Twelve Days of Christmas

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-------=BigCloset Retro Classic=-------
Christmas Special!
There are many sorts of Real-Life Tests ...

Twelve Days of Christmas

By Itinerant
Edited by Amelia R.

Admin Note: Originally published on BigCloset TopShelf on Saturday 11-25-2006 at 1:35 pm, this retro classic Christmas Special was pulled out of the closet, and re-presented for our newer readers. ~Sephrena
 
 
January - Day 1:

~Crap!~

I crumpled the useless lottery ticket and pitched it in the wastebasket. I kept hoping that one day I'd win enough to at least take a nice, long cruise around the world -- somewhere far away from the all too familiar area of Atlanta -- but so far I'd only hit the smaller prizes. It was my one real vice, I guess; the pastor of my church liked to tease me about it, but since I didn't smoke, I figured I could indulge once a week.

"What the hell??"

The shock in Jack's voice was plain, and I popped up from my desk to look at whatever had prompted the outburst. I walked to where he stood looking out the window and just gaped at what I saw. It was ... Ken?

The kid was coming to work in a dress, of all things. His light brown hair was longer, but not by much, and looked shaggy; it appeared he hadn't gotten it cut since he'd taken his vacation.

The shock of the sight left me raking through my memory to try to figure out what might have happened. It had only been a couple of years since he'd been hired in, and I had been tapped to mentor him through his first year. He was bright, but shy -- not exactly the sort I expected to work out in sales. He worked exceptionally hard and managed to handle the job with a flair I hadn't anticipated. It was as if he let another side of himself out when he was working the phones. I had no problem giving Ken my unqualified approval at the end of his probationary period, and he was transitioned to a full-fledged member of our team.

His shy streak kept him out of most of the outings and parties we held for the department, and there were times I worried how well he'd function in the department over the long term, but there was nothing to fault him with, even after two years.

Until this morning.

I waited until he'd gotten to his desk with his coffee before I wandered over. The department was buzzing with speculation and snickers. Our quiet newbie had certainly started the year off with a bang!

The conversation was frustrating at best. No, he hadn't lost a bet. No, it wasn't a joke on someone at the company. No, he wasn't a cross-dresser. No, he really didn't care to get into what's going on just now, but he'd be dressing like this from now on.

I know my disappointment showed; Ken looked away, clearly embarrassed, and promised me that he'd explain everything later. He had to talk to Angus McBryde, our department head, first and the folks in HR.

He stood to leave as we both caught sight of Angus arriving, but paused before starting off. I almost wished he hadn't.

"Matt, I know you won't understand for a while -- if ever -- but I'm calling myself Margaret now."

 
 
February - Day 2:

The month from hell was the kindest thing I could say for it. Ken had endured a month that was far worse than the term 'hell' would describe, and those of us who worked with and around him had dealt with a horrible conflict of interest.

Margaret was even less outgoing than Ken, though it seemed some of the women were more successful in striking up conversations. It was kind of sad that he, even dressed as he was, was more accepted by the women than the men.

Still, I couldn't understand why he'd decided to pull this stunt. He'd been ignored for the first week or so after we'd all come back to work, but now he was getting physically abused. 'Accidental' bumps into corners, or doors slammed in his face, or even mysterious dents and scratches on his car showed the increasing displeasure of his co-workers.

I didn't know what to say, but about halfway through the second week, I'd come around a corner just in time to see Ken body checked into a wall by one of the first floor staff with a "Stay out of my way, faggot!"

Ken was silent as he picked up his scattered papers, but his eyes showed the emotional wound he'd taken.

~What could be so bad that someone would think this kind of abuse is an improvement?~

I found myself trying to escort him when I could, and in particular when he had to go to the first floor. For some reason, the inhabitants there were more prone to physical abuse. Our floor seemed to hover between quiet verbal heckling and sullen silence.

I made it clear to my own team that, whatever Ken's problem was, there would be hell to pay for the first person to lay a hand on Ken, no matter how he dressed.

 
 
March - Day 3:

The department meeting had been straightforward and pointed. The Human Resources VP had been cycling through every department in the company with a simple message: The physical and verbal harassment of anyone, for ANY reason, was against company policy -- not to mention state and federal law.

The battering Ke - Margaret had been taking had finally landed her in the nurse's station. That made it a matter for official notice, and the company had been forced to take action before lawyers got involved. The next infraction was going to result in an immediate termination. Margaret was, on the other hand, restricted to the unisex bathrooms on the first floor, as there was no way the male or female employees would put up with her in their rest rooms.

I'd managed to snag a seat in the back and watched as a signoff sheet was passed around that showed everyone was here and had been warned. Ken was sitting a couple of seats away; there was a ring of empty seats around him, but I could still hear her surprisingly feminine voice.

"I never wanted it to get to this point."

I just wish he -- she would be a little less close-mouthed about why this was all happening.

