Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A quacky Christmas 12/27/2011

Well, it turned out to be a very lonely christmas. I decided to stay home rather than risk traveling somewhere and getting stuck in an airport somewhere. I also wrongly figured that i could count on some time with my two closest friends here locally, but that didn't materialize either.  So i had lots of time to spend with my friends at the duck pond, which was actually quite lovely. i've pretty much lost faith in humanity these days, as so many people have disappointed me. but the ducks never let me down. as long as i have bird seed, i can always count on their attention. it was actually quite special to have 5 consecutive days with duck pond visits. i used to spend so much more time over there, not not nearly as much this year. 

another highlight was having a chance to be a tourist at home during the winter. i had a car for the weekend so i took in all the familiar sights that i usually see during the summer: topsail beach, middle cove beach, signal hill, and cape spear.  as disappointing as it is to feel that so many close people have turned their back on me, i sense that it is all for the best, as i can move on with my life and focus my attention on other things. people come and go for a reason and this holiday season has made me realize that some changes need to be made in terms of who i focus time, energy, and emotions on.

for more details on my various christmas travels, and for an epic Jennifer rant, check out the latest 4 videos on my vlog at youtube.com/jenniferpoco


Dec 24, 2011 East Coast Trans Alliance won't incorporate

It's with sadness that i announce that the East Coast Trans Alliance will not become ECTA Inc., at least not at this time. After consultations with would be fellow incorporators, we all determined that it would be in the best interests of all that we not incorporate an entity at this time. 

On a personal note, i find it ironic to take note that one of the main challenges in building up the ECTA brand name here in Newfoundland, was due to an unintentional competitor, that being, the brand name of myself as an individual. I guess it should be a compliment that Jennifer McCreath has worked so hard to be an out and recognized trans advocate, that when people need help, they come to me directly, and not seek assistance from an organization such as what the ECTA was supposed to be.

Sadly, i can't be everything to everyone as an individual, and that's why i took steps to try to put together a recognized organization.  Oh well, perhaps some other time.  But for now, this is disappointing because there is only so much i can do as an individual. Even worse, due to a variety of other commitments and priorities, being a volunteer transition consultant to ad hoc e-mailers will have to take a step back on my list. 

Anyway, i am sure there will be lessons learned out of this - and not all is lost, the ECTA name will carry on as an informal org, at least for now.

Jennifer

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dec 17, 2011 - Physio update

had my third trip to the physio clinic in 5 days. things are starting to take form. the appointments start with 15 minutes of electricity stimulation in my ankle, followed by 5 minutes of ice. then it is a series of stretches that will help strengthen the muscles around the knee tendon, back and hip areas, and ankle ligament. then it is a few minutes of soundwaves into the ankle. it's going to take a while, but the science seems to make sense. looking forward to the day when there is no more ankle pain.  rest ahead for the rest of the evening, and perhaps a light walk tomorrow.  Jenn

Dec 17, 2011 - Bowl Season under way

ok, so we have three meaningless games today. here's my picks:

temple over wyoming
utah state over ohio
san diego state over lafayette

none of these teams play for BCS conferences. none of them are ranked in the top 25. they all did manage winning records though, so i guess that counts for something. i suppose as one article on cbs stated, bowl games is at least more exciting than watching bowling or poker... i suspose they are right!  oh well, this makes for a reward for all six of these teams - a chance to play on national tv at a neutral site against an out of conference opponent. a chance for NFL scouts to get an extra look at the seniors. i suppose it's all good. heck, i am watching, even if these are teams i don't really care about. 

enjoy the bowl season folks, and don't put any major stock into my picks... lol

Jenn

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Physiotherapy update Dec 13/2011

To summarize, i have a ruptured tendon in the knee and a torn ligament in the ankle. not surprising. pretty much as i expected. long road ahead but a mixture of rest, rehab, electromagnetic and ultrasound therapy, and a good strength & conditioning program, should heal everything up in 2-3 months.  for more details, check out my latest vlog:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaxproZYxeA

Saturday, December 3, 2011

December 3, 2011 - Tebowmania?

Appologizes for those who come to my blog to read about trans issues, but i can't help but enter two football posts today. i think i have actually been pretty good about limiting the football talk on here this season. interestingly enough, if this is a blog about my life, then there probably should be tons more football talk on here, as from sept til january, i am literally glued to all 5 of my tv sets keeping an eye on as many games as i can find. football is a great escape from the daily challenges in life that i face for being an out transsexual living in newfoundland canada.

anyway - let's talk a little Tebow. Here's a guy who although has a rather awkward style of football play, managed to take his college team to a championship.  but everyone says he can't win in the NFL because his style of play and his weaknesses won't allow him to win. the guy has intangible factors that make him a winner, despite his apparent football limitations. he is a born leader. he doesn't just try to win or expect to win, he demands it from himself and his entire team. when his florida gators actually lost a football game for the first time in almost 2 years, this guy held a press conference and appologized as if he had just committed an unimaginable crime.

so fast forward to the NFL draft, where he goes mid way thru the first round to a rather crappy denver team. after spending most of his 2010 rookie year on the bench, he gets a chance to play and managed to win a few games. fast forward to 2011, he finishes in 3rd place in the training camp battle to be the team's QB, and sits on the bench again.  so the broncos start 1-4 and the fans are calling for this guy. heck, they know he might not have the pure football talent, but they know that he's a winner.

so the guy comes in, and looks awful, but guess what? he wins. and wins. and wins again.  5-1 in 6 games, and the denver broncos go from the toilet to a playoff contender. so what do people say now? he can't throw, he can't play, he can't win. it won't last.  then, denver is so content with Tebow playing that they release their so-called star quarterback - Kyle Orton.

fast forward to tomorrow. the woeful Kansas City Chiefs claim Orton off waivers, and Tebow leads the Broncos into Minnesota to play a woeful Vikings team. let's not focus so much on what's not supposed to work. let's recognize that this statement makes Tebow's winning ways even more impressive than they otherwise should be.   although i am a Chiefs fan, and although i am not too keen on Tebow's religious alliances, from a football perspective and from a human being perspective, i want to see this guy prove his critics wrong. and it wouldn't surprise me to see Denver dump the Chiefs in the season finale on Jan 1 to elevate Denver into the playoffs for the first time in a long while.

December 3, 2011 - Pac 12 title game for lame ducks?

so we have UCLA Bruins playing Oregon Ducks for the so-called conference title game. Oregon tied Stanford for the best record within conference play in the north division, and wins that tiebreaker to host the game. UCLA gets in with a miserable overall record of 6-6 because division winner Southern Cal faces disqualification from playoffs as penalty for something school administrators did 5 years ago. UCLA was so awful that they fired their coach before this game even happened.

So we basically have the 3rd and 4th best teams in the conference playing for the right to go to the Rose Bowl. So as expected, Oregon destroyed UCLA and will go to the Rose Bowl, while conference-best Stanford waits to see whether or not they will get to play in the National Championship game (they are hoping to sneak in the back door by having other top teams lose their last game of the year.

Meanwhile, down south, LSU plays Georgia in a game where LSU can still lose their conference and end up in the National championship game, while #2 alabama sits and waits to see whether or not they will get into the National title game, or miss the BCS outright (if Georgia wins, they get to play the Sugar Bowl, which may force Alabama right down to the Cotton Bowl).

so some conferences have championship games while others simply award their title to the best regular season record. some teams can be helped by having to play a conference title game, while other's risk harm. others are helped by not having to play one, while others miss the chance to pad their style points.

meanwhile, someone from the big east will play a BCS game while none of them really deserve to be there.

houston and boise have both had great seasons, yet a school like michigan who can't even qualify for their conference title game - sits back and may get a spot simply based on their historical popularity.

while i will wait til the games of today are over to tell you who i think will go to the bcs and who i think SHOULD go, i will say that i think the best 10 teams should be there, as that is the goal of the BCS, isn't it??

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nov 22, 2011 - McCreath quits PFLAG over pro-choice alliance

It's been an interesting week. here's bits n pieces from two pieces of correspondence i have sent to the Transgender Education Committee, who report to the national executive for PFLAG Canada:----------------------------------
It is with deep regret that I announce my decision to leave this group. It was recently brought to my attention that PFLAG's Newfoundland Chapter was not only relaunched by folks who represent a controversial organzation known as Planned Parenthood Newfoundland, but that they have now formally partnered with them. This organization stands for several things that i do not support. Most importantly, their anti - St. John's Pride Inc. stance, and their position in the pro-life/pro-choice debate.
Integrity and values are extremely important to me, and I don't feel it appropriate to volunteer for a PFLAG committee that reports to the National Executive, if I do not even feel comfortable attending meetings of my Local Chapter, nor supporting or endorsing their work.

