helps to have so many wonderful friends who are always so caring and supportive. I am very blessed to have so many special people in my life and very appreciative of that.

One of the things I feel most proud of this year is the writing I’ve done both on here and for TransGlobal Magazine. I am so very grateful to have gotten the opportunity to do my little part to be a positive voice for the community, and to hopefully make a difference. I have found my passion in life, and I could not ask for anything more. Thank you for taking the time to read what I’ve written and for all your positive comments and feedback. While I get lots of comments about my looks, it is the comments about my writing which mean the most to me.

2015 has been an extraordinary year for so many reasons, and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2016 has in store for me!

Life

Sometimes life can be cruel in ways which are almost beyond comprehension. An upcoming occasion which will be one of the happiest and most joyous days for one son will also cause my other son to feel both bittersweet happiness and a heightened sense of loss and grief. And I will feel for both of them, knowing what they are both experiencing.

I am reeling from what my son told me tonight, and my heart aches for him. I would give anything to take away the pain he is feeling, and the guilt he has been unjustly placing on himself. He is one of the strongest people I know, but tonight he is my baby boy who is hurting and crying and unloading the burden he has been carrying by himself for the past three months. I would give anything to be able to hold him in my arms again and make things okay.

This is the absolute worst kind of pain.

The Other L Word

I had been doing really well staying within the parameters of our relationship and not allowing my mind to wander too much and to want things which were not possible. I was really proud of myself for living in the moment and just enjoying what we do have and not wanting what can’t be. But over the course of last night and this morning everything changed.

Staci had been out of town and I wasn’t expected her back until today, but late yesterday afternoon she told me she was on her way back and would be able to join me at the club later that evening. This was completely unexpected but totally fantastic news. I got to the club and met a new friend and we spent the early part of the evening talking, and I really enjoyed the good conversation and getting to know him. But as soon as Staci walked in and I saw that beautiful smile I went to her and gave her a big hug and suddenly all was right in my world again. She looked absolutely radiant and more beautiful than ever. Her smile just melts my heart every time. We had a wonderful time at club seeing friends and socializing and just being together.

After the club closed we went out to a little diner and had breakfast, and it was so nice just enjoying our meal and talking. And we actually had something other than Thai food for a change lol

Then she drove me home and we parked in the driveway, snuggled close, held hands, and just talked. We really talked and I felt like she opened up and let me in more so than she had up to that point and I got to see deeper inside her and learn more about who she is and how she thinks and feels. That was the most special part the evening as usual, sitting in the car and talking and holding hands. Seeing her smile and hearing her laugh, and feeling that connection are moments that will forever be etched in my heart. Reluctantly I said goodnight, or more accurately, I said goodnight probably half a dozen times before I managed to drag myself out of the car. I would have given anything for the evening to not end.

So, back to the title of the post, The Other L Word. I have tried my best to keep my feelings for her where they needed to be, but I can no longer deny that I am falling in love with this amazing lady. As I wrote in an earlier post about her, the heart wants what it wants, and my heart has left no doubt that it wants her. I don’t know what this means. The realities of the situation still remain the same, but at times I feel like maybe there is a glimmer of hope that perhaps this could somehow, some way possibly work out into something which will not be ending in a couple of weeks. My heart tells me that there is an undeniable connection and that she feels it too. The way she looks at me makes me believe she feels it. And the funny thing is that so many people have commented about us, that we look so happy together or that we make a cute couple. So it’s not just my imagination running wild, other people see it too. I look at the pictures of us together and I almost don’t recognize myself because I have this look that is new for me; utter happiness and contentment. She makes me feel things I haven’t felt in a long time, and she makes me happy. Very happy. And I get the sense I make her happy too.

So, I’m not sure what this means or where we go from here. We will obviously be doing a lot more talking. I just know that I am falling in love with Staci, and it feels wonderful to acknowledge those feelings. It’s also scary in some ways to admit this because I feel very vulnerable and I know the potential for me to get hurt has just exponentially increased. But the heart wants what it wants, and my heart belongs to her as long as she wants it. And right now that makes me smile and feel really happy.

Thanksgiving and the many things I am thankful for

I want to wish all my friends and family a happy Thanksgiving and I hope you all have a wonderful day!

On this day of thanks I wanted to acknowledge the many things which I am grateful for, because I feel that I sometimes take things for granted and don’t fully appreciate how blessed I am.