 
 
April - Day 4:

It was getting warmer now with the middle of the Georgia spring arriving, and I noticed that Margaret was wearing a lighter weight skirt today. She still wore long-sleeves, which I guessed was an attempt to hide bruises from off-work encounters with the less-tolerant population in the area. She was chatting with one of the administrative assistants as I waited for the coffee machine to deliver its nectar. It was the first chance I'd had to process the changes I'd seen since the first of the year.

The former Ken now sported a short, but definitely feminine hairstyle, and her body language was grating against the still male shape in the clothing. There was maybe a little more rounding here and there, but not enough to make him look much like a her.

I grabbed the coffee cup and headed back to my desk as I tried to understand what could possibly make the man do what he'd done.

I sipped on the hot liquid, thought about what I'd observed a few minutes before, and compared it to how Ken had interacted with the guys in the department. There were two points that jumped out at me: first, it was obvious that he was deliberately trying to mimic some of the body language of the women as he talked with them; second, it was clear from his body language that he was much more comfortable with himself now than he'd been a year ago.

It was as if, after years of hiding, he was beginning to show his real self.

 
 
May - Day 5:

Jack cracked another peanut shell as we waited for the steaks to arrive. He and I had gotten together one night a month for dinner since we'd hired in. We had one rule that we always followed -- no work discussions. It shocked me when Jack brought up our oddly dressed young problem.

He'd broken the rule, but we really needed to talk about it. Things at work had been a lot more awkward of late with the stress over Ken. The bulk of our team seemed uncomfortable with him, though they were willing to tolerate his presence. There were one or two who weren't so accommodating, though, and they made no secret of their opinions in the after-work sessions. I found myself agreeing with them at times; Ken's presence *was* disruptive. On the other hand, the youngster was at least as productive as last year; there was no job-related reason to do anything to him.

"Matt, you know as well as I do that what Ken's doing is unnatural. He may still be a good worker, but isn't there more to being a good employee than just how much money you bring in? Shouldn't it be just as important what kind of example you set?

"The guys in the print shop downstairs keep a close eye on him when he comes down their way, and they keep seeing him chatting up the girls. They say he's just trying to get into their skirts." He paused for a minute. "And you know they're trying to start rumors about you and him."

I shook my head at him. "Jack, if I'm pissing off the trolls on the first floor then I must be doing something right. Words are bad enough, but beating on someone is wrong no matter how they dress. They hurt the kid, and it could have been serious. I don't know why he's doing what he's doing, but the way he's put up with the abuse means it has to be awfully important to him."

"Matt, you're my friend. I just worry that you'll lose your friends if you keep sticking up for the weirdo."

 
 
June - Day 6:

~Well that really didn't help anything at ALL!~

I cursed myself for losing my temper as I dropped back into my chair. I still didn't understand how it all came apart, but one minute I was sitting there trying to ask Margaret a question, the next she was reaming me out for being as bad a bigot as the rest of them. I knew I had been pushing hard, but she hadn't ever gotten around to explaining why and how this all had started. She said she wasn't ready, yet, and I ... lost my temper. I didn't quite yell, but was using that intense whisper that's one step below hollering.

I'd tried to run interference for her within the department since no one else knew what was really going on, and I was getting tired of fighting blind after six months.

She wound up storming away from the table with tears of rage running down her face.

 
 
July - Day 7:

"Matt?"

The soft voice, and softer touch, made me jump as Margaret had come up behind me. I'd been so focused on work that I hadn't heard her. Any biting remark I had intended to make was stillborn as I saw the pleading look on her face. We hadn't spoken much during the last month; I was really irked at her refusal to explain and had determined to wait until *she* started a conversation.

I couldn't completely suppress the sigh, and she winced as she heard it, but it didn't deter her from her mission.

"Matt," she began, hesitantly, "I'm sorry. I know I haven't been helping you understand what I'm doing -- or why -- but I think I'm able to talk about it now, if you aren't too upset with me to listen."

She looked afraid and hopeful as she waited for my response; I really couldn't say no.

"Margaret, I'm still bugged about it, but I'll give you your chance. Do we meet at lunch, or after work?"

We finally agreed that lunch was most convenient, and there was a fairly quiet, secluded table in the office park where we could talk undisturbed.

I swung through the cafeteria for a sandwich combo, and sipped on the sweet tea as I walked out to the picnic table. Margaret was there already, watching patiently for my arrival.

I sat on the bench opposite her, and we talked as we ate.

"Why, Margaret? Why all this?" I waved at the person Ken had become.

She had a bittersweet smile on her face as she sat back. "Do you know you sound just like my father right now? All I can say is that I had to." She paused. "As long as I can remember, I've known something was wrong, Matt. I was a tolerable soccer player as I grew up, but I just had no interest in most guy things. Football was a bore -- almost a sin in Georgia -- and baseball wasn't much better.