...it is definitely a sad decision, but one that was rather easy for me to make. i cannot express how disappointed i am to see PFLAG (even if only in Newfoundland) alligning directly with an organization who's primary mandate is pregnancies and abortions.

The day's gonna come when scientific technology will allow us to tell if a fetus is going to be born LGBT, and when that time comes, most LGBT people will die before they are even born. if my parents knew i was gonna be born trans, i would have likely been aborted.... hearing a parent say words to that effect, hit me very hard.

people like me deserve a chance to be born. sure being trans is challenging, but it's still very much a life worth living! planned parenthood apparently seems to think otherwise. they must be stopped.   
-----------------------------------------

more on my vlog here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD2S7cWDrmY

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November 20, 2011 Newfoundland observes Transgender Day of Remembrance

Nov 20, 2011 marked the 13th annual international Transgender Day of Remembrance. An historic event occured in Newfoundland, as for the first time ever, members of the LGBT community formally booked an event on the property of the headquarters of the Provincial Government - the Confederation Building. Members of the local LGBT community and their allies, came together this morning for a candle light vigil that was produced and emceed by Jennifer McCreath, co-founder of St. John's Pride Inc (stjohnspride.org) and East Coast Trans Alliance (eastcoasttransalliance.org).

Fighting wind and cold, a crowd of about 15 gathered at 10 am for a one hour event that featured a variety of special speakers and events. All three major political parties took the time to write formal letters of recognition, which were read aloud. Also, statements were sent in and read by other prominent national trans advocates Christin Milloy (the first openly-trans person to ever run for provincial political office), and Josie Harding (co-founder of ECTA and chair of Moncton Trans Peer Support Group).

The names of all reported murdered transpeople were read aloud, candles were lite in their honour, and a moment of silence was observed. In addition to memorializing the victims, McCreath ensured that the opportunity was taken for other issues to be discussed at this event, especially since mainsteam media was in attendance to cover the event. Noah Davis-Power, the youngest Canadian to ever run in a provincial election (an NDP candidate who also happens to be an out LGBT Newfoundlander) spoke about the power of individuals being able to overcome adversity. Rob Sinnott, Chair of local PFLAG Chapter and a local LGBT youth group spoke about the resources that are available in this Province for both youth and others.

McCreath took the microphone again and challenged the education system to step up to the plate and do their job - that being, to educate our youth about the real world, a world that includes LGBT people. She also spoke about the challenges trans people still face today in Newfoundland, including lack of recognition in the Human Rights Act, poor out of date health care policies and services, and societal discrimination with regards to employment, housing, and harassment. McCreath also specifically thanked Noah, Rob, and Egale Canada for their hard work lobbying the education system to better deal with bullying. Local musician Terry Rielly was also on hand to sing two new songs that he had written, one that he initially wrote for Pride Week, and one specifically for this occasion.





Sunday, November 20, 2011

Nov 19, 2011 - Scooter the Hamster!

Well, it looks like we have a new fastest runner in the house! Scooter the Hamster joined the unit today. He is only 34 days old. He is still very small - about the size of two adult fingers. This was his first day in his new cage and away from siblings and mommy, but he's adjusted well - already learned how to drink out of the new water bottle, find the food dish, and run in the wheel. He will be a low maintenance pet and will make for some fun times with my two very curious cats! What a great way to head into a weekend that will feature a sad and somber trans day of remembrance ceremony.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 12, 2011 frontrunner again!

well, it had been several weeks since i last attended the weekly International Frontrunners Saturday morning run, but i decide that i was ready to get back out there. I decided to have a test run Friday afternoon, and i pushed through 8.6k and managed to survive. Frontrunners usually does a lap of quidi vidi lake, which means i had to also get myself to and from quidi vidi. well, it was a rough night as my cats kept waking me up..  but that didn't seen to matter.  i fought thru back pain and made it down to the lake just in time to get things started. the run went well and i had a great time chatting with fellow NL Chapter founders Tony and Dave.  I made it all the way home too, giving me 14.2k on the morning. the knees are a little sore, but not really any worse than they were yesterday morning. to run 22.8k in a span of 21 hours is quite the accomplishment, given my state of recovery.  feeling optimistic that i will be able to run a little more regularily as we get deep into the fall.  i might actually consider debuting at this January's "hypothermic half" marathon, in Mount Pearl.  seems i always gain motivation when there is a good to shoot for.

Jenn

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10, 2011 - Skin removal for weight loss patients

wow, so three people lose a ton of weight and have so much excess skin, that doctors consider it a health risk if they don't have it surgically removed. problem though, our lovely Medical Care Plan (provincial insurance provider) won't pay for it (guess they either think it is cosmetic in all cases, or there just aren't enough people raising the issue).

well, here's my thoughts on the matter, as i posted on CBC's website.. thoughts that got me 31 thumbs up and only 2 thumbs down:
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the fundamental principles of the Canada Health Act and all provincial health insurance programs include: Public administration, Comprehensiveness, Universality, Portability and Accessibility. What this means is that any health service deemed medically necessary, should be covered. This really makes all other factors moot in this argument.


So, who should decide what is medically necessary? Should it be politicians and policy-makers who work in Confederation Building and have never met this person? Or should it be Pam's provincially-licenced doctors? I say let doctors decide what is medically necessary and what is not.

Morally, sure, you can argue either way. you could say that Pam has taken positive steps to improve her life and lower her use of other health care resources... or sure, you could say that overweight people never should have been overweight in the first place, and that they brought it on themself.

The real problem here in this province is that there is not enough emphasis on preventative health. we are so reactionary. what is sad though, is that many health care dollars are eaten up treating health conditions that could have been easily prevented, that we as a province claim we 'can't afford' to treat many other medical conditions that are brought on through no fault of the patients.

Heck, i am an example. i required surgery for a medical condition i was born with, yet i was denied MCP funding too.yet cancer treatments for life-long drinkers and smokers are regularly covered. How is this fair? It sadly comes down to strength in numbers, because numbers = votes. and that's the core problem with giving government a monopoly on health care.
----------

Very interesting that the media is jumping all over this issue, while turning a blind eye to many others who need medical treatment for conditions they were born with. but hmmm, this just goes to show you the power of the media..

Jenn

Monday, October 31, 2011

October 31, 2011 - stats

let's not forget that this blog was initially set up to be a running blog, so with this in mind, let's take a look at the year that has been so far in terms of monthly running k stats.....

2011

Jan 137.60 - 137.60

Feb 044.10 - 181.70

Mar 161.30 - 343.00

Apr 188.80 -   524.20

May 208.80 - 733.00k

June 061.00 - 794.00

july 049.30 - 843.30

aug 031.60 - 874.90

sept 110.30 - 985.20

oct 072.90 - 1062.10k

to summarize, it was a very rough month. i literally needed a full week to recover from the exhaustion that was the newfoundland marathon. but the knees never really did get a chance to recover. then it was my 5th cape to cabot, which was totally awful. more than 3 hours to get thru 20k of hills - most of which was at a walking pace, with very sore knees, feet, and back. 

15 days removed from cape to cabot, i am still both physically and emotionally deflated. i sense i have arthritis in my knees, hip, and maybe even in the back. doc visits ahead shortly. i'd have to rate those 3 hours on the cape to cabot among the worst in my life - a clear sign that i do not enjoy running now, if i ever actually did.

oh well, i may never run again, but i can at least feel good about the fact that running served its purpose. the goal was to lose weight, so when i gained weight during the hormone replacement process, i would end up breaking even, and that's ironically and amazingly, what i did. i enter this blog post weighing the exact same as i was when i first started transition - pre everything..

it's certainly been an amazing 5 years. from that first 8 minute run around the block at my home in Etobicoke Ontario - to crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon, to claiming the gold medal to become the first formally sanctioned transsexual marathon runner in world history, in Copenhagen, Denmark, to struggling to keep up with the team that was dismantling the course (after the race, apparently), on the cape to cabot.  30 marathons, 2 boston invitations, and a ton of respect from around the world - not a bad bonus perk for taking all of this running on.

well, i am not going to officially retire from marathons (yet again), but i will state that i won't be back out there unless i can somehow find a way to eliminate all this knee pain and have the ability to train  properly..

anyway, i can take the pressure off and focus on recovery, for now, and try to enjoy some time without having to go thru all that pain...  meanwhile, i am going to focus on walking as my method of getting exercise.

Jenn

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October 20, 2011 - Winnipeg Jets appear blacked out on Rogers Super SportsPak

Super Sportspak is a specialize cable tv package that allegedly provides access to 'out of market' regional sports games on tv. Rogers taps into NFL Sunday Ticket, NHL Centre Ice, and other league products, to provide service to their customers. The idea is that you can watch every game, whether your local cable market carries the game or not.  well, not sure if this is an issue with NHL centre ice, rogers, or other, but for the second time this week, the Winnipeg Jets game (broadcasted regionally in Manitoba on new digital channel TSN Jets), has not been aired via Super SportsPak, as broadcasted tuesday and tonight. instead, all i get is a menu screen (as depicted)... hmmmmmmm.....

