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Do I Fit-In to the Transgender Community?

I have asked myself this question again and again. Early in my journey into gender exploration, I lived in Baltimore, MD where I first visited transgender support groups. In my short-lived visits among the communities, I felt I didn’t fit in, because I didn’t want to get surgery or take hormones. My entire life I felt like I could not engage with our western medical model of pills, surgeries and managing symptoms. Something inside me was very clear that this was not for me. I don’t and won’t take medications. Instead, I have learned about herbal medicine and natural methods to healing. If I get a headache, I take skullcap, drink water or vinegar or close my eyes and breathe deep. I am attracted to natural cures, alternative medicine, and vibrational healing. It’s as much who I am as my gender identity.

I found myself staring into the eyes of Ian Harvie at the Central Pennsylvania Keystone Conference. I was presenting on GenderQueer and as I began to speak about my experience of accepting that I was born into a ‘female’ body and choosing to not change it, does that still make me transgender? Ian looked at me, Man to Man, and validated me. Reassuring me that I was as much part of the transgender community as I wanted to be and that my transgender experience was as real as his surgeries. I didn’t even know who Ian Harvie was until I looked him up because I had a free ticket to his show as part of my payment for presenting. It wasn’t because he was a well known trans man but because after hearing his jokes I knew for sure he had surgeries and synthetic hormones. He was the “REAL THING” in my mind and his validation pushed me further onto my path to transition naturally. I had recently begun to engage in daily meditation and yoga practices to convince my mind that I was a man.

Gender Dysphoria takes me for a ride, too. I would spend my two days off in my garden, starting the day with deep meditation and vision of my ‘male’ body. Feeling my flat chest, my large upper body, my penis and testicles between my legs and knowing in my mind that I was male. I would include this vision in my play, as a drag king. I love to dance and perform, and drag won my heart. I would spend my days knowing and walking in what I knew to be a ‘male’ body. When I looked in the mirror it was often disturbing because it did not match my vision of myself. So I often didn’t look in the mirror unless I was practicing drag. I did this daily practice for over a year and eventually, my body began to listen and I began perimenopause.

The journey in menopause has been real, hormones have a way of making one sick in all ways. Emotionally, of course, we can find ourselves sideways and this can lead to issues with our thoughts and beliefs. I didn’t realize that perimenopause had begun until a relationship ended, life changed quickly, and my life began to look like mine. I had also spent that time, when I was focusing on my ‘male’ body, on clearing trauma and finding my authentic self. So when I changed my resonance, the vibration I was attracting, my life changed very quickly and my dreams began to manifest. Life was awesome yet now my body was changing and I was having ‘hot flashes’ – It was my time to dive deep into this whole women’s journey thing. Early yes, although feeling overwhelmed, I dove deep into menopause. Reading and learning all I could from wise women who spoke about their journey I found myself awakening to the realization that I had fully experienced life as a woman and now I was entering full androgyne. Truly, physical androgyne. When I understood what wise women have been saying about menopause for years I began to truly comprehend my change. Apparently, some people going through menopause struggle with losing their ‘womanhood’. I was not having this struggle and I was eager to get through, naturally and fully. I comprehend that it could take years and still I vision my male body. All the things I do, I see myself with a male body. There are times I truly think top surgery would be an option but at this time it is not on my priority list.

When I do look in the mirror now and see my ‘female’ body I know that my experience as a ‘female’ has ended. Now I realize that it was only the first part of my path, only my first step in truly understanding androgyne. Now as I see myself ‘male’ and know that I am ‘male’ I am often less bothered by misgendering. On my better days misgendering leads me to feel sorry for the one that just misgendered me, they haven’t comprehended the fullness of my gender. They are only seeing my physical body and this leads me to believe they only see my body, it’s clear the rest of me is male. They are unable to fully comprehend my gender identity. My gender identity is BECAUSE of my experience of being born into this body. My birth into this body has awakened a Divine Androgyne that is clearly both male and female, and if someone misses that, they don’t see me. It’s okay if people don’t see me, I accept that not all people need to see me. This understanding has to lead me to pay close attention to those that DO see me. The ones that do see my masculine, my maleness, my full gender spectrum, my both, my divine androgyne – those are the people that I want in my inner circle. These are the people I trust, these are the people I call friends. Of course, friends misgender me, but rarely, and when they do they follow it up with the opposite. So if someone calls me a ‘she’ by accident, they will soon call me ‘he’ several times, and then return to ‘they’.