"My parents didn't help; they kept pushing for me to get more involved with team sports. 'It'll help you get over your shyness,' they said. I spent most of high school riding one bench or another, never getting into the games, and never caring.

"When I got to college, it was better for the most part. I wasn't at home, and no one paid attention to me in the dorms. In a way it was worse, though, because I finally had time to think without distractions." Margaret's voice trembled with stress, or hurt, or both.

"Have you ever wondered why I always wear long sleeves, Matt?"

I admitted that I did, especially in Hot-lanta in the summer.

She carefully unbuttoned her cuffs and pulled back both sleeves to the elbow. Her wrists had nasty looking scars across their width.

I know I stared for a while, but she patiently waited for me to look back up. Her eyes were calm, and unapologetic. She spoke again as she pulled her sleeves back down and refastened the buttons.

"During the summer between my junior and senior years I finally 'flipped'. I woke up in a hospital with these," she raised her hands, "and a vague memory of pills and a knife. My roommate had gotten back early enough to call the paramedics and keep me from bleeding out completely. My parents showed up the next afternoon and demanded I see a shrink."

She giggled. "I think they came to regret the decision, but it was too late by then. The shrink and I went through a couple of years of therapy before we finally got to the root of the problem. It was the first time I'd ever heard of Gender Identity Disorder, but it boils down to having a mismatch between my body and mind. Some people call it being transgendered or transsexual."

She shrugged. "The doc said I tested out as being a female between the ears, so I had a choice: I could go through therapy to try to make my mental workings more male, or go through mental therapy and surgery to make my body match my mind." She gestured at herself in a deliberate echo of my earlier gesture. "I think you can see what my choice was. Just before Christmas last year, my therapist said I was ready to start my real-life test. That's why I showed up looking like I did after New Year's."

"Why couldn't you *tell* me what was going on? It would have helped me know how to answer some of the guys who had questions."

She looked ashamed. "I ... was afraid. You were the one who'd trained me when I first came to work, and I really respected you; then you stuck up for me when the creeps started beating up on me, and I worried that if I told you everything that you'd abandon me."

I snickered, and then laughed as she looked up with a startled and hurt look. "Maggie, you really don't know me very well. My family is Scottish, Irish, and German all the way back to my first ancestors who came over three hundred years ago. We're stubborn, and we don't abandon friends."

Her lips quivered and tears welled up in her eyes. I shook my head as I pulled my handkerchief out and handed it over.

"Use that to catch those tears before your makeup runs."

 
 

August - Day 8:

Margaret and I had a few more talks over the next month, and I tried to get my head around the idea of what she was going through. The idea that she'd tried to commit suicide left me with nightmares for days afterward, and I found I was spending time at the Georgia Tech library trying to figure out what Margaret was dealing with.

I found myself reading the newspaper with more attentiveness and began to realize that Maggie was lucky -- she was still alive. People like her were all too frequently beaten, maimed, and even murdered just because they didn't fit the model.

I just didn't understand how anyone could *do* that.

It made it worse when some of the articles had statements from the offender's pastor saying what a good person they were and how they had to have been provoked.

I couldn't help wonder just how well the Pharisees would have gotten along with them.

 
 
September - Day 9:

"Freak lover!"

I had quit reacting to the little loving comments weeks ago. The last two months had been a delightful, slowly rising tide of similar statements from people I'd thought were friends, or at least not enemies.

The guys in my department weren't a problem anymore. They were a little more stand-offish, but not one had even made an inappropriate crack after the first couple of weeks. Angus had made sure that he'd circulated around the cubes a bit more, and a quiet word or two had squelched the couple of jokers whose sense of humor needed work.

The Neanderthals on the first floor though were determined to make their displeasure known. I'd been pegged as the prime target, since I had made a point of watching over Maggie whenever I could on her excursions to the other floors.

She'd become a fixture in the flock of women who gathered for lunch, and it was good to see how animated and comfortable they all were. It was apparent that the interaction was doing Maggie a lot of good in other ways, too. Her clothing was a better fit, and her makeup was showing marked improvement. I'd caught a couple of envious comments about her runway model figure. It was all to the good as far as I was concerned.

The girl needed all the encouragement she could get.

 
 
October - Day 10:

I kept looking back over the last few months and wondering how I got here. I was looking for another church that didn't seem to be ready to lynch people like Maggie and her friends, but Sundays seemed to keep picking at a wound that didn't seem to want to heal.

It hurt to think that people I'd known for years would be that venomous, but I'd gone from long time member to freak-loving heretic in their eyes. The pastor had come by first, then two of the board of elders, trying to make me 'turn from my sins.' I kept trying to tell them that I just wanted to treat Maggie like I should, but....

I got the letter a week ago, now. I was 'under church discipline' it said because I refused to acknowledge and repent of my sins. I had been stricken from the membership roll and would be refused any further pastoral care until I was ready to repudiate what I'd done.

