It’s hard to know what to say about myself without telling my entire life story and I’m sure you don’t want to hear it any more than I want to tell it, at least not right now; maybe later when we get to know each other better. So, I’ll just say this: I’m a 55-year-old trans woman living with more peace and harmony in my life than I ever thought possible. It took me a long time to get here and I’m infinitely grateful that I did. I wouldn’t have chosen many of the experiences that led me to this place, if I’d had the choice, which, of course, I didn’t, since that was Spirit’s job, not mine. But, now that I’m here, I have no doubt that it was worth every challenging step that it took.
There are two very important things that helped me reach the place where I am today. I’ll just mention them now and, in all likelihood, I’ll tell you more about them later. The first is A Course in Miracles, or ACIM as many of its students refer to it. I usually just refer to it as the Course, although it makes very clear that is not the path to peace, but just one of many. Through the Course, I have learned to live, not without fear, but without being controlled by my fear. That, my friends, is true freedom.
The second is Holotropic Breathwork. That one is much harder to explain to people. For now, I’ll just say that it is through the breath that I have learned to open my heart to connect with the universe in all its depth and diversity, and its amazing power.
As I transitioned, I began to learn about and experience (thankfully, to a lesser extent than some) the many injustices that trans women and men must endure. This has led me to become somewhat of an activist for the first time since college. For example, in December 2007, I appeared before the Scottsdale, Arizona City Council on behalf of the Arizona Transgender Alliance in support of proposed ordinances to ban employment discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and expression and sexual orientation. Unfortunately, the City Council refused to extend the ban to private businesses but did apply it to city employment. In 2007, I also became the first transgender attorney to appear before the Arizona Supreme Court and the first attorney to appear before that court as both a man and a woman. (The first appearance was about a month before I legally changed my name and went full-time; the second was months later.) I also joined the Board of Directors and became President of QsquaredYouth, a support, educational and advocacy organization for LGBTQ youth ages 13-20 in Yavapai County, Arizona. Most recently, as a result of an LGBTQ diversity training that my friend Terry and I presented to shelter volunteers last fall, I was asked to join the Board of the new Prescott Area Women’s Shelter (PAWS). I welcome all of these, and other, opportunities to advocate for the rights of trans people and support them in their journeys, and to simply be an example to others that we are just people like everyone else, trying to live with dignity and peace.
For the last 10+ years, I have worked for myself representing criminal defendants who wish to challenge their convictions and sentences, either on direct appeal or through post-conviction relief (similar to habeas corpus) proceedings. Someday soon, I hope to move on to a job directly involved in education and advocacy on behalf of the trans community, in particular, and the greater LGBTQ community, in general. If you know of any opportunities where I may be able to contribute, please contact me at abbyj (at) cableone.net.
Update, September 19, 2008: I have started a new blog for my musings and meditations on A Course in Miracles. Please feel free to visit.