Monday, June 15, 2009

womanhattan: show 'n' tell

In my Saturday Continued post, I mentioned that I came out as transgender to the other people attending my workshop. I want to flesh out that story a bit.

I planned to attend en femme and if anyone asked, I would tell them what was going on, but I had no intention of coming out to the whole workshop.

Part of the workshop was show and tell; we had to bring something to the workshop, preferably from our youth, and explain how that object impacted our lives.

My show 'n' tell was the #60 issue of Mad magazine. Here is my story:

The public school system I attended let the students out early every Thursday to attend religious instruction classes at a local house of worship. On the way home from religious instructions, I had my weekly quarter allowance to spend at a Mom and Pop store. With my quarter, I could buy two comic books and a pack of baseball cards or the new issue of Mad magazine

So, one fall day in 1960, about a month before the November Presidential election of John Kennedy, I find two new issues of Mad for sale; one issue congratulates Nixon as the election winner and the other issue congrats JFK. Only having a quarter, I can only buy one, and being a good Roman Catholic, I buy the JFK issue.

After paying for the magazine and getting Mad in my hands, I realize that the Nixon and JFK issues are the same issue; the same magazine had two covers! The front cover had Nixon and the back cover had JFK, however, the back cover was printed upside down so that it opened with the binding on the left as if it was a front cover!

Upon further investigation, I discovered that not only was the back cover printed upside down, but half the magazine was printed upside down following the upside down cover

This blew my mind. It was thinking outside the box and it was so far out there that opened my mind to thinking outside the box, too... yadda, yadda, yadda...

Originally, that is how I intended to end my show 'n' tell, but the night before my presentation, it suddenly hit me that that two-in-one Mad issue also defined my life as transgender... half and half... man and woman... ying and yang! It was an epiphany of sorts to me and I had to share it, so that is how I actually ended my show 'n' tell.

It was no big deal. I am sure that two days into the workshop, all the attendees had me figured out. I was not fooling anyone, so my revelation would not be a surprise. And it fit so well into my show and tell that I just had to do it.

Seeing everyone's reaction to my show 'n' tell, I think just about everyone appreciated my story and its honesty. Like one of the attendees, a male 60-something retired teacher, who went out of his way to tell me the next day that he loved my metaphor!


  1. AnonymousJune 15, 2009

    I love your metaphor! And your example. I read your blog every day, and while I am not as TG as you are I do take great comfort from your postings - sort of in the "you are not alone" sense.

    Keep up the good work!

  2. AnonymousJune 15, 2009


    Great way to "come out", on your own terms with your own metaphor. I was wondering what sort of workshop you were attending.

    Not a bad use for a classic magazine from our youth which, regardless of price, was always "cheap".


  3. I remember that issue of "Mad" magazine very well. Then again I remember every issue of "Mad" from that era very well.

  4. From the passing post to this story, you seem to be moving in the direction of integration and integrity.

    Rather than emulating others, rather than femulating others, you are working to be your authentic self, a transgender woman who crosses worlds and offers the gifts of her journey.

    At least to me, authentic Lana is much more compelling than emulated anything.

  5. Staci,

    You continue to be an insperation to me. I hope one day I can do somthing like you are doing now.