Maggie had stopped during the morning and asked why I was looking glum. I found myself choking up as I explained what had happened -- I understood a bit more how she must have felt when trying to tell me about her GID.

Her eyes shimmered with sympathetic tears. "I'm so sorry, Matt. I had to do what I did, but I truly never wanted you to suffer for my choice." She patted my arm sympathetically.

I forced as much of a smile as I could manage. "It wasn't your doing, Maggie. I made my own choices along the way, too."

A little later, she stopped by and mentioned that some of her friends attended a church that was open and welcoming.

"They're even pretty good about backsliders who have the gumption to make friends with people like me."

"You attend there?"

She looked sad for a second as she shook her head.

"No, I have too many bad memories ... even for a place I know I'd be welcome."

~So much for Christian love....~

 
 
November - Day 11:

"I'm sorry, Matt, but with everything that's happened this year..."

Jack's voice trailed off, and he looked sheepish. He'd stopped by to make sure I knew I wasn't invited this year to the football bash.

I stamped down, hard, on my impulse to take my feelings out on him -- it wasn't just his fault -- but I still felt betrayed. Damn it, we'd been friends since we hired in, but this last year had put a strain on everyone. I guessed that some of the rumors from the first floor had gotten around, and the wives and girlfriends didn't want to deal with a weirdo, or even someone who stuck up for a weirdo.

My mother had extended her annual invitation, and it wasn't all that unusual for me to accept. I had a feeling that the conversations could be a lot different from the usual this year.

It was hard to feel too sorry for myself; at least I had a family to spend time with. Maggie's family still wasn't happy with her, and she'd mentioned that she was planning a quiet holiday for herself.

"You're resting up for the shopping mania on Friday?" I asked, half-seriously.

"No. I'm cutting out almost all my Christmas shopping, so I can save up for my surgery. It costs an awful lot, so it'll be a couple of years at best before I can have the rest of my birth defect fixed."

I nodded and tried for a little levity. "It's not the sort of thing that our insurance plan is just begging to cover, either, I suspect."

She stuck out her tongue at me, accepting the intended humor though she was clearly unhappy with the situation.

 
 
December - Day 12:

I looked at the lottery ticket in my hand, and then back at the web site to double check.

I'd won one of the second prizes, and just in time for Christmas!

It might only be the prize for the five white balls in 'Mega Millions' and a quarter of a million dollars -- before taxes, of course -- but it was the first time I'd won more than a hundred and fifty dollars in any of the games. I'd clear about hundred grand when all was said and done.

I couldn't quite wipe the grin on my face at the thought of getting away from the hell-hole that Atlanta had become in the last few months and taking that around the world cruise that I'd dreamed of. I was tired of fighting every damn day with a bunch of brain-dead, slack-jawed....

I ground my teeth as I fought the anger down again.

Maggie's arrival, announced by a swish of fabric and tell-tale perfume, interrupted my thoughts. It had been almost a year now since her first appearance at work, and I shook my head at the pronoun I used in my thoughts without even hesitating.

Maggie had said her real life test would be over just before the first of the year, and if her doctor and therapist approved she'd be allowed to schedule surgery -- if she could find the money.

I sighed, and looked at the ticket again -- and saw scarred wrists in its place.

What else could I do?

I turned to the computer again....

A few minutes later, Maggie went to grab her morning coffee, and I looked one more time at the folded paper in my hand. It was a small fortune to me and would be the key to making some of my dreams come true, but how much was a life worth?

I'd miss the travel, but there would be other tickets and other chances.

I left the ticket folded within the printout -- with the payout highlighted in yellow -- on her desk with a small subscript:

Merry Christmas, Maggie.

Notes:

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Giving

This is really good. I loved the point of view. A good man trying to do the right thing. If only more was able to understand and apply the greeting "Peace on earth and Good will to all." A mis-quote maybe but a truer actual meaning. A heartwarming tale and I thank you!
grover-

I hate to admit it

I was a lot like the idiots on the first floor 40 years ago. Except that all I did was run away from the very idea and anyone who wasn't remotely straight. I'm so glad I got over it and learned that people are just that. People. Everyone is different and we all have our own problems. I hope I didn't make it worse for anyone and now I wish there was some way to go back and tell myself what an idiot I was being at the time. It also reminds me of my feelings that most so called "Christians" are anything but. Many are good folks like the guy in this story, but not nearly enough of them. For a long time I said I was an atheist but I believed in the principles of Christianity. I finally figured out that you don't have to be like them to be a Christian. Just believe and try to be the best you can. Matt is a true Christian.

This story is wonderful. Thank you for sharing it.

