Oneirology is the study of dreams. I had to look it up. As I begin this column, five years have passed since I decided to stop pretending to be a man. A life-long dream began to come true that day.
In some ways, it seems like only yesterday. In some ways, it seems like a million years ago. In many ways, it seems like there was nothing before that day. And sometimes, the way it was before that day, reaches into the very corners of my soul, when I read about yet another LGBT child who suffers. Then the fear disappears, unable to sustain itself in the presence of truth and correctness, and what is left is the dream that someday it will be different. And the passion to do what I can to help make it so.
In five years, there have been so many changes for me. So many amazing people in my life. So many blessings. And so many miracles. A dream has come true. I have become a woman. I have always been female. I have become a woman. Emotions, thoughts, feelings, understandings, experiences, people, life, God –all different. I have become myself.
It would take about a year of living 24/7 as Stephanie before I had my first dream of Stephanie. Slowly, more and more of my dreams are of Stephanie. Finally, it is a little bit more often than I dream of Steven. I don’t like the dreams of Steven. They sometimes seem all too real.
I have fallen in love with a man. Puppy love, no doubt, but love just the same. Stephanie is a girl of about fifteen sometimes. I have had my heart broken. Horrible feelings and tears that come from disappointing him. But those very same feelings and tears scream womanhood in an awesome array of light and color; sound and silence; and self. And the dream continues that one day I will find the one for me.
I have spoken dozens of times in public in support of transgender rights, human rights; and for the purpose of transgender education. Against the elimination of a human relations commission department, and against banning books. In front of high school GSAs and city commissions, college classes and a behavioral healthcare conference. It is a dream come true for me. But it never seems like enough. I wake up again the next day and read an article about an LGBT person who suffers, sometimes suffers to death. And the nightmare continues.
It is a process. A long drawn-out hideous process that seems like an endless nightmare because nothing so blatantly wrong should exist in the world. But it never seems hopeless. And I truly believe that there will be LGBT protections in place throughout the land within the next few years. That will still not be enough. Laws against hate, don’t stop hate. They only make it illegal. And there are so many other lands.
I was nearly 50 years old the first time I looked into a mirror and saw myself. It is like a dream. A dream from which I pray I never awaken. A dream of which I pray there will be enough for every LGBT child. It is a dream that demands determination must overcome fear, and persistence must outlast tiredness, and goodness must triumph over evil.
So what is the lesson of the last five years? It is the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr.: love, peace, truth, freedom, unity, and justice. The lessons haven’t changed. The truths are not different. I too have a dream.
A dream that when we say the pledge of allegiance the words liberty and justice for all will be true. When a teen won’t need to come out, because she or he will have never needed to hide. When all of God’s children are included, LGBTQIA children are included, only then will all God’s children be free. Only then can we repeat the words of the song that Dr. King spoke so powerfully, so many years ago, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”I too have seen the Promised Land. I see it when I look in the mirror and find Stephanie. I hear it every time someone calls me “Ma’am.” Then I open my e-mail, and another transgender person asks me how do you change your name, or do you know any therapists in this town, or that town. And I joyfully answer the e-mail. Because not everyone has seen the Promised Land. And I cannot rest until they do. And because I have a dream.
© 12/13/2010, Stephanie Mott
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