I explain to my friends and people that inquire, that when I hear myself as a ‘she’ it hurts, like punching me in the gut. When I hear ‘he’ it feels like a hug, a pat on the back or a kiss. When I hear ‘they’ it feels right, it feels like I belong. In this, they know that using ‘he’ for me can kind of ‘make up’ for the accidental ‘she’ without having to have a long ‘sorry for misgendering you, geeze I thought I had it.’ conversation. So instead of feeling like a burden because I ask all my friends to change their language to accommodate me, it helps me feel loved and respected, which is a basic human need. I have noticed that if a friend and I are hanging out with someone that misgenders me a lot, it pushes them out of their habit and back into misgender language. When my friend applies this tactic they are better able to keep it balanced, it reminds the person that is misgendering me and my friend serves as the perfect ally. I am constantly expressing gratitude for anyone that does this for me as it shows true love and respect for me, and shows they see me on a much deeper level.

I feel that transformation is a lifelong process and I love my natural approach to my gender experience. Yet, there are times that when I reach out to the transgender community they judge me. They judge me because I didn’t take the hormones because I didn’t have the surgery. It hurts, it hurts when your own people see you as other. I have had to really process this hurt and I turned to Brene’ Brown for some guidance. I had received some public shaming in a Facebook group and had spent too much time taking it all in. First, many of them weren’t ‘in the arena’ as Brene would say. It meant they weren’t writers or bloggers, yet I was, and their feedback doesn’t matter because they weren’t in the arena. Second thing that really changed the experience for me was her study about fitting-in vs. belonging. She talked about how there was a clear difference between the two and how trying to ‘fit-in’ only took us away from our authentic selves. My spiritual path, my reason for being alive is to be authenticly me and for me that means no hormones and no surgeries. Yet now my body is changing, naturally, and would anyone deny me my right to claim that I am a trans man? Occasionally, it does still happen but I must remember that regardless of someone else’s opinion, my experience is still valid. It is clear that I don’t ‘fit-in’ to the transgender community but I certainly belong!

Those of us that don’t ‘fit-in’ we serve a very important role in the evolution of the human race. We go against the status quo and in that we help reinforce the most important things of all, we are all important, we are all connected and we all need love. I believe that people that push gender boundaries, regardless of how, are here to serve as a Divine Androgyne. This means that as long as they embrace their most authentic self, they will change the world to more fully understand the concept of gender. Humans will evolve out of gender eventually, we don’t need it anymore. For some people, this concept is scary. For me, it is a concept I see as obvious. We are moving away from separate, we are erasing the lines that separate us. Gender deconstruction is a large piece of what separates us, and we know it. Divine Androgynes, regardless of how it shows up for them or what they decide to do with the experience, are here to help us have a deeper understanding of how it separates us and how to move past it, beyond gender. I am not sure if I will ever see the end to gender, but I know that I am alive and I am to be part of the revolution. I belong in the transgender community, even if I do challenge the status quo.




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Divine Authenticity?!

As a gender variant person, a gender non-conforming person, a person that doesn’t identify with either side of the gender binary I have found that authenticity is at my center. When a person like me is faced with such a huge opposition to societial norms we are forced to face our own authenticity. When we don’t we find ourselves depressed, mentally ill, and overall disconnected from ourselves and the world. Many of us will try to fill those roles expected of us as whatever we were assigned at birth but for most of us, that means ignoring or giving up a big part of ourselves. As we come out of the closet and learn to embrace this authentic gender expression we are faced with personal shame, societal rejection, invisibility, and an overall feeling of being an outcast. We search for others like us… and in our tribe we discover there is an entire authentic person beneath that gender-nonconforming expression. Yes, we are gender-nonconforming but we are so much more as well.

I personally still struggle with staying authentic and have found all sorts of things that keep us away from our authenticity. All that is expected of us as children and projected on us from our parents is usually the first layer to be removed. Many of us naturally do this in puberty and young adulthood. Then as we mature we learn there is more to us than the role we play, that if we work to stay within our role we will actually deny ourselves that. As a mother and wife I found myself lacking expression of my divine masculine and found that when I began to explore it, just that act of masculine explorations was enough to push me to change my personal expressions. I soon divorced my husband and thought that by being with a woman it would be easier to express my divine masculine. Although I actually learned that my divine masculine was not just wrapped around my romantic and sexual desires and instead it included even more. Exploring the concepts of gender where not just simply romantic and sexual, nature shows us they actually include much more than that. As I personally began to unfold my own beliefs and concepts around gender I was faced with a deeper understanding of the human race as a whole.