Chris in CA

Interesting concept to be

Interesting concept to be tossed out of a church if you don't fall into line. I am always amazed at the "Christians" who claim they believe in Christ, yet do not follow His teachings of brotherhood to all. The last time I checked, it was Jesus or God who would judge a person and as I have read in the bible, "judge not, lest ye be judged". Seems like the "loving members" of Matt's old church kinda missed this line as did his pastor. Jan

It's Just as Good

The second time around... and the third etc.

Something money

cannot buy is the feeling you get when you know you have done the right thing, After the life Maggie has led so far, To find someone like Matt who judges people as he finds them was indeed a blessing, Add to that a generosity of spirit and the realization that someone could put the money to far better use than yourself and you have a very special person indeed!

A quick thank you to Itinerant for this thoughtful piece of writing And i must not forget Sephrena because without her work in republishing classic stories this is a story that i could so easily have missed

Kirri

Excellent story!

The narrator shows a magnificent spirit of friendship and true generosity.

Standing up for a not-terribly-close friend against harassment from all directions, and continuing to stand by her even when the harassment starts hitting you personally is something to be greatly admired. Giving the winning lottery ticket to Margaret was a gesture of friendship and generosity so profound as to make him a candidate for sainthood. (Regardless of his former church's opinion to the contrary!)

joannebarbarella's picture

Humanity

This story is a reminder of just how difficult it sometimes is to do the right thing. I think of the German pastor whose name eludes me, who said;

"They came for the Jews, but I wasn't a Jew.
They came for the Reds, but I wasn't a Red," etc,(I may be misquoting but you get my drift)

Moral courage and empathy are rarer than we think. It is so easy to turn away from someone in need when it makes you uncomfortable, or you don't understand.

This is not about Christianity. It is about plain, honest, goodness.

Bravo,

Joanne

Well I was touched.

Thanks, Itinerant/Nikki/Nicole for writing it. I admit I wasn't overly surprised but I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Knowing where a story is going doesn't ruin it any more than going for a pleasant drive in familiar country. There are always new details to see.

Matt and Maggie both grew a lot during the course of the story, but so did everyone on Maggie's floor. They learned a bit about tolerance. It might have been enforced, but they did learn.

Matt's gift at the end of the story was the right thing to do, and he knew it. Matt most likely thought it was 'the Christian thing to do' because he is in fact a Christian. People of faith generally do things for good in the name of their deity, regardless of their sect. That is a fact, and does not warrant a great deal of discussion beyond the fact that it is in keeping with the character.

That Maggie and Matt were both banished from their respective churches is about ignorance and power. Another truth is that in any body of people, power brokers will take control if they can and persuade the others to follow them. In human nature, unlike magnetism, likes attract and that fact often becomes one of the tools used by politicians, religious leaders and other power brokers. It takes a very strong individual to call a leader to task when they have made an error in judgment, most of us uncomfortably go along with the leader instead. I've seen this happen. It is not limited to the South, and people who live there have no lock on ignorance or intolerance.

I think the topic that itinerant touched on that was the most realistic and often ignored, is the problem of a person who attempts to transition in the workplace, where they have been known before the transition begins. Often they are under such a microscope that they simply cannot succeed in the workplace. Maggie's job seemed to entail a lot of phone work so she was able to continue to succeed where other positions might have caused her even more problems. I think that was very well done.

Thank you for a very enjoyable visit to Georgia this morning! And as always, thank you Sephrena for reposting these older gems.