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 14, 2011 - welcome back AHL!

Last night marked the return of the American hockey league to newfoundland for the first time in 6 years (when the St. John's Maple Leafs left for Ontario). While it's no secret that i have not been a fan of the political work of Danny Williams and his Conservative Government, i want to give him full credit for taking the lead on bringing this team here. When it was announced that the NHL's Atlanta franchise was moving to Winnpieg, Danny knew that the existing AHL team in Winnipeg would have to find a new home, so he went out a lobbied for this team to move here. In the end, not only did this team end up relocating, it also became the official minor pro affiliate to the Winnipeg team, and Danny was hired on as President and CEO.

In addition to being a feeder system to Winnipeg, the goal was set out to make the St.John's Ice Caps a credible and competitive team that would cater to the Newfoundland market. Danny and Co went out and signed 2001 Stanley Cup winning goalie David Abischer (who had left the NHL to play in Europe for the past 4 years). Furthermore, Jason King, a Newfoundland native, was signed to to the team. While both will hav a goal of getting promoted to the NHL, it will be fun and exciting to watch them play here in St. John's.

Tonight, the Ice Caps hosted their first eer home game, and the event started out with an awesome pre-game party outside the venue with a local band playing Newfoundland-style bluegrass/rock. Inside, there was an amazing pre-game ceremony that included a video tribute of the history of hockey in the province; as well as a ceremonial faceoff that included many historic greats, including Howie Meeker.

The game was actually stolen by the awesome play of the visiting team's goalie, who stopped 39 shots in his way to leading the Hamilton Bulldogs to a 4-0 win. But that did little to dampen the spirits of a sold out crowd of 6217 people.

i was fortunate enough to score a ticket to this special game. after attending many 'lasts' in sports history (i was there for the closing of the exhibition statdium in toronto, and the forum in montreal), it was nice to attend a 'first'.

So, i'll say it loud and clear, just to prove my lack of bias: thanks and congrats to Ice Caps President and CEO Danny Williams for bringing pro hockey back to Newfoundland!

Jenn

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oct 10, 2011 - Winnipeg Jets back in NHL

Wow, i never thought i would see the NHL return to Winnipeg Manitoba. 21 years ago, i made my one and only visit to this city - often referenced as the curling capital of the world. I attended the old Winnipeg Arena and watched the Jets play a game against Mark Messier and the Edmonton Oilers (this was the year Edmonton won their only post-gretzky era cup).  6 years later, the Jets closed up shop and moved to Arizona.

Well, after years of supporting minor hockey, the city gets a new building, a new team, and a new logo.  Equally as exciting is the announcement that this new team's feeder system will include a minor pro team in St. John's - the St. John's Ice Caps!

There is a buzz here in St. John's for sure, and a recent exhibition game featuring the Jets here was so popular that tickets had to be held back and awarded via lottery system.  after growing up in Toronto in the 80s and 90s, where the NHL and OHL were a frequent part of my life, i lost interest in the sport after the 2004 work stoppage.  But with these two teams coming to form, i have a big of a renewed interest in Canada's national sport. As the Jets opened their season yesterday afternoon on national tv, for the first time in decades, i found myself flipping back and forth from NFL to NHL on a sunday afternoon. 

Although i have declared myself a Pittsburgh Penguins fan since the mid 90s (due to my admiration of Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, and later - Nova Scotian Sidney Crosby), i can't help but feel a sense of excitement and loyalty for the Winnipeg/St. John's franchise.  I have found a renewed interest in this sport for the first time in 7 years, and i look forward to tuning in to follow the progress of this team.

Jenn

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oct 7, 2011 - amendment of my sept 28 post about concert tickets

Ok folks, i don't usually edit or remove my past blog posts, but in an effort to eliminate misinformation on the internet, i have decided to amend this entry.... it is my goal to keep the story and the spirit of my mood in tact, while correcting facts and removing opinions that are no longer valid:

After years of prep, the Arts and Culture Centres (6 indoor concert venues across the province, that are run by the provincial government) finally launched their new and improved website - which included secure online ticket ordering.  one month later, i sign up and make my very first purchase.  less than 1 minute after tickets supposedly went on sale for Jim Cuddy (of Blue Rodeo fame) and his solo band's November 16th concert in St. John's.  I was delighted to secure a pair of front row centre tickets.

Well, the next day, i get a phone message advising me that there was apparently a glitch in the new computer system. these seats were apparently not supposed to be made available for me to purchase, and that i was being asked to call in and either accept a refund, or accept alternate seats.

As far as i am concerned this is a major blunder and huge embarssment for Government, especially since they want to blame this new computer system that was likely created by a team of highly-paid private technology consultants - all on the taxpayer's dollar. Heck, this even has me questioning whether it is even appropriate for Government to be in the ticket-selling business, let alone, the entertainment business.

Anyway, i called into the box office to discuss and accepted a pair of alternate seats. i also accepted a free pair of tickets to another event at their venue. but what they couldn't do, was tell me what had happened specifically, and why it was me, and not someone else, who was being asked to give up these seats.. 

So, i filed a complaint with management reps from the Arts/Culture Centre and Jim Cuddy's agent. I had initially indicated on this blog that there was not an immediate response, but shortly thereafter, i did get a response from Cuddy's rep expressing empathy and requesting more info. after sending more info, although i did not hear back from the agent, i was contacted by Arts/Culture Centre management and invited to come in for a face to face meeting to chat further about the issue.

Although my ultimate hopes of somehow getting front row seats to this concert did not materialize, i am still very pleased with the steps the Arts/Culture centre took too listen to my concerns, provide me with additional information about what happened, and their efforts to take action to try to make things right.

As someone who used to work for the provincial government's information technology (IT) department, i have been trained to feel disappointed when people always seem to want to blame a poor defenceless computer system for their problems. computers only do what people program them to do. for every computer problem, there is a person who directly or indirectly caused that problem, eirher during system development, or by the end user.

Well,  having heard a detailed explanation, i totally take the Arts/Culture centre off the hook and feel quite comfortable stating that this matter occured due to no fault of them.

One thing i did do during the process of this ticket issue, was place guilt and pressure upon Cuddy's team and the arts/culture centre's team - and i feel badly about how my complaint stressed and impacted these people, and may have stresses the relationship they have with each other.

anyway, I guess my beef is with the IT department - who according to publicly-available Department of Finance budget documents, spent $38 million on 'professional services' (aka private sector contractors) during the 2010-11 fiscal year.  Hey taxpayers, do you think you are getting your money's worth???

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sept 26, 2011 - Ironwoman!

well, i entered yesterday's newfoundland provincial marathon under-trained, over-weight, stressed out, and injured, but i was determined to start and finish the race and keep my streak alive as the active ironwoman in this event, and i did! 5 consecutive newfoundland marathons, and a nice place to celebrate my 30th career marathon.
more details posted here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HGT7HzPOvE

Jennifer

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sept 24, 2011 - history in the making?

well, it is that time of the year again! yes it's the third oldest marathon in north america - and the 12th oldest one in the world: the newfoundland provincial marathon. the 60th running of this great event, and my 5th consecutive one (placing me fairly high up on the list of active participant streaks).  it's no secret that i have been dealing with a bad knee, and because of this, have seen my health and fitness levels fall to about as low as they can get; however, i have had a really good week of prep - focusing mostly on rest, and getting in a few light training runs.

my fellow marathon maniac alexis is in town from NYC for this one - he will run his 21st marathon of the year - and is well over 100 in his career. he is actually a fast-walker, who will likely finish this marathon, while walking, at least an hour faster than i will run it. 

i also had a chance to  chat with newfoundland running legend joe ryan - who is in the process of documenting the history of this race in a book. joe won the 1969 Tely 10 mile road race - eastern canada's biggest annual running event. he's also run 51 career marathons to date, including 24 newfoundland marathons. if that is not enough inspiration to get out and run, then you better check your pulse!

here's a video vlog of me rambling on about tomorrow's big race:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaPtx6CFRsI

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

september 20, 2011 - Pride Panel Discussion to Air!

