Hello dear readers.
Tomorrow I will be on Sandra Meade’s Trans Talk show on the Tenth Voice, KKFI 90.1 FM, at 1:00pm. I will be discussing the research I’ve conducted on the issues of the transgender elderly, and possibly participating in some other roundtable discussion. Other topics will include EQUAL, a youth-youth gay-straight alliance network, and the International House of Prayer’s upcoming meeting in KC. You should be able to stream the show via the button labeled “listen now” at the link below:
The Tenth Voice (LGBT) | KKFI 90.1 FM.
I have performed research and written an article on something which I think is of greatly overlooked importance: the issues and concerns facing elderly transgender persons. Over the last couple of years we’ve seen an enormous amount of press coverage and attention focused upon transgender kids, but while that is a highly important topic, I feel that the transgender elderly have been somewhat hidden from the spotlight of the media. Therefore, I have decided that one of the research missions of Transas City will be to focus on elderly issues (if you would like to learn more about the issues of transgender kids, I highly recommend Debi Jackson’s site, “Trans-Parenting.”)
To start this mission, I’ve created a page (linked below) which lists these concerns and provides information and some helpful resources. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer for the problems of transgender elderly in our society. But my hope is that by having information and reading about some of the potential pitfalls, we can all be forewarned and forearmed. And even if we are not yet a member of the transgender “silver age,” we can think about how we can lend a hand to our older brothers and sisters.
The Elderly Transgender Portal
I’ve read hundreds, perhaps thousands of transgender stories, and this is one which is powerfully told within just a couple of pages, and which moved me to tears.
Stephenie Vieweigh had a secret she kept for 63 years, a secret which tore her apart and led her to a near-suicide 6 years ago. Stephenie – then known as Stephen – was a transgender woman. Very sadly for Stephenie, her time as her true self was limited by cancer. Even worse, she had to suffer an additional indignity of being forced to present as male in order to find a place to live. Finally, at the end, she met compassionate people who helped her pass from this world as the woman she was meant to be.
Rest in peace, Stephenie. I promise to fight harder for the rights of elderly transgender persons.
Stephenie, At Last | Dixie’s Land: Robin Rayne Nelson’s Photojournal.
Every week or so I read a really powerful story on the web, or offline, which I simply must highlight. In this case my friend Elle pointed me to such a story, which is highly unusual and may be a little disturbing to some of my readers.
The story in question is a photo essay on the Huffington Post about Claudette, a 77 year-old intersex prostitute from Switzerland. The story is incredible for several reasons:
- The fact that she is honestly intersex of course is the primary reason. Few intersex persons will open up so much about their lives as she has in this short photo essay.
- The fact that she has willingly chosen sex work as a profession, something which is vanishingly rare among intersex persons.
- The fact that she is 77 years old. All mention of her being intersex aside, you rarely come across stories of elderly sex workers in any context.
From the article:
To fully play with the possibilities and ramifications of gender roles, Claudette turns to prostitution. “Prostitution becomes a source of self confidence,” Claudette explained, “for people who see in prostitutes the ultimate femininity and who assume this role with happiness and a sense of relief.”
Though her unconventional gender identity and choice of profession are commonly associated with trauma and shame, Claudette wears both aspects of her life with pride and joy. Refusing to be pitied for what other people may be uncomfortable with, Claudette displays the immense power that accompanies a deep love for oneself. With honesty and bravery, she creates a life for herself on her own terms — a life that, despite the more unconventional details of her existence, is made up of the universal components of work, family, memories and love.
“Claudette unnerves some people because she lives a happy and coherent life while denying a fundamental moral precept,” Delrieu[the reporter] said.
Her story at the link below is short, and I would really love to read an autobiography. There are a few photographs which are NOT work safe, so be careful about clicking the link.
Meet Claudette, An Intersex Sex Worker From Switzerland (NSFW).