Hugs
Carla Ann

Not much to add

to what's been commented already. Deeply moving and inspiring. I liked that it was told from the point of view of this person who didn't initially know transgender from tangarine jello, but was decent and compassionate and brave enough to act on what he felt was right...
~~~hugs, Laika

This is such a cute story.

I don't have much to say about the conflict in this story, except to say adults need to start behaving like adults, and not spoiled children. And even in the face of adversity Maggie still came out the winner. That is so sweet. This narrative was written very well and all of the the details were in true form and down to earth. Thank you for sharing.

"With confidence and forbearance, we will have the strength to move forward."

Love & hugs,
Barbara

"If I have to be this girl in me, Then I have the right to be."

"With confidence and forbearance, we will have the strength to move forward."

Love & hugs,
Barbara

"If I have to be this girl in me, Then I have the right to be."

I Faced Much The Same Treatment

I faced much the same treatment that Maggie and Matt endured from their churches. People that I thought were friends treated me as if I was a bug to be squashed under their feet. Some in the Baptist Church are some of the worst bunch of hypocrites I have ever encountered. They have even persecuted my mother for supporting me and that alone makes my blood boil. We have had our differences from time to time, but she has stood by me and loved me through it all. She even took heat from my brothers for standing by me. Jesus came here to show us how to love one another, but some who claim to follow him don't even know the meaning of the word. I have been standing up for members of the Gay and Lesbian community too. There is a firestorm among the Religious Reich about two white preachers who were arrested for preaching across from a Gay bar in San Antonio, Texas. The cops came and they began to talk to them. They started to mouth off to the officer and were arrested. I think they got them for not getting a permit to work the corner. Anyway, they put it up on You Tube and claimed they were arrested in violation of their right of free speech. Hopefully, the whole story comes out and they are discredited. A bunch of people are acting like that they are being mistreated because of being Christians, but I think that they haven't quite learned that they don't have the right to bully people into falling in line with their narrow minded thinking.

PICT0013_1_0.jpg

Any of us could be killed any time.

I like to think that the Transgender World has gotten a little nicer in the last 5 years since I came out. With each senseless killing has come a teaching moment and I hope that it has done some good. I have not been very careful where I go and people, one could say, have a double reason to hate me.

Yet, I know that tomorrow could be my last day on earth. It's been long enough since my last hospitalization that I could start carrying again. I could get the permit back and do it. I suppose I don't because I just don't want to live that way any more.

Many have died for us. We should be thankful and show it. Some of us may still die because of hate. I hope not, I am just starting to have fun.

Gwen

Warrior_woman.jpg

I am touched, in real life

I am touched, in real life there are people like Matt as far as protecting someone like Maggie. I am not sure if they would go that extra step that Matt took, but then Christianity does make one reach out to help those who have had a difficult time. I am barred from my church becasue I am inter-sexed, I am also a Christian who practices random acts of kindness like Matt.
Jill Micayla
May you have a wonderful today and a better tomorrow

Jill Micayla
Be kinder than necessary,Because everyone you meet
Is fighting some kind of battle.

That's just wrong

I can't believe your church did that, just because of something you were born with? I thought that was the main argument in churches these days, "stay as you were born" You were born intersexed, how is that your fault? This is stupid mean cruelty and I'm sorry you had to go through that. Also, about this story, it was a good heart warming story. It really made me feel good inside, and made me feel like giving again. :D I LOVED this story.
--------------------------------------------
Just a normal tg girl in a cruel cruel world.

I know who I am, I am me, and I like me ^^
Transsexual, gamer, little, princess, furry and proud :D

Very sweet

That was a nice story filled with the right kind of holiday sentiment. In the carol about the 12 days of Christmas, the one who gives the gifts is the recipient's "true love" - does Matt's feeling for Maggie go beyond friendship?

(Just to pick a wee nit, June's entry uses "quiet" where it wants "quite")

Friendship --

Jennifer,

Thank you for your kind comment.

I fixed the quiet/quite problem (oops!)

Regarding Matt's feelings -- I have my thoughts, but I'll leave it to the readers to decide that.

Nicole (a.k.a. Itinerant)

--
Veni, Vidi, Velcro:
I came, I saw, I stuck around.

A Real Christian

There are good people in this world, and it's nice to read about one of them. Even if it's fiction. Reminds me of another favorite of mine, "The Road To Jericho". I like to think the Jesus I read about in the Bible would approve of Matt and his actions. This is what Christianity is really all about, not hatred and intolerance as is practiced by so many denominations these days.

Thanks!
Karen J.

Change is inevitable, except from vending machines

Karen J.

* * *

Ever accidentally throw something away and then later realize you actually needed it?

I did that with my life.

The Gift of the Maggie

Could it be that Maggie gave for more than she received? Matt was better than the life he had been living. The church he had been going to was false in its portrayal of Christianity. His "football friends" obviously were insecure and petty.

I enjoyed your story, as always.

Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

A Rough Ride, With a Sweet Ending

This story hurts in the beginning following what all so often happens in the "good ol boys network" in companies. This tg transition could easily have been replaced with racism in that environment and the story would have remained the same. Itinerant wrote effectively in getting us to the lottery win.

I feel the ending could have been a touch better with Matt taking Maggie to dinner and slipping the ticket in front of her on the table after they ate. It would have been more personal and meant a lot more than just hiding the ticket on the desk. The ending presented by Itinerant is fine as is and the story overall is very well thought out and truly shows the Christmas spirit: It is not what you receive, but what and how you give... even throughout the year...supporting and caring for true friends ... and making their dreams come true.