The LGBTQ Health Care Issues panel discussion that took place as part of St. John's Pride Inc.'s Pride Week will air on St. John's Rogers TV friday night at 9.30 - 11.30 pm! this event was recorded July 2011 and features presentations from Canada Blood Services, Canadian Mental Heath Association, Aids Committee of NL, East Coast Trans Alliance Inc., and Holy Trinity High School Gay/Straight Alliance.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sept 18 2011 - general update

busy week that was. here's is a brief vlog that details what i have been up to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWfaUUjct64

Jenn

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 12, 2011 - excellent weekend

well, i had a mixture of resting and running! saturday morning, i was responsible for hosting our weekly front runners event, so i dragged my butt out of bed and ran down to quidi vidi lake (a very painful 5k). then i waited and waited and nobody showed up! so i decided to cancel the lap around the lake and run up and down signal hill and back, which i did!  then ran home for good measure. a very slow and painful 14k, but i hit my goal of running 14k for the first time since early july.

that was enough to wear me out for the day.  after a good sleep, i was up sunday late morning and ready for more! so did a slightly stronger 13k, took a break, then ran another 8.1k - giving me a half marathon. then i jumped in the pond to cool off for good measure!  for more details about my running weekend, check out my latest vlog post on youtube

Jenn

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 8, 2011 - NFL is here!

i don't think i have ever been so happy to see the start of the NFL and NCAA football season. i totally missed my infamous relaxing 19 saturdays and sundays in a row in front of my 5 tv sets watching my favourite spectator sport. the popularity growth of the sport even has them broadcasting mid week games too, and we've got a good one to start the season tonight with New Orleans at Green Bay - the last 2 champions, playing against each other.  the Pack are favoured, but i suspect the Saints will be playing with a chip on their shoulders and will quietly sneak out a road win upset. The addition of Darren Sproles to replace the over-rated Reggie Bush should help the Saints establish an offense that is already very good. the pressure of the microscope and the spotlight will be lots for the Pack to handle.

the new kick off at the 35 yard line rule is not going to benefit the audience though. even 5 yards more will mean more touchbacks, and fewer exciting run backs. definitely a concern.

ahhhh, it was 9 years ago today that i attended the season-opening game in Cleveland, as the Browns hosted my Chiefs, who had much promise under the second season of the Vermeil regime. In a high scoring battle, KC stole the game with a Morten Andersen field goal, after Dwayne Rudd was penalized for throwing his helmet during play (when he actually thought he had made the game winning sack). I was amazed i escaped Cleveland alive that afternoon in my KC attire!  In the end, the browns got revenge, as they went on to win 9 games and sneak into the playoffs, while kc missed out at 8-8. 5 years later, i would return to cleveland to run my second career marathon, which went very well.

haven't been to a game in KC since 2006 - where i saw them clobber the 49ers - then drove down the road to Wichita to see the Rolling Stones play a concert.. what a day that was!

enjoy the season folks!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 7, 2011 - reacting to tragic plane crash

Shocking news this morning as it was announced that a plane carrying an entire KHL hockey team had crashed, killing all but 1 member of the team. Yaroslavl Lokomotiv was one of the top teams in what is generally regarded as the best hockey league in the world, except for the NHL. 9 former NHL players died, including one Canadian - long time NHL defenceman and assistant coach Brad McCrimmon, who won a Stanley Cup in 1989 as part of the Calgary Flames.  I met Brad back in 1989, amazingly enough, at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, after a Flames morning practice.  Brad had just moved to Russia to take on his first job as head coach of a pro hockey team. How sadly ironic that he dies one day before coaching in his first official game.

Also dead include several NHLers who I watched play live at one point or another: former Toronto Maple Leafs Igor Korolev and Alexander Karpotsev, 2010 Olympic scoring leader and 3 time NHL all star game participant Pavol Demitra, Ruslan Salei, Karel Rachunek, and 2006 Stanley Cup winner Josef Vacicek.

I recorded the following video to reflect upon this tragedy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxcoSsmAPwA

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sept 6, 2011 - weekend of rest

well, it was just what the doctor ordered: 4 relaxing days on the beach in the sun! no phone calls, no computers, no stress. just me, sun, water, and a relaxed attitude.

still dealing with emotional and physical burnout though, and i will continue to take steps to postpone and/or outright eliminate as much stress and anxiety as possible... bso folks, please don't be offendid if an e-mail or phone call doesn't get returned right away this week, or if a meeting gets postponed or doesn't get booked.  but i need to keep myself safe and put myself in the best position for recovery, so i can have a busy fall season.

Jenn

Monday, August 29, 2011

August 28, 2011 - Did Not Start

well, it was a tough day as i offiically no-showed at the Quebec Marathon this morning.  About 4 weeks ago, i made the official decision to cancel my plans to attend this race, due to a sore knee and due to extremelylow levels of health and fitness. at the very least, i can feel proud that i know i made the right decision, and i can literally continue my recovery process from what has been an extremely physically and emotionally-draining summer.  Jenn

Friday, August 19, 2011

August 19, 2011 the week from hell

gee, i am glad that's over. so many things went wrong.. i don't even want to blog about most of the issues because they are too upsetting (not to mention, too personal).

a positive highlight was a lovely summery day on thursday - and after work, i took a stroll to kent's pond and had my first august pond swim. hard to believe the weather was so crappy for most of the month. it was fun swimming with the ducks! hoping there will be a few more nice swimable days before it starts snowing again..

oh well, hoping for a good weekend and a better week ahead.

Jenn

Saturday, August 13, 2011

August 12, 2011 - the Teddy Bear Man!

Nothing like a visit to the 34th annual Terry Rielly teddy bears' picnic in St. John's to put you in a good mood. Terry is a local institution for this event that attracts several hundred people.  Terry is a huge advocate for LGBT rights and has taken many steps to help with trans-visibility in society, including n official part of his teddy bear picnic staff - where last year, i tended to 'sick teddys' at the 'teddy bear hospital'. Terry is a singer/songwriter/piano and guitar player, who has traveled around the world to play music. He debuted a new song, that themed on acceptance, earlier this summer at our Pride parade.




Thursday, August 11, 2011

August 11, 2011 - brief update

well, i am pleased to report that i had a rather good day. it has been a very rough week for me as i battle with depression, as well as an indefinite separation from my two closest friends.  it has actually been a good break for me as i have had a chance to reflect on lots of things. i also checked in with my all-star psychologist for a long session, which helped me help myself make some decisions and set some priorities, and fire myself up. At the same time, i helped myself come to peace with where i am at, and specifically, to accept that i needed certain things to happen the way they did, and that it is ok to be imperfect, and ok to take a break to recover from what has been a very stressful, busy, productive, and successful couple of months. i've got lots of good things happening in  my life these days, and i am not going to dwell too much more on the negatives.  i am ready to move forward with some new projects, develop relationships with new people, and get back to basics with my health and fitness.

Jenn

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August 9, 2011 - just when you thought you'd seen it all...

ok, it has been well documented that i have had a rough week. well, here's your chance to pile on folks. now my best friend since feb 2009 wants to cut ties with me, without really having a clear cut explanation. this comes as quite a shock and disappointment.. to lose this friendship would hurt more than any other loss i have suffered in my entire life...... i know she is going to read this, so i hope you will think seriously and carefully about this.. we have shared so much together since we first met, way back on oct 31, 2008. i love you more than anyone or anything else in the entire world. can we please try to talk this out and resolve whatever it is that is upsetting you??


moving on, the highlight of the day was a visit to the dentist (a sign that it probably wasn't a very good day).. which started and ended with a very sad run.. i happen to live 6k from the dentist office, so there was a perfect opportunity to get in a rare run and test out the knee..  well, not surprisingly, the run was brutal. i am so out of game shape as far as running is concerned. it is really pathetic. i actually started crying at the 4k mark because i was so upset and disgusted.... (then amazingly enough, the run got better). the run home started out good but whimpered into a walk after a net of 10.5k. oh well, it's 10.5 more k than i ran yesterday, so it's at least something worth writing about...

can't remember if i have officially announced this on the blog or not, but i have decided to no-show at the quebec marathon on aug 27. there's just no way i am going to be ready to run a marathon 3 weeks from now, let alone, attempt a BQ. so rather than waste more money and knee strength, i am going to pull the plug and focus on a late september marathon - my 5th consecutive newfoundland marathon - which will simply be a slow gentle fun run.. the return to Boston will have to wait at least another year... oh well...

anyway, tomorrow is shaping up to have some stressors, but hopefully some positives will come out of it.

