Feb 1, 2011 | 2011 Winter - Intersections, Articles

By Robyn Walters

There are many intersections in our lives at which we pause, look around, and pick a direction. Sometimes, there is no conscious decision as we turn one way or the other or keep plowing on straight ahead.

There are many other intersections we may have heard of but at which we never arrive.

For one, there is the intersection between gay and straight. Many people never see this intersection in their lives as anything but a topic at which to hurl insults, threats, inanities, and religious or political posturing. It is an intersection that most people pass straight on through without a thought if it should even appear on their route in life. For others, it is an automatic turn without any conscious decision but, perhaps, with some guilt or fear of rejection attached—rejection by friends, family, church, employer. There seems little evidence that many pause at the intersection, ponder the directions, and say, “I think I’ll choose to be gay.” Life happens.

The intersection between gay and bi is one I never thought much about before today. But I have met gays and lesbians who have gone on to experience encounters or relationships with opposite sex partners. Some have seemed puzzled at what has befallen them. Others have found it to be entirely natural.

The intersection between straight and bi was a problem for me for many years. To me it seemed that someone on the “down low,” who professed to be straight but who had same sex experiences was, in reality, gay. But I think I have come to understand bisexuality a bit better as I have grown older and been through some other intersections. There is the intersection of man and woman, for example. This is one that caught me by surprise in my late 50s. This is one that I had avoided at all costs from the age of nine when I was almost caught in my mother’s dress. This is one that was half hidden in the stash of lingerie that I purged and rebuilt from age twelve on. This is the one that the intersection of my new spiritual path and the Internet led to typing the words “cross dresser” into a search engine. So that’s who I was, a heterosexual cross dresser. It was a reasonable hypothesis, a workable solution that led to the intersection of marriage and divorce. That intersection was more a traffic circle with one exit being separation. Separation offered a route to another intersection of reconciliation and divorce, an intersection that could be approached from more than one direction.

While looking for the intersection of reconciliation and divorce, intent on turning to reconciliation, I came to the intersection of male and female. Now here, I did pause and seek professional assistance. After several sessions with a PhD gender counselor, I received a not very gentle nudge: “You are transsexual, what are you going to do about it?” In turn, my minister said, “Robyn, you don’t get to choose God’s challenge. All you get to do is to choose when you will accept it.”

I accepted the challenge God placed before me and turned toward female. Along that highway, I passed through hormone-induced re-puberty, hundreds of hours of electrolysis, divorce, remarriage, and hours of surgery both for me and for my husband, who had passed through the intersection of female and male and turned toward male.

On my journey to woman and female, I came, at last, to the intersection of straight and bi. Hmmm. Doesn’t that man look sexy? OhmyGod, Robyn; what are you thinking? Another challenge, God? Okay, okay, but let me get the plumbing changed, all right?

That one came as a mental challenge. At my age, and given my monogamous relationship with my female-tomale husband, I won’t be experiencing any sexy looking older fellas other than as eye candy. So I admit to being a non-practicing bisexual. Life happens.

At 73, I think I’m nearing another intersection, that between young and old. I still think young, but the state now requires driver’s license renewal every two years. They, at least, want to see when I make the turn to old.

And eventually, I could reach the intersection of life and death. That’s one at which most people don’t make a choice. Some do, but most just get pushed around the corner. I would want to arrive there battered and worn out, saying, “What a ride this has been.” I have chosen a route to a different intersection, though.

Here, I have made a choice. At about age 120, I will drive myself (Take that, DMV!) to the intersection of life and forever. When I take the turn to forever, I will find it true that we are not humans seeking a spiritual experience but eternal spirits who seek an earthly experience, and I will shout, “What a ride this has been.”

Robyn is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate with a PhD in Naval Engineering from MIT. Sometimes, her right brain becomes more engaged than the left brain, such as when she writes, and definitely when she transitioned from male to female. She and her author husband live and play in Hawaii.

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