In my exploration I discovered authenticity, I happened upon it in my unraveling and in my awakening. At first I thought, “Hollis you are very different than other people, a different perspective and a different way of being. You are an outcast.” This was no different than how I felt when I played gender roles, how could this be? No, I didn’t play gender roles and instead tried to express myself as real as possible. I began setting boundaries, speaking my truth, and dressing how it suited me that day. People had to leave my life because my boundaries or truth speaking was just ‘too much’ for them. I began to listen to other people’s boundaries and even helping them set them when they didn’t understand why they were so upset.  In that support for other people’s boundaries, I began to understand authenticity even deeper. Some people that we think are authentic or ‘being themselves’ are often acting out of an insecurity wound, therefore still not authentic. In helping others define, speak and find their boundaries and truth I found that my own personal insecurity wound began to unravel, because now I had an understanding that almost everyone struggles with authenticity in our culture. Most cultures do not support an authentic expression, they may say they do but we all know that when we challenge the status quo we are faced with rejection, distrust, and even possibly endanger ourselves and those around us. Many cultures, certainly American, deeply suffer from narcissism and codependency – (mentally illnesses that depend on each other to exist) which keeps us all from our authentic path.

When we are on our authentic path we know it because we call it ‘bliss’. In the Fire Circle community after 3 nights of all-night fires people can finally feel free to be ‘themselves’ and in this expression, they call it ‘bliss’. Its when we feel loved for who we are, not what role we play. In every authentic expression I have ever met there is a deep need for authentic connection, a need to be respected and loved for who you are, naturally.  Authenticity is completely unique for each and every one of else and in that, we are a rainbow of people.

In my book Divine Androgyne – A Sacred Path for Gender Variant People I help detail out steps to unravel what keeps you from your most authentic self. Everything from childhood trauma, gender roles, peer pressure, and a lack of our connection to nature and divinity can keep us from our authentic self. Many of us learn, especially in the Fire Circle, spiritual & psychic community, and pagan community, that in our authentic selves we can be celebrated more deeply. We can feel more accepted, seen and loved in communities with authentic leaders that also work to express authentically. Authenticity is when we take time to connect with the divine to understand all our parts, even our shadows. When we learn to embrace our shadows, know our quirks, and share our light we find a deep fulfillment deep inside. We are all created completely unique and each one of us has a unique experience of life, we are all spiritual beings with unique gifts to share with the world. We all have connections to the ‘other side’ and ‘divinity’ and are capable of helping others in our communities.

When a leader in a group is insecure and acts on that insecurity we find things like narcissism and sociopathy. The divine has gifted us the experience of awakening to these sick ways. The old leadership styles that include things like control and dominance, lead to those around these old leaders to act on THEIR insecurity in ways we call ‘co-dependance’. Some of us play one role more than the other, while some of us work to bow out of this game. These groups can evolve into cults and have formed our culture for years, now Americans are known narcissists. We even talk about how we have entire generations of narcissists. Today many people are awakening to these old ways of leadership and finally stepping forward to call people out on them. The #MeTOO movement, the unraveling of long-time cults, the dwindling popularity of being part of those groups, the gender and sexuality revolution, and the general mental health unraveling is becoming more evident every day. This is our evolution, humans are finally saying ENOUGH! We will evolve away from these old ways of being. As we shed our codependent and narcissistic ways we will begin to step into true authenticity and the communities able to embrace said authenticity will rise from their grassroots!

We can know a truly authentic person when some very important vibrations are present such as vulnerability, can the person show their most vulnerable state? Have you sensed that this person is sharing something or doing something that creates vulnerability for them? Vulnerability is different for most of us. Have you witnessed a true and deep apology, that’s a good way to know if someone can be vulnerable. We all have different boundaries and needs, a gender variant person might find themselves having to ask people for gender pronouns that are appropriate and in this act, we ‘out ourselves’ as transgender and can receive a target upon that act. We know it, too, that’s why we don’t always ask. Not just a target of crazy violent people but also those that refuse our gender pronouns, that say its too much for them or that we are just creating trouble in asking for this pronoun thing. Although there is also great reward in the opening to vulnerability, when we do ask we are likely to find allies that are willing to stand up for us. When we share the risk of being transgender with our allies we can find connection and support, the ultimate in life rewards. We find our boundaries and begin to draw them, even just one at a time is better than ignoring that upset feeling in your gut when someone calls you by the wrong pronoun. Most of us have different boundaries like about giving gratitude, who wants to keep giving to someone that never says Thank you or recognizes our gifts? We all have boundaries and when we are brave enough to define them we will find ourselves even more confident than before when we were hiding our vulnerability and ‘not saying anything’ or ‘being nice’ about boundary-crossing. SPEAK UP, we NEED YOU TO SPEAK UP! When we act from our own integrity, when we respond to emotions rather than react we find that our response is more in line with our true authentic self. We have all reacted to something and regretted it later, yet on the other emotionally triggering moments we have been able to process the emotion, realize the impact of our reaction and then craft a more aligned response. When we respond to emotional situations we can find that we are acting in our most authentic of integrity. When we hold our integrity as real, necessary and as our personal guide we feel more secure, confident and authentic. In that walk we are authentic and when we can walk this way in the world our lives will speak our authentic messages. Each of us have authentic messages for the world.