Jenn

Monday, August 8, 2011

August 7, 2011 - ups and downs (and more downs)

yikes, it seems like i am only logging in here once a week now.  guess i need to remind myself how much i like to toot my own horn and publish my thoughts for the world to see!
it has truly been an amazing year for me thus far. so many amazing accomplishments. it has been a long 4 year transition journey, and it is amazing to finally start seeing myself as the person i have always wanted and needed to be.  i can finally look in the mirror and/or look at my resume of advocacy work, and feel proud of what i see.

i wrote a while back about the pain of heartbreak and rejection - something i suspect almost everyone can related to.  well, i had to go thru this, yet again, this weekend. yet another name added to the list of people who don't find me romantically or sexually attractive. while in the past, i could understand why people might not want to be romantically involved with me, it really seems to sting even more, now that i finally have some self-confidence.

i guess the real problem here is not that others don't find me attractive (although that certainly can be perceived as a major problem), but that i seem to be frequently giving my heart away to people who don't want it. and furthermore, perhaps i think i am more attractive of a person than i really am. 

while it is common knowledge that i have been known to make narcissistic comments as a form of sarcastic humour, i'd like to think of myself as a very down-to-earth and humble person.... and gaining a strong sense of self-worth and self-esteem shouldn't affect this.

while it wouldn't be true to say that nobody finds me attractive or that no romantic or sexual opportunities have come across my plate since transitioning, it frightens me to think that not only do i take every rejection personally, but i take it as a great shock.  it's as if i expect everyone to love me and every one to jump at the opportunity to be with me - either as a friend or romantically.

oh well, there's nothing more humbling than to face romantic or sexual rejection. to be told that you are not wanted or appreciated in that manner? it's totally crushing to the emotions and the ego. to have to go through this three times in a row? after going thru a major person-improvement transition project? well, it's devistating. i hurt so much last night that i actually intentionally inflicted self-harm - something i hadn't done for years (don't worry - nothing serious - i'm fine, really!). am i proud of that? hell no. do i understand why i did this? somewhat yes. did it make me feel better? interestingly enough, yes. do i feel narcissistic today? not at all. in fact, my sense of self-worth and self-esteem is about as low as it can get. i barely managed to get out of bed all weekend. this latest rejection totally shattered me. i literally had no interest in participating in life all weekend.

well, i don't know where to go from here. rejection sucks and i don't want my heart to hurt ever again. yet i won't find true love and happiness unless i risk it yet again. and ultimately, although i know that romance can't be all there is to life, and that it should only be considered icing on the cake, my life seems pretty darn empty without love.... and after 37 years of pre-op life, to finally be the person i know i was meant to be, and to finally have the self-confidence and self-esteem needed to carry on a relationship, it seems like my life is a total waste. 

i guess the monumental task ahead: i need to find a way to be happy without love in my life. i can't worry about things i can't control. i know that. but nothing else seems to work. i keep running out of things to try. you'd think that all my accomplishments in the past few years would be enough to make and keep me happy, but all those things don't seem to matter.

oh well, tomorrow is another day!

Jenn

Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 19, 2011 - Pride Flag Raised in Small Town Rural Newfoundland!

History was made this month as a special flag raising ceremony occured at the Town Hall building for Logy Bay, Outer Cove, and Middle Cove, Newfoundland, a town of 2000 people. The event was organized by St. John's Pride Inc., a non-profit organization whose mandate, among other things,  is to oversee the planning and delivery of a Pride Week in the City of St. John's. A bonfire at Middle Cove Beach has been an annual tradition during Pride Week, so it was decided that a symbolic flag raising event would add value to the perception of acceptance of LGBT community members, in what is generally known as a conservative part of the province. Pride Inc. received nothing but support from Town staff and the Mayor. Several other prominent members of society expressed interest in being a part of it, including Gemma Hickey and Geoff Gallant, who spoke in person, and Premier Kathy Dunderdale, who sent along a special message to be read.

While raising a flag in front of 50 people may seem small, it certainly sends a strong message of visibility. Members of the media were on hand and an awesome article and photo were depicted in the local newspaper, the Telegram, the next day. A video of the entire event is posted here: Video of Flag Raising

Jennifer McCreath, Head of Corporate Management for St. John's Pride Inc., poses for a picture with several youth Pride supporters at the Township of Logy Bay / Middle Cove / Outer Cove.
Board of Directors for St. John's Pride Inc., Jennifer McCreath, Sylvia Newhook, and Brandon Jenkins, pose with the Mayor of LB / MC / OC, John Kennedy, and the rainbow flag!

Jennifer poses with Mayor and Deputy Mayor, and two beautiful Newfoundland Dogs!

Mayor John Kennedy prepares to raise the flag with several youth.

July 31, 2011 - St. John's Pride Inc. - Pride Week Report

Well, it was simply an exhausting but amazing week here in St. John's. There was quite a bit of controversy and conflict among the local LGBT community, when steps were taken by myself and others to incorporate an entity known as St. John's Pride Inc., that would take over the role of overseeing the planning, management, and delivery of a Pride Week in this city, but things ended up coming together rather nicely.

The phone was literally ringing off the hook in the weeks leading up to July 18-24, as many different entities wanted to get involved and become a part of the celebration.  Public stakeholder consultation sessions were called and attracted more people than any other Pride meeting that i can ever remember in this city. Members of the media who were LGBT were not only anxious to cover the stories, but become a part of the organization, which made media engagement , both before and during Pride Week, much easier.  Organizations such as Yuk Yuks Comedy, Provincial Department of Tourism Culture and Recreation, and Americal Apparel, were willing to bend over backward to be involved.

Our week started with a busy slate of events, including a noon hour flag raising, and an evening reception, at city hall.  These events were very well attended, and featured more LGBT speakers than ever before. The decision to make the evening reception a 'dry' event, caused a little bit of controversy, but proved to be the right move, as there was no underaged drinking, nor public intoxication, of attendees. The event was also as well-attended as in previous years.  This step also proved helpful in getting people out of City Hall on time and over to Chatters Cafe and The Grapevine, where further social events occured. 

Tuesday featured another busy schedule.  The day started with an afternoon Open House at the Aids Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador, an organization that provides a variety of services, including aids education and awareness, needle exchange program, and mens shelter.  Then it was off to the township of Logy Bay Middle Cove and Outer Cove for an historic flag raising event. This was perhaps the first time a small township has ever raised a rainbow flag in honour of Pride week.  Then it was off to Middle Cove beach for a bonfire, which was very well attended, despite threats of rain.

Thursday started with the debut of a Pride self-defense class, which was delivered by one of the most recognized and credible martial arts teacher in the province.  Then it was a quick turn over to get ready for a panel discussion on health care issues facing the LGBT community. This was recorded by Rogers television in its entirty for future airing. Excellent speeches were given by reps from Canadian Blood Services, Aids Committee of NL, Canadian Mental Health Association, Moncton Transgender Support Group, East Coast Trans Alliance, and Holy Trinity High School Gay/Straight Alliance.

The evening carried on over at Yuk Yuks for a night of comedy from nationally-respected gay comic Richard Ryder, and local comic and singers Mark Day (from Canadian Idol fame), and Doris Anita Douche (Drag Idol).

A movie night on Friday followed - where the Baby Formula was screened.

Saturday kicked off with a photo Scavanger Hunt, which included several enthusiastic teams. A  picnic in the park followed, which was highlighted by Zumba dancers, presented by Pflag Canada. 

Then it was time to get down to business to set up the featured event of the week, the Variety Show at the 1200 seat theatre, Arts and Culture Centre. The dress rehearsal went very well for all attendees. The show got underway at 7 pm and featured emceeing by yours truly, singing from Denielle Hann, plate spinning from Vannie Woodford, drag lip sync from Roxie Cotton, dancing from the Burly Q Babies, improv from the PwG, and a comedy set from headliner Elvira Kurt.

Sunday's rally, drag race, parade, and BBQ went off very well, as all event saw more attendees than ever before. Gemma Hickey, and Federal MP Ryan Cleary spoke, Terry Rielly sang a newly-penned pride song, and Roxie did a great job hosting the drag race, subbing in for Doris.

The parade had a record 343 people and 23 dogs, not including me, who rode in the police escort car. I had to scramble to get more food at the BBQ, as it was attended by 3 times as many people as expected.

In terms of sponsorship, there was a very high level of interest from local businesses, major unions, and national companies.  While donations were small, this was at least a stepping stone to develop strong working relationships. 

In the near future, steps will be taken to build upon the week with public consultation feedback sessions, as well as corporate development projects to attempt to bring more people into the fold.

Anyway, it was an exhausting week but a good week. I would like to publicly thank all volunteers who helped make this week a success: Brandon Jenkins, Sylvia Newhook, Sarah Thompson, Cara Brown, Nathan Barnes, Dan Coombs, Vannie Woodford, Natalie Bambury, Brock Ballard, Lou Power, Pam Sheaves, Josie, and Sarah Downey.







2 - Jennifer speaks at Rally with Terry Rielly and Roxie Cotton looking on
3 - Elvira Kurt, Jennifer McCreath, and Vanessa Woodford pose for a pic at the meet n greet souvineer and autograph table at the Variety Show.
4 - pride parade in progress
5 - Jennifer poses with pro comics Richard Ryder, Mark Day, and Evany Rosen at Yuk Yuks.
6 - Pride Inc Board of Director Sylvia Newhook addresses a crowd at City hall as part of Pride Week's Opening Reception.
1 - photo omitted, in case you are wondering.... lol

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26, 2011 - tons of pride

oh my, it's been a while since i last wrote.  it was an incredibly busy pride week but all the effort was worth it. this city and province  saw so many amazing firsts for the lgbt community - including a flag raising in a small town, a letter of support from the Premier, performances from professional entertainers who had been flown in from the mainland, partnerships with major businesses, donations from mainstream unions, a televised panel discussion on lgbt health issues, and a variety show at our city's 2nd largest concert venue - the Arts and Culture Centre.