I am so very thankful for my two sons who love and accept me for who I am and that we have such a close relationship. They are always there for me and keep me anchored when things get rough. And I’m so excited that in a few months we will be welcoming a new member to our family and I will be a grandma!

I am thankful for all the friends I have who are such an important and meaningful part of my life and who make me feel loved and cared for. If a person’s wealth can be measured by their friendships, then I am rich beyond my wildest dreams. I have truly been blessed to have so many wonderful friends in my life, and for that I am very grateful. And I’m excited to be living in Los Angeles and be part of this amazing community and having the opportunity to make new friends here.

I am thankful to Kim for the job opportunity which brought me to Los Angeles and for her belief in me and for the opportunity to contribute to the company and the magazine. She has been gracious in welcoming me into her home and patient in putting up with me when I’m cranky or frustrated.

I’m thankful that over the past year I’ve been able to feel more connected to the transgender community and that I have had the opportunity to be a voice in our community and contribute in my own small way.

I am thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know Staci and for all the time we’ve been able to spend together. She has given me so many amazing memories that will be with me forever; the many conversations we’ve had and all the laughs; driving around the Hollywood Hills; holding each other at the Griffith Park Observatory as we enjoyed the view of Los Angeles at night; dancing at Hamburger Mary’s; and going to The Abbey Together. But what I will remember most is holding hands and her beautiful smile.

I am thankful that my car, which went over 200,000 miles on the way down to Los Angeles, is still running strong. That is nothing short of miraculous!

I am thankful that I’ve been able to get back in touch with my artistic side and to be a part of creating some good work, and to nurture my creative side.

I am thankful that I’m still alive and feeling hopeful about the future and looking forward to what 2016 has to offer!

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015 Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015

Tonight I attended the Transgender Day of Remembrance in West Hollywood and it was a profoundly moving experience. To be there among so many in our community on this day was something I will never forget. I cried, I laughed, and most of all I felt very connected to this special community of people I am so deeply connected with.

It was very uplifting to hear the various speakers who all had such positive messages to share; that trans lives matter and that we deserve to not only be allowed to be ourselves but to be able to embrace who we are and feel good about ourselves. In a world where we so often only hear the negativity and hate it’s nice to be reminded that we do matter and that we should feel good about ourselves.

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015 Transgender Day of Remembrance 2015

The reading of the names of those we have lost to violence this year and to hear their stories was just heartbreaking. It is so hard to understand the level of hatred and violence that we as a community face just for trying to be our authentic selves. And the indignities that are all too common as law enforcement or families misgender those who have been lost and refuse to acknowledge the true person just makes it all the more painful.

A strong theme throughout the evening was that we as a community need to stand up and make our voices heard not only for ourselves but for the community and for others who don’t have the chance to be heard; especially those we have lost not only to violence but also to suicide. That there is something deeply wrong with our society when so many trans people see no other option than to take their own life. We have to change that because our lives matter and we deserve to opportunity to find employment and not face discrimination and violence. We deserve the chance to live and be happy.

The musical selections by Alexandra Billings, Our Lady J and especially the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles were a joy to listen to and so inspiration in the choice of songs and lyrics so beautifully sung.

But what touched me the deepest was the closing remarks by Dr. Jaye E. Johnson. His message was filled with hope and inspiration and that we are important and our lives matter, and that we have to make our voices heard. The theme of his remarks was “Not One More” and how we as a society can’t keep separating and dividing people, that we are not one but we are a community of many. And that not one more trans life should ever be lost to hate and violence. The chant of “Not One More” brought me to tears; such a simple message but so incredibly powerful. And he echoed a thought I’ve had these past few days; that hopefully some point soon Transgender Day of Remembrance will not be a day to mourn those we’ve lost but to celebrate the people in our community and what we’ve accomplished.

After the program there was a candlelight march through North Hollywood which was another amazing experience. The police closed down streets and blocked off intersections, and we were marching through the streets carrying our trans flags and flowers, and some had signs. There were chants of “Not One More”, “Trans Lives Matter”, and “Stop Transphobia.” But what touched me the most was all the people in cars or in restaurants or clubs along the way who would honk and give a thumbs up, or stand and cheer for us. As we marched past The Abbey everyone stood and cheered for which brought me to tears yet again. It was so powerful and inspiring to feel so much support and acceptance to be have the chance to feel good about who we are.

I am so happy I participated in this event because it was so powerful and reaffirming that there is hope and that we do matter. It was a night I will never forget.

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