Thank you Itinerant for this beautiful story.

Sephrena Miller

The Glass Ceiling and Failure to Practice What You Preach

Itinerant,

I sent a longer comment as an email but I thought I should comment here.

Sephrena, your idea would work and work well, but I think Matt -- as Itinerant wrote him -- preferred to give the gift without any strings implied. Should this lead to romance or not, Matt's intention is pure love for a fellow human being and giving to those in greater need than one's self.

I agree, this easily could have been about the glass ceiling, racisim, nepotisim, and so on. Did anyone else note how Itinerant brought the story full-circle with the lottery tickets at the begining and end of the story? I also agree with Karen_J that this is much in the flavor of "The Road To Jericho", another story of true faith and charity vs pretense and hypocracy, of wrapping up narrow-minded prejudice in the authority of "the word of God."

As to hypocracy and intolerance in organized religion -- don't get me started. My mother's experience after my late older sister was born severly disabled soured my parents on organized religon ever since and that happened over fifty years ago. That members of the same faith remained close and true friends proves is people that count, both for good or ill.

Curse you for setting the bar so high, Itinerant.

Um, Erin, how much to bribe you to make all author names that begin with a vowel inelegible? Please!

John grumbling at all the hard work ahead in Wauwatosa

Kristina L S's picture

emotional message

Brought tears to my eyes more than once for various reasons. Not unheard of... but not common either. A shame that Christian values and personal strength of character are not more in evidence, but sadly it rings true, if perhaps a little on the pessimistic side. But not by much. Kristina

A very true life story

that reflects what is basically wrong with the human race. The only thing that keeps this world going by the wayside is true life people just like Matt. The Matt in real life are simply too few and way too far between to make much of a difference but then again where would life and the human race be without the likes of a Matt, especially at this time of year.

Very nice Interant but then we expect this quality from you.

Brief Comment

I have nothing to add to what other readers have said, other than my own thanks and a big smile.

Jezzi Stewart's picture

Symbiosis.

Maggie and Matt help each other. Without an at first reluctant Matt, Maggie would probably have ended up a successful suicide about half way through the year, and because ofthe "collateral damage" Matt receives as a result of being Maggie's protector and friend, he finds out who his true friends are and the truth about his so called church. Both come out of their year long relationship better people. On Christmas Eve maybe Matt and Maggie can go to the midnight service of the church she mentioned. Doesn't seem to me that their meeting was an accident.

I really like the gradual way you use pronoun changes to show Matt's thinking about Ken/Maggie's change.

GREAT, heartwarming story.

"All the world really is a stage, darlings, so strut your stuff, have fun, and give the public a good show!" Miss Jezzi Belle at the end of each show

BE a lady!

Hope Eternal Reigns's picture

Thank you

A lovely story. I know there are people like Matt out there. I believe Maggie would have known in a heart-beat who gave her the gift.

The irony of Matt's "Merry Christmas, Maggie" is sublime. 'Christians' have done nothing but persecute both of them throughout the hole year and here Matt gives his gift in celebration of the birth of THE icon of that religeon. Great twist.

with love,

HER

with love,

Hope

Once in a while I bare my soul, more often my soles bear me.

Twelve Days Of Christmas - Matt and Maggie

One of the points I was trying to make in the way Matt acted was that there are times when you do the right thing just *because* it's the right thing.

Not because of romantic love; not necessarily even because of friendship.

Just because you have the resources to help someone who needs it.

It's the Christian thing to do.

Nicole (a.k.a. Itinerant)

--
Veni, Vidi, Velcro:
I came, I saw, I stuck around.

Hope Eternal Reigns's picture

Beyond 'Christian'

Matt's gift was far beyond being 'christian'. It was a gift of love, humanity and sacrifice. Christians have no monopoly on generosity and no greater claim on the use of love than anyone else on this world.

I'm sorry, but to call Matt's gift a 'christian' thing, to me, belittles the gift and all the other people on Earth. Let's not forget the Spanish Inquisition was also a 'christian' thing as were the Crusades, in that they were things done by christians.

Thank you for such a beautiful story of caring.

with love,

HER

with love,

Hope

Once in a while I bare my soul, more often my soles bear me.

Titles vs Beliefs

HER, you seem to have a thing about Christians. That's your business. But please remember, anybody can claim to be something, but actions speak louder than words. I haven't seen any evidence that the actions of people who claim to be Christians is any worse than any other religion around. Just to take two examples not at random, the actions of various ethnic groups in Africa trying to eradicate other ethnic groups; and the Arab extremists killing in the name of Allah. No group has cornered the market on hated and intolerance.

BTW, if you believe the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades were really about religion, then you need to reread your history more carefully. They were about power, and the misuse of it by those in authority. For instance, several of the Crusades were orchestrated to eliminate opposition groups in Europe by sending them off to be decimated in futile wars.

Respectfully,
Karen J.
A Christian

Change is inevitable, except from vending machines

Karen J.

* * *

Ever accidentally throw something away and then later realize you actually needed it?

I did that with my life.

Hope Eternal Reigns's picture

Dear Karen J.

I agree completely with you as you say

I haven't seen any evidence that the actions of people who claim to be Christians is any worse than any other religion around.

But it has also been my experience, both through reading/media and direct interaction that people who claim to be Christians are no BETTER than any other people on Earth. i.e. The conflict that has been going on in Ireland for hundreds of years; killing, bombing etc. has BOTH sides claiming to be "Christian".