In the days ahead, i will attempt to document as much of my Pride memories as possible. Meanwhile, you can see tons of pics if you find me on facebook.

Jenn

Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18, 2011 - East Coast Trans Alliance Inc. (Incorporated).

Well, the name has been booked, and the work begins! Transpeople from Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island have agreed in principle to found this brand new organization.  ECTA will undertake a complex mandate of offering peer support to fellow transfolk, and engaging government policy makers and other stakeholders to educate and advocate and activate change for the better for issues facing transpeople - such as human rights, health care, housing, employment, violence, and lack of societal acceptance. ECTA will be a registered non-profit corporation.  More information and an official website eastcoasttransalliance.org will follow soon. But for now, you may direct comments and questions to me, Jennifer McCreath:  jennifer.mccreath@yahoo.com

I am also excited to announce that founder and chair of the Moncton Transgender Support Group, Josie, will not only be a part of this, but we will be lecturing together as a team as part of St. John's Pride Inc.'s panel Discussion on LGBTQ Health Care Issues. The event is Thursday July 21 at 5-7 pm in  the basement theatre of the Arts and Culture Centre. FREE ADMISSION! for more info: stjohnspride.org

Thursday, June 30, 2011

June 29, 2011 - NDP District Association - Executive Team Member!

Just a quick update today: I got elected to the Executive Board tonight for the NDP Provincial District Association of St. John's North. The Annual General Meeting attracted a great group of people. We elected a team of 7 people - including the three primary positions, and 4 at large members. I accepted the primary position of Secretary, and will work closely with the President and Treasurer. Quite exciting to be a part of this and to be nominated by a group of peers who in reality, knew very little about me. Thank you all for your faith and confidence in my ability to contribute. Looking forward to being a part of this awesome team! Let's paint this town Orange on election day in October!

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 24, 2011 - Off the Shelf: the long-lost Trans Health Article!

Transsexual Health Care in Newfoundland: Negotiating Red Tape and Old Stereotypes

In June 2007, Jefferson McCreath, a male who knew she was actually a woman born transsexual, moved to Newfoundland to take a job with the provincial government. Shortly after establishing herself into her new house, new job and new town, she took immediate steps to start her transition.

Although transsexualism was traditionally considered a mental illness the global medical community has almost unanimously recognized it as a physiological condition that can only be rectified through physical intervention: hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and sex reassignment surgery (SRS).

The Harry Benjamin Standards of Care, 6th Edition, (SOC) are globally recognized as the best-practice for transsexual health care. McCreath was saddened to learn that this protocol was not recognized in Newfoundland. Even worse, she found an old out-of-date government policy that required patients to travel to Toronto to complete a program at the infamous Gender Identity Clinic at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH), before the province would fund SRS. She also found that most other procedures were not covered, no matter what.

McCreath had already become familiar with the many horror stories that had been told by CAMH patients about the negative treatment and strange research experiments they were apparently forced to undergo before being considered for funding; and how a reported 90% of patients were rejected. The SOC make it clear that any team of doctors can oversee the application of the protocol. The idea that a special mental illness gender clinic would be required seemed absurd, so she decided not to attend there.

Even through private care, McCreath knew that she would not be able to get HRT or SRS unless she was able to procure the services of doctors who would act as gatekeepers to allow access to the product. So the search was on.

Meanwhile, McCreath couldn’t wait to get her transition under way. So she took the primitive step of “going full time” before ever taking a hormone pill. Finally, in early 2008, Jennifer had put together a suitable medical team that would provide hormones, and eventually, a recommendation for surgery.

Before starting HRT, Jennifer knew that she would have to store sperm if she had ever hoped to become a biological parent. While the Newfoundland Health care system often provides this service to testicular cancer patients, she was advised that this would not likely be covered for her. So Jennifer opened the wallet and traveled to a private clinic to have sperm stored.

The HRT first started with estrogen and a testosterone blocker. Quickly, it became evident that the blocker had adverse side effects. So rather than wait for her to complete her one year Real Life Experience test (RLE) to prove her readiness for SRS, her doctors supported the idea that she should immediately seek to have her testes removed. Well, once again, Jennifer dug deep into the wallet and found herself traveling to a private clinic, in the USA.

2009 started with shock and disappointment. After initially feeling accepted at work, she noticed job duties being taken away and given to other new people in the organization. Then shortly thereafter, what was supposedly a safe and secure job became a layoff. While she had speculations that her transition may have been a factor, she did not have the resources or the energy to fight it. So Jennifer set out to do the impossible, find another job.

By this time, Jennifer had filed a Human Rights Complaint with the Human Rights Commission of Newfoundland and Labrador (HRC). The complaint was against the Newfoundland Medical Care Plan (MCP) for what she stated was discriminatory treatment, as she was denied care, and funding for care, as a transsexual, that would ordinarily be provided to others. She also complained that it was discriminatory for her to require a recommendation from CAMH, for procedures otherwise obtainable and fundable upon the recommendation of a Newfoundland doctor for others. Furthermore, she complained that MCP’s policy to refuse to fund SRS at private clinics in Canada was inappropriate given the lack of such a service being available in Canada by any public institution.

Unfortunately, Gender Identity and Gender Expression are not included explicitly in the Human Rights Code of Newfoundland. So Jennifer’s complaint was based on “sex.” Two years later there has been no decision rendered by the HRC.

Jennifer specifically wanted to have her SRS performed by Dr. Pierre Brassard in Montreal, given that he was the only SRS surgeon in Canada, and given that he is considered one of the best in the world. A year later, and 40 job interviews later, Jennifer finally landed work (as a file clerk, of all things). While this job would only pay half of what she was previously earning, this would at least allow Jennifer to have a financial foundation and allow her to further build upon her credit rating. On January 24/11, Jennifer had SRS with Dr. Brassard.

One other issue that remained were that with almost three years of estrogen, Jennifer was not seeing mature breast development. After conducting extensive research, it became evident that adding the natural female hormone, progesterone, would be the only way for this to happen. Unfortunately for Jennifer, her doctor was reluctant to provide this hormone as the Canadian trans health network did not recommend it. Determined, Jennifer made yet another trip to the USA to a private medical clinic, where she was able to secure progesterone.

It may seem that Jennifer’s transition is over, but that is far from reality. Although she has had nine laser sessions on her face, there is still an extensive amount of facial hair that will need to be eliminated through electrolysis. Additionally, Jennifer has been combating male pattern baldness, which is irreversible, by wearing wigs. This is far from an ideal solution; however, hair transplants are also expensive. Jennifer also needs to work on finding her female voice. Meanwhile, Jennifer continues to battle underemployment, and more recently, depression.

So, what’s up next for Jennifer? She’ll keep fighting for her rights and others, through educational and advocacy work. Jennifer’s vision is for transsexuals, and any other non-cisgender-conforming individual, to have timely and funded care, upon recommendations from their local doctors.

Jennifer recently joined Canadian Professional Association of Transgender Health (CPATH) as a non-voting member, to become part of a policy development committee, where she took a leadership role in penning a membership expansion policy that would allow CPATH to grow. Jennifer hopes CPATH will become an internationally-recognized body of knowledge for trans health, so that they can combat the old myths of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V Gender Identity Committee, that transsexualism is a mental illness under the classification of “paraphilic fetish” (a label deemed suitable for sexual predators).

In addition to trans health policy work, Jennifer has also been recuited by PFLAG Canada to create and deliver a series of trans educational lectures, which will help Chapter leaders from across the country, better learn how to offer peer support to individuals who attend peer support meetings. There will also be an information package preparted and distributed.


Furthermore, Jennifer has also entered preliminary discussions with transwomen from across Eastern Canada to form the first officially-registered non-profit organization who will have an exclusive mandate of undertaking societal education, peer support, and advocacy & government lobbying, with regards to trans issues.

Jennifer also continues to play a key role in community peer support and education locally, and nationally. She frequently speaks publicly about trans issues, provides informal trans consulting advice on her blog, YouTube, and in person. Ultimately, Jennifer is concerned that she has essentially taken on the role of “unofficial spokesperson” for trans issues in Newfoundland, and even more concerned that it is she, not the Department of Health, who many people are turning to on a regular basis for help and advice.


Finally, Jennifer has taken a leadership role in managing the planning and delivery of a project team that will plan and deliver an awesome series of events for Pride Week 2011 in the City of St. John's, as part of one of the non-profit companies that she co-runs, St. John's Pride Inc. (for more info, see www.stjohnspride.org )

Meanwhile, she's always willing and able to make time to talk to anyone about trans issues. contact her at jennifer.mccreath@yahoo.com .