We each have our own experience and journey ahead of us and the divine intended for each one of us to walk an authentic path that will not only inspire others but manifest things that will heal the world at large. You will know when you are expressing authentically because you feel like an authentic magickal creature spreading their wings with a deep sense of security, depth, and confidence. Go where people will celebrate your authenticity and more of you will unfold for the world, and suddenly you will begin to feel like the wealthiest person alive and your bank account will have little to do with it. You will know because you will feel secure, you will feel loved, and you will feel free. We must offer our light to the world, humanity is relying on it, nature is relying on it, the planet earth needs us NOW. Find your authentic path and walk it with confidence & strength, just because it’s authentic doesn’t mean its easy. Only YOU know your most authentic self, show us so we can celebrate YOUR part of the rainbow!

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Music- Healing Vibrations for the soul!

I have always been a huge fan of music, as long as I can remember. At the young tender age of 4-5 years old I loved to dance to the song, Fre’re Jacques. Over and over again on my record player this song would play. I had my own routine and dance for the song. I spent a lot of time listening to records when I was home alone. My memory is of me finding something to do while I was home alone. My mother was never home and my older brothers were often left responsible for me. They were of no age to be responsible for themselves and of course they left me home alone, regularly. These were traumatic times in my life and from the very beginning I used music to heal my wounds. I was afraid and wouldn’t it make sense to dance and sing to get through it. I knew all the words and my brain would just follow the song, over and over. I remember crying at the repeating record as it skipped on certain pieces of the song. My tears had nothing to do with the lyrics, they were of fear and rejection. Interestingly, now I realize the song was about “Brother John”. My brothers were at the age of drug experiments and partying all night. They were both into trouble at the time and I remember standing at the side of their bed wondering if anyone would wake up to interact with me. I was a very lonely child, usually home alone.


Later in life I fell in love with happy, positive music like the Monkees. I found their music through a television show, it was my best friend for most of my youth. I watched a lot of sitcoms, I felt like they were often my friends and family. I loved family sit coms but with the Monkees it was fun and comforting. I could identify with the music, the characters, and the goofing off. I managed to obtain the tapes for the Monkees, The Beach Boys, the Turtles and some other music similar. This was the 1980’s but I was in love with the old music of the 60’s. Through exploration of that genre I was even presented with a familiar voice, Janis Joplin. The music of the 60’s comforted something inside of me that I now recognize as the peace keeper wishing and dreaming of peace. At the time I just thought I might be a bit of a hippy or “free spirit” as one of my stand in “moms” calls me. All of the women that stood in my life to mother me when mine was absent would listen to music from that era. So this type of music tends to sooth me in a way a mother’s lullabye does. When I discovered the Monkees deeper and discovered songs like “I wanna be free.” I found myself dreaming of something far and away from my lonely and sad situation at home. My struggles were lost in the soothing music – like the vibrations soothed my heart. I often felt heart broken as a child, abandoned by my mother and siblings. I was convinced I wasn’t worthy of love.

