I usually go by the name of Rusty even though my birthname is Lauren. I made a deal with the family that they can call me Lauren or Laurie which I kind of wince when being called if I can hear. Reason for Rusty was I was being called by that name when I was probably ten years old and I had very dark red hair to where others only see it deep brown with a tint of red type. So that nickname stuck with me for so many years. But when I am online meeting women, I do use the name as Francis since I had liked that name. But more often I had been using the name Rusty.
Anyway. . .I was born with cerebral palsy and deaf. My mom always made sure I was very independent and never allowed wheelchair in the house. To get around, I had to crawl around (how poet!). I read lips when growing up since my family did not know sign language at all. My mom had to teach me how to talk, she did know some signs, but she had made sure that I use my voice in order to communicate and had to remind me that the rest of the family does not know or use signs which was a bit of a struggle.
As I was growing up I knew that I was the only girl and my parents were excited to have a daughter when I was born after having to boys. But when I was in my teens, I was trying to reject the idea of wearing a dress when my mother got me a dress for something special and I was sort of like rebelling or rejecting the idea of wearing it. I do remember where the yelling was getting louder and louder to where Dad would step in to let my Mom win the fight. So at the end I had to wear the dress just to please Mom. I felt like a court jester wearing it in my wheelchair at someplace where we had to go. (I don't remember the occassion where I had to wear... so forgive me if I can't remember what it was) I looked sort of ridiculous wearing the dress and sitting in a wheelchair, I was not really the life of the party at that time.
From that time, I knew that I had to appreciate and please Mom by wearing the dress that she just bought while I was still living under their roof. I do remember one day, while my parents were out for something and I was old enough to be on my own while they were gone, that I went into their bedroom snooping around in their closet. I was looking for a tie and man's shirt just to try it on. I had a wide ace bandage from the medicine closet and wrapped around my chest to make it look like I have flat chest. I had one of my brother's white undershirt that I found in their drawer and stole it, just to put it on and then put one of the nice dress shirt on and the tie on. I did remember seeing my Dad showing me how to do the tie one time and did it myself on myself with one of Dad's good ties. Then I went to the hallway to look myself in the big mirror. From there on, I knew I was a male trapped in a female's body.
But for many years, it has been a struggle to where I really wanted to talk about what I really am inside to my parents. I have always dressed like I am a tomboy. I had always made sure I had my hair cropped short. I did have a long hair, but it was always braided and I had it tucked under and I wore a hat on backwards. Usually my trademark is wearing the hat that Charlie Chaplin wears (I'm a big fan of Chaplin, cause that was long before closed caption shows or movies were created and I enjoy watching the silent movies of his) I am not sure what it really is called. . . I thought it's called bow hat or bowled hat. I am sure someone out there would know what I am talking about. But anyway, I have been wearing that type of hat for over 20 years. Mom tolerate seeing me wear that hat.
I did tell one of my brothers one day when we were alone in my apartment that I am a man trapped in a woman's body. He does not want to talk about it or approve of it further. Even though I have tried talking about it each time he comes over alone for a visit as a brother and a sister. He still would not want to hear about it. Whenever I tried to start talking about the transgender thing, he shuts it out. And I did mention it to mom and she would yell at me real loud that would really wake a deaf person's ear up! Seriously, when she did that, my hearing aid went whistling. And she would hold up a hand like "stop". And she would say "maybe you are just gay that I would understand... but you as a man trapped in a woman's body? Come on, you had a boyfriend and you were married." Yeah well, to please my parents since they were wondering if I was ever gonna have a boyfriend or even end up getting married? I got married for a short time. Since my husband at that time knew I had to be gay and he had no problem. He was gay himself too, so we were very good friends and I think his family had wondered if he would ever get a girlfriend or even get married himself too. He was the only son in the family. He is disabled himself like I have, but we both were very understanding with one another. But our marriage was a short one, since his Mother did not want to support another disabled person in the family which I thought was kind of rude coming from her. My husband's family told him that he needs to divorce me and that they would pay for it. His sister came up to me one late night while he was out (it was a ruse night...he said he had to go to his sister for something and he would come back later in the evening) and I was handed out with a seperation paper. I was relieved within inside of me, but the whole thing was kind of a rude one in a way, but really it was a relief in a way. He told me that I can keep his name, but his dad wanted me to change the name back to my maiden name. My ex was brave to stand up and say "No, I want her to keep that name as a gift and you cannot tell her what she can do or cannot do." (Usually he is very vulnerable type where he gets easily backed down or cowered down as if being scolded or abused and he is an adult. I used have to fight for him when he was being yelled at or getting into arguments where he would say "ok! ok! ok! you win", etc I see him like he is a little boy getting bullied over something so easy, so I'm the one who would stand up for him.)
As of today (now) seeing Chaz becoming a male in public and seeing him on DWTS and rooting for him! I praised for you on becoming what you really are (and coming from your heart). I feel that I found a friend that I wanted to talk to. The reason for that is because I do feel that I am a man literally trapped in a woman's body. Not only that I am disabled confined in electric wheelchair and I am deaf, it's kind of strange and I feel that I probably am the only disabled and am feeling like I am a man within in a woman's body and living on disability income and so forth.
I don't know how else I can go forth on who I really am and be accepted as me being disabled (with multiple disabilities). . .
For now....Thank you Chaz! And I do hope you continue on in your own show on OWN station. Follow what you feel within what your heart leads you to (does that make any sense? lol). . . Go with God, Man! Plus, I love all your animals that I have seen on your show. I have a West Highland White Terrier (or Westie for short), she is trained to be my hearing ear to where she knows some of my sign language since I taught her how to read my signs since she was two months old (I got her a few days after I had to put my 12 year old part Westie and part Cairn Terrier to sleep and it was not easy. And she was just barely two months old when I got her.) and her name is Puddles. Forgive me for this long email message, just thought I would introduce myself, how I feel when growing up to this day as now, etc.
As a Multiple disabilities and. . .
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