June 24, 2011 - snubbed, twice!

Gee, not exactly a great day. first I learn that an article on trans health in Newfoundland, that I worked so keenly on, was cut from Wayves magazine for the second month in a row. even worse, my so-called monthly column and my 'team membership' were not recognized. trying to find out what happened. I still strongly support the organizations work and encourage people to read the July issue.. but you will definitely take note that the content is very focused on Halifax, with a small helping of Moncton.. but nothing in there for Newfoundland, or transsexuals for that matter. not exactly the best way to encourage Newfoundlanders to buy into supporting the product. oh well, I sent off a little e-mail to the editors so it will be interesting to see what they have to say. meanwhile, I won't let folks wait any longer. I will be quickly editing the article tonight and will publish it right here on jennifermccreath.blogspot.com for the world to see!

speaking of snubbing, I found out that I finished runner up for yet another government of Newfoundland analyst job. heck, they might as well not even bother to run competitions. just make a rubber stamp that says "Jennifer McCreath second place" for every job ad that comes out of that institution.


I have one more interview on July 5, and I am awaiting results of my most recent interview from last week, but I have decided that if I don't get one of these jobs, then i wIll no longer seek further job interviews with this org. 50 strikes and you are out. I will then focus my job search in other directions. it's just not worth the time and emotions to be a sacrificial lamb every time. It's totally sad that the Newfoundland Government won't hire me to do high quality work that I have clearly demonstrated that I can do.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June 19, 2011 - heartbreak sucks for transsexuals too!

Oh my, it is amazing how debilitating emotional stress and depression can be. What makes it brutal is that you never know when it will hit, and when it does, you have no control over it. Just when things seem to be going great, boom, it hits, and hits hard.  The more things change, the more they stay the same, and the tougher they seem to get to deal with.  Other than my dismal employment situation, life is going great. i'm post op, i'm legally female. i'm finally at the stage where my body has adjusted to the hormonal changes, and i am able to resume running and i am losing weight... i have a great circle of friends here at home in Newfoundland, and i am developing a very strong bond with transwomen in other parts of eastern canada. i am making strong meaningful leadership contributions to a variety of non-profit ventures, including st. john's pride, CPATH, and PFLAG. I am about to take on a major role in helping the provincial NDP party here. summer is approaching and i live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.... 


but the one thing that hasn't changed, is my ability to develop strong intense romantic feelings for people that i can't seem to have.  the year started out with my amazing trip to Montreal for surgery. and while i was there, ireally fell hard for my roommate. 5 days later, she's flying home to a southern part of the USA. I go visit her a few months later, but that only seems to make the pain worse. she doesn't have any interest in dating me, or any transwomen for that matter.. plus, the long distance thing wouldn't appeal to either of us.


so on comes the next one... a transwoman i had been casually aquiainted with for almost a year and never thought too much of it. well, we finally started chatting on phone and we really seemed to click. a second phone call and a third phone call... each one lasting over 4 hours. then we had as many as 4 trips planned to meet each other and spend time together, even before we met.  well, the first visit was awesome. i knew that these feelings i had were real.  but unfortunately, the feelings were not returned, not necessarily because i wasn't considered a good catch, but because she's at a stage in her transition where she's just not comfortable with the idea of romance with anyone. 2 visits later, we have really hit it off a friends and as business partners of sorts.. and this is all great, don't get me wrong! but it is very painful and very bittersweet.  i know many people who can't stand to be around, let alone be best friends, with someone they can't have more from; but i'd like to think that i have the respect and dignity to not be like that. i genuinely love the friendship and the work, and will never give that up, but it doesn't change the fact that it really f*ckin' hurts.


oh well, if there's one lesson in here, i've come to realize that i'd love to be with another transwomen.. that goes for sexually, romantically, and anything else you can add into the relationship equation. spending time with the above-mentioned friends, and several other transwomen friends, have made me realize that. this has also made me realize my true pansexuality. i often thought i was only attracted to GGs (aka women born female), but that's clearly not the case. i love transpeople - i find transwomen (pre-op, post-op, part-op, or even non-op) to be very attractive packages.  i've even caught myself noticing a few effeminsate men in ways i've never looked at them before.  so if there is a silver lining in this dark cloud, there should be more potentialy suitable candidates than even i realized, that are out there in this world. if i can try to remain a happy, positive, motivated person, then i can only hope that it is a matter of time before my long-lost life partner lands in front of me takes me off my feet! sometimes i wonder if this will ever happen, and i get really worried..


well, i'm gonna sendf this off now. i just wanted to send out a gentle reminder that we have feelings too!


Jenn

Thursday, June 16, 2011

June 16, 2011 - the rest of the week

well, lots on the go this week, that's for sure! it was brought to my attention that the executive of CPATH are in full support of the policy proposal that i took the lead on penning, upon consultation with a working group of trans health professionals and advocates. It is expected that the policy will be voted into corporate law at the upcoming AGM. It is exciting to know that little old me played a key role in making CPATH more accessible to the people who will help impliment its mandate - that being, taking steps to improve health care for transsexuals in Canada.
in other news, i am going to be getting deeply involved with the NDP provincial district association, for the riding of St. John's North. I am going to help put together an AGM, draft upcorporate by-laws, and help oversee the process of getting an executive put in place (of whom i will likely be a member), who will oversee the responsibility of helping the party select and elect the best possible candidate for the riding.
if that's not enough, i continue to work with national executive for PFLAG Canada, as part of a trans education project, that will be geared towards their various Chapter leaders.
finally, significant progress is being made for Pride Week here in St. John's. Many community members and key organizations have engaged the company in working relationships. I have an amazing team of people who are all working very hard to get things done. events are being booked,sponsorships are being secured, venues are being booked, permits and applications are being filled out and submitted, fund raisers are being organized, and media is finally starting to be engaged. to keep up to date, check out www.stjohnspride.org
oh, if that's not enough, i have my sites set on launching two more non-profit companies in the very near future. One that will provide peer support and advocacy by and for trans people, and one that will serve as an association of health care patients who will offer peer support and undertake lobbying work to help improve our health care system here in Newfoundland.
meanwhile, the day job continues to help pay the bills. there have been some new faces added to the office lately, which brings a fresh sense of enthusiasm and excitement. we are actually having a rare office social tomorrow - a party at someone's house, so that will be a fun chance to get to know everyone better.
meanwhile, job interviews continue, as i had what i felt was an excellent interview for an information management analyst position with the department of labrador and aboriginal affairs. let's hope this one turns out differently than the previous 40 or so analyst job interviews. there's got to be at least one person out there that is willing to overlook my status as a transsexual and recognize the talent, experience, and potential that i can bring to an organization as an analyst in the field of information management and information protection.
meanwhile, i am really starting to think outside the box here. if i can't get anyone to hire me, then i am really going to look hard for ways to manufacture my own career. whether it be trying to grow the non-profit organizations that i currently play a leadership role with, or whether it be attempting to turn volunteer work into a contract or grant. although working 80-100 hour weeks is taxing on the body, it sure feels great to see things getting accomplished that both help make this world a better place, and help add to my sporgasborg of valuable experiences on my resume.
one final note, i am disappointed to announce that i will be missing out on CPATH's AGM, but it is for a very good cause. the daughter of my best friend, is graduating from elementary school. She has some learning disabilities that have made it extra challenging for her to both excell in academics, and fit in socially. this is a huge milestone success story, and i am honoured that i have been asked to be in attendance for this wonderful occasion.
finally, i have been battling a nasty flu-like bug for 2 weeks. not surprising given how low and vulnurable my immune system must be from all that running i did last month. so i have been resting up, at least in terms of not running much. my knees are definitely thankful for the break!
well, off we go to bed!
Jenn
Jenn