With a childhood of sexual abuse, physical abuse and obviously severe neglect I was lead to anger in my teenage years. There is no surprise as rebellion is part of our local culture in America and the 80’s and 90’s were certainly no different. I was drawn into music again, it defined me in my coming of age years. I became a bad ass with a leather jacket and satanic T-shirt. Dark clothes, suicidal tendencies, drugs, alcohol and I was a regular smoker at age 12. I went deep into the darkness and hated the world. I met my boyfriend, who later became the father of my child and my husband. Long Hair, dark eyes, over 6 foot tall, and a bad ass to stand in front of me while I expressed my anger a the world. I started with Guns N’ Roses – Call it my gateway to metal. I later dived into Metallica, Slayer, Danzig, and Suicidal Tendencies. This became the music in my ears every day, all day at school – if I went. At home I played it so loud on the stereo my mother would freak out, now that she was home. My blind father bought me the stereo, he didn’t live with us. My walls were plastered with posters and articles about the musicians that created the music. I mean every single space was filled with their images or words about them. I had framed photos of Axl Rose and worshiped them, like most teenagers do.My metal phase branched out into Punk and Death Metal. The music took me to the dark places that had been created by my childhood and helped me really get into those places. The music took me to the dark space I needed to be in to feel it fully and then heal. Again and again I would play songs to either piss off my mother who had suddenly taken an interest in my life, after 12 years of absence o. She found AA and was trying to make up for the time she missed while she was drunk and stoned, frankly it was too late. I hated her thoroughly and was even driven to attack her. We were often physical and my teenage years were full of rebellion, anger, fights, running away, drugs, alcohol, and later teenage pregnancy. My pregnancy ended the relationship with my mother until my son was 8 years old. The music did something for me and I felt it as I began to raise my son, after several years away from my mothers presence. I recognized it emerging inside me and realized that I had moved away from it. I used anger as a defense to keep people away from the person I was afraid they would reject. I was angry that I had experienced what had happened to me as a child. Why did other families have experiences like the sit com “Family Ties” and I was left to eat peanut butter and jelly or cereal every day cause that was all I knew how to cook.

Later as a mother and young adult I fell in love with music that had gorgeous voices like Janis Joplin, whom I still love. I fell for singer after singer, later I will notice they are all females or gender benders. Loving George Michael, Prince, and Elton John I was lead to the LGBTQ community through music. Then I heard Cher and that was all she wrote. This music roused something inside me that is a big piece of who I am today, a GenderQueer Transman. This music got into my soul and the culture around it made it okay for me to be ME. This was profound and sparked tons of change through my life and even today when I do an Elton John or George Michael piece in a drag performance I find it to therapeutic. These are my elders who has carved a way for feminized males. Regardless of they personally identify they went on stage in a more feminine way and celebrated their masculinity. They celebrated being fabulous men, an inspiration to who I truly am. I became involved with the Radical Faeries who also supported my desire to be a fabulous man. I came out as transgender soon after being involved in their spiritual trainings. Cher of course took me to Drag Queens on and off stage, they became my sisters. We understood each other in a way that has been special ever since. People assigned male were wearing dresses in clubs and I bonded with them right away. Later the people that bent gender became my closest friends, because I could identify with them. Thank goodness I knew them because they really helped me out of a very tough closet. Being a gender bender is no easy place and its very complicated. I need the family and community of drag and transgender people, without them I would be lost and alone again. Thank you Cher for being THAT musician.

Today music still plays a big part in my personal healings. Songs stand out to me and I find myself repeating them. As if the vibrations have some sort of effect on our soul, as if the vibrations heal the wounds. Music’s magic is a mystery to most of us but most of us have some sort of healing piece associated with music. Today I use music to increase the effectiveness of healing. In Yoga, I listen to MC Yogi, Nahko & Medicine for the People, and even special vibrational music like the Hang PANArt music from Bright Hawk’s work with Sacred Side Project. I am more aware today, at 40 years old and my experience with music has brought me to an understanding. Music speaks to our souls, our values, our history, our pains, our joys, and is celebratory in most cases. Celebrating relaxation should never be underestimated, hang music does that for me. I was inspired by the Sacred Side Project to create a business that would both fullfill my needs to travel and heal as well as provide a solution to the needs for more music, validation and touch in long term care facilities. I was inspired to create and now am partnered with Bright Hawk for Let’s Dance Activities. A program that uses music to heal and uplift the communities it visits.

I find myself revisiting all sorts of music from my past as tools to get in touch with what I am feeling. Even the negative emotions need to be visited – anger, sadness, self loathing, and even feeling sorry for ourselves. Whatever comes up I use music to help me feel it fully. I sit in it long enough to be sure the feeling is felt then I find inspiration out of the darkness.

When I am ready to be inspired I listen to the prayers of some of the most unified music and progressive evolved music available today with Nahko and Medicine for the People, MC Yogi, Franti and Polish Ambassador. That’s my medicine now. Learning to DJ right now feels like the obvious evolution for Izzy Ahee – my masculine performer and music lover. I am grateful to support Bright Hawk as she evolves as the newest positive singer/songwriter with her Hang PANArt.

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Music the artistic expression that heals, what music is in your head? Why? Let’s Sort it out – Let’s Talk! Call me at 1-888-INGENIO Ext. 05051094