June 16, 2011 - Transgender Day of Celebration - Camping in New Brunswick

Yikes, has it really been 9 days since I last posted? It has really been a crazy couple of weeks. I have never been so busy in my entire life. but I am managing to hang in there health-wise, and I am thoroughly enjoying the work.
first of all, it was an amazing weekend in New Brunswick. The first ever Transgender Day of Celebration Camping weekend was a huge success. I flew into Halifax from Newfoundland on Saturday morning, rented a van, picked up 5 people, and drove to New Brunswick. there, we met the host, my amazing friend Josie, and several other attendees. We drove into the woods, unloaded our gear, set up tents, and had an amazing time. while a total of 12 people camped over night, we had an additional 6 people attend the day's event, so a total crowd of 18.
We had a lovely time exchanging stories of struggles and success, both inside and outside of our transition. we had a great time laughing and joking around and poking fun at each other too! It was also time to symbolically let go of health trends to celebrate. After Josie broke her 2 year vegetarianism by having a symbolic hamburger, I decided to break my 12.5 year dry spell, and I cracked open a beer! (I will now attempt to become the first transsexual in world history to have quit drinking for 12.5 years, twice! ....lol).
As the evening set in, we got the campfire lit, and hours and hours of more stories were told, and friendships developed. I ended up rooming in a tent with my lovely new friend Trina, a transwoman from Halifax. we hit it off and had a great time telling jokes and filming episodes for my youtube channel.
One of the highlights was a video we filmed in Josie's yet-to-be finished out house. The toilet and foundation were there, but no walls or door in place, so we took the opportunity to use humour to send a strong message about the serious issue of transpeople being falsely perceived as bathroom predators.
The key highlight for me was seeing my dear friend Josie enjoying the event in her environment. Josie is as girly as they get, yet at the same time, she loves her outdoors - her tractor, her chainsaw, her pick up truck!. Josie worked so hard to make this event happen and I know everyone in attendance were highly appreciative of her efforts to put this thing together.
The night was very cold, and after 3 hours in the tent, I decided to go warm up in the van! I ended up falling asleep in the van for another hour, giving me a total of 4 hours sleep - 4 more than I anticipated I would get! the sun rose around 5.30 am, and myself, Josie, and Aimee were awake and ready to go. Josie got the camp fire burning again - and made campfire coffee, while Aimee took the lead on creating BBQ pancakes! Eventually, after many team pictures, we packed up and all headed home.
The long drive back into Halifax to return my 5 friends was tiring, but it was extra special for me to be able to play a small part in making the event what it was, by providing transportation to others who may not have otherwise been able to attend. I made some great new friendships, and further developed fairly new existing friendships. the trans community in Canada is so small and so spread out. to get transpeople from 3 of the 4 Atlantic provinces together, made for an amazing atmosphere. I totally did not want to come home.
Anyway, a big thanks to Josie, Trina and Aimee for making this such an amazing weekend. I love you all and can't wait to see you all again.
Well, this was initially going to be a blog about the past 9 days, but it is already long enough, so I think I will cut it off and write another one to talk about the many other things that I have on the go.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June 7, 2011 - A blast from the past!

...thought i'd share this critical milestone coming out communication. this note could be considered a guideline for how to come out to a second tier level of your social circle.. this note proved to be fairly successful in terms of breaking the ice with people on the subject. funny to see how optimistic i was about the prospects of my career. sadly, i was so wrong about that. but looking back, pretty much every other prediction i made back then, turned out to be true, in terms of my transition time table. Enjoy!


--------------------------------------------------------
Received: Saturday, November 10, 2007, 11:58 AM

Update from the East Coast

Dear family and friends,

it's certainly been a while since i have communicated
with some of you..

my life continues to get interesting for me. i'm finally settled into my new job and new life here in St. John's, Newfoundland. it's great being a big fish in a small pond here working for the Provincial Government. lots of opportunities to take on new responsibilities and assignments that most people at the Senior Analyst level wouldn't get.

i think they are already realizing my potential and they are quite anxious to secure me a permanent position, and hopefully grow into an official Management-level job a few years from now.

Additionally, as some of you may know, i have made a major effort to improve my health and fitness this year, mostly by way of taking up swimming and long-distance running. in 8 months, i dropped down from 240 to 180 pounds, and in the process, completed
several full-length marathon runs, including clocking official finishing results in the Mississauga, Cleveland, Buffalo, Toronto, and St John's marathons.

Although my knees have been quite overworked, i look forward to continued progress with weight-loss, overall health and fitness, and hopefully one day, a Qualification to run the granddaddy of them all, the legendary Boston Marathon.

i guess the other big news, as some of you already know, (and for those who don't, this will probably come as quite a shock), is that i am officially self-diagnosed as a transsexual. this diagnosis was actually made back in January of this year. i am just now starting to make this public and take appropriate action to deal with this difficult situation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transsexual

This wikipedia reference does a good job at describing the condition, and the solutions. the next 5 years of my life are certainly not going to be easy, heck, the
rest of my life is not going to be easy; but the good news is, that after 33 years of depression and confusion, i finally have hope that i can actually live a meaningful second half of my life.

the frustrating thing is not that i have to deal with this, but that it took me 33 years to figure it out. i've generally lived a very confusing and unhappy life. a life without comfort in social, romantic, and sexual situations; a life without confidence; a life
without meaning. ...and although there were clear indications of my transsexualism going back as far as 1982, it has taken me this long to officially recognize it.

The good news is that i am still fairly young, very physically fit, and in a very strong mental and emotional frame of mind to handle this. I know I still have a lot of meaningful life left in me and I intend to maximize these remaining decades.

My first major step in dealing with this has been my weight loss. Transition is a very physically demanding thing, and I know that I will need to be in the best shape possible to deal with this. As much as I enjoy the accolades of competing in marathons, that is
purely a secondary thing. This is all about weight loss and healthy living in preparation for the transition journey ahead.

My next step will be to start seeing a psychiatrist who specialized in Sex/Gender Therapy, who will help facilitate a referral for Hormone Replacement Therapy, which I hope to start sometime mid way into 2008. This will start with Testosterone blockers for 3 months, and then continue into Estrogen injections, which I will take for the rest of my life.

It will take anywhere from 3-5 years for the estrogen to do its job and literally transform my body in the form of: feminine weight distribution, change in skin
complexion, and yes, the growth of breasts. Additionally, estrogen will change my emotions and personality (as if i wasn't already soft, sweet and sensitive enough! yikes!)

There are also things that the estrogen won't do, which means i will have to have a series of medical procedures done: laser or electrolysis hair removal on various body parts, potential facial feminization surgery, voice retraining, i will also have to do something about my male pattern baldness, as hormones won't fix the damage already done there, .....and then the big one, the genital reassignment surgery, which will be the last of all of these things, which i hope to have done 3-5 years from now.

all of this is in scope for me and all of this MUST happen in order for me to become the true real person that i know i really am, a woman.

I'm also proud to announce that at some point within the next 2 years, I will be having my name legally changed to Jennifer.

other than all of this, i will essentially be the same person you know well and hopefully like and love. i will continue to love my 70s rock music and my
football, i will continue to have my crazy sense of humor, and i will continue to do wild and crazy things, like run marathons, go swimming in frozen ponds, and take driving trips all over the world to see NFL games and rock concerts..

so far, although everyone is shocked to learn this about me, the majority of my family and friends have been very positive and supportive. i'm certainly going
to need all the love, support, and friendship i can get, as i deal with this very difficult and socially-taboo issue.

The other major obstacle will be to roll this out at work. i have already told a few people at work, and i am going to chat with my boss and the CEO very soon. i have tons of faith and confidence that this can and will work for me in this office. this office, and this city in general, seem to be a very open and accepting place. Amazingly enough, St. John's, Newfoundland seems to be a great place to have to deal with this.

Being transsexual is definitely not a "choice". This is clearly something i was born with. The only "choice" i am choosing to make is to take corrective action. There really is no alternative. Untreated transsexualism often leads to severe depression and suicide, and i certainly don't want to go down that path.

I often tell people that Sex is what's in between your legs, and Gender is what's between your ears. As we all know, our brain represents life and our brain dictates who we are and how we feel. although we do get to make many choices in life, there are others that are chosen for us. we don't get to decide our height, we don't get to decide our eye colour, we don't get to decide whether we are left or right handed... we don't get to choose our sexual orientation, and we definitely don't get to choose our sexual and gender identity.

Also, as the wikipedia article states, Sexual Identity and Sexual Orientation are two mutually exclusive things. The topic of my sexual orientation is a whole other e-mail that i won't likely even be able to write until this transition process is complete, (i may think i know my sexual orientation now, but hormone replacement therapy has often been know to change this for people). In short, i am not actively interested in
sexual activity with anyone until i complete this transition.

So, anyway, if there's anything about any of this that you'd like to talk about, please feel free to let me know. i can't guarantee i will have answers to everything, as i am still in a learning phase of how to deal with this and what it all means, but i will certainly do my best to explain and reply to anything you'd like to know.

As your teacher once said, there's no such thing as a stupid question... and there's no question that's too personal or embarrassing for me to answer. i am willing to do whatever it takes to gain everyone's trust, respect, and acceptance of this.

Unlike being gay/lesbian or bisexual, this is something that can't be closeted. this is about identity. My body and wardrobe are going to change drastically over the next 3-5 years; and i think it's best that people know what's coming, well in advance, so they will be less shocked when they actually see it.

I don't know when i will see all of you next, and i have no idea what i will look like or what i will be wearing when this time comes, but i hope you can learn to feel comfortable having Jennifer in your presence.

Please feel free to pass this information along to any other family members or any of your close friends that know me. and do encourage them to get in touch with me if they'd like to have a chat to discuss this further.

Additionally, if you'd like to learn more and follow my progress, i encourage you to sign up to facebook and add me.

all the best,

Jennifer Jefferson Gordon McCreath