Are - ANY - conflicts actually about spirituallity? In my opinion, ABSOLUTELY not!!!! I actually believe all conflict is about power.

I believe there is a supreme being. I believe that this supreme being is: Love, Life, Beauty, Creativity and goodness. I am purposefully using non-christian terms because I believe this supreme being is worshiped by all spiritual people, just by different names. I believe that to label any act of great goodness as being only attributable to one small community is just as wrong as tagging an evil act to any sect or group. The NAZIs in the second world war used the motto "Got mit uns" (God with us) strongly believing 'right' was on their side. While Churchill claimed "We will make a pact with the devil to beat them." again 'Christians' on both sides of the conflict. And, BTW the NAZIs did a LOT of good things for Germany, raising Germany from one of the most down-trodden contries in Europe after WWI to a World Power and all that during one of the most difficult decades of the 20th century.

BTW - the crusades were just as much about economics as unrest in Europe. The powerbrokers in Europe wanted to 'cut out the middle man' to increase their profits in their trade with the Orient for spices and fine fabrics. All sanctioned and blessed by the Pope, the leader of the Christians.

Your post actually strengthens my arguement that NO religeon has a monopoly on acts of kindness and generosity.

with love,

HER

with love,

Hope

Once in a while I bare my soul, more often my soles bear me.

Re: Dear Karen J.

"Your post actually strengthens my arguement that NO religeon has a monopoly on acts of kindness and generosity."

I don't believe anybody here has made that claim. However, as most of us are from a Christian background and upbringing, we do tend to think of doing good as "the Christian thing to do". If this forum were in a country with a predominately Muslim membership, for instance, and one of it's members were to say that performing an act such as was written about in this story was the "Muslim way", I would not see any need to challenge that characterization.

"I believe that to label any act of great goodness as being only attributable to one small community is just as wrong as tagging an evil act to any sect or group." (Boldface added by me.)

Nobody here has used "only" in their description, except you.

"All sanctioned and blessed by the Pope, the leader of the Christians."

Actually, in the Middle Ages, the Pope was the head of the Catholic Church, not leader of the Christians. As head of the Catholic Church in those days he came to power, not for his piety, but for his ability to acquire and wield secular power. The Popes, and men like him such as Cardinal Richelieu of France were first and foremost political creatures, with their religions taking a backseat to their politics. Richelieu, as defacto Prime Minister of France, actually supported the Protestants against the pope when it was to his (France's) advantage.

Let me say that I do not support many/most organized religions. Too many preach and practice hate and intolerance instead of the love spoken of in the New Testament of the Bible. However, I still call myself Christian. My cousin, an ordained minister in the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod), and I have had some long talks about this. The Lutheran Church is often characterized as being very conservative. But what he has told me is that there is nothing in the New Testament that tells him to condemn people such as me. If we are willing to accept the central premises of Jesus's teachings (and I won't get into that) then we are welcome in his church.

Ok, this has probably gone on too long, so I'll stop arguing at this point. Thanks to all for being tolerant of our side issues.

Karen J.

Change is inevitable, except from vending machines

Karen J.

* * *

Ever accidentally throw something away and then later realize you actually needed it?

I did that with my life.

Sasha Zarya Nexus's picture

Georgia on my mind

Thank you for such a wonderful story. Everyone going thru transition has their own journey and we know from the story that Maggie wasn't able to do things any different than what occured. We know what a change that came in Matt's life becasue she let him in and trusted him. Maggie did the best she could according to her gifts when things occured.

Her story directs me toward being thankful for my blessings that I was able to open up to my co-workers in my Georgia transition and except for a few 'Holier than thou' zealots (I wont call them christians becasue they did not follow the teachings of Christ) my transition was free from abuse. It was my family of choice who I had let in to my life and opened up to them that helped me get thru the shuning by my birth family to be able to write this today. None of my friends have given me a winning lottery ticket but I have recieved a lot more of value from their friendship. I went to a church like Maggie talked about in Atlanta. If she had been able to go she would have found that she had a lot more love in her life.

A wonderful story, Itinerant! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. You have a wonderful skill in storytelling that I admire.
All my hopes,
Sasha

D. Marcus: "... how we face death is at least as important as how we face life."
Kirk: "Just words."
D. Marcus: "But good words. That's where ideas begin. Maybe you should listen to them..."

  • Star Trek II:TWOK
  • nikkiparksy's picture

    A beutifully done story that

    A beutifully done story that show's how some people can rise up above personel ignorance and help someone selflessly,it was great thank you. But Ps there is a massive difference between beleif in something and actually fully understanding what you beleive in there is too many in all faith's that really beleive in what they are doing yet are in effect totally ignorant of what there faith actually should mean.

    Thoughts

    Since I live in the South, I am familiar with all of the stereotypes, we southerners have. The intolerant religious zealot, racially violence, and narrow minded rednecks are just part of that. We also have our Andy Taylor (Andy Griffin Show), die hard individualists, and lovable curmudgeons Robert D. Raiford (John Boy and Billy Big Show). I am a church goer and I believe that most of the worst churches are run much like cults. Unfortunately, we have more than our share of them. It just here in the south many hide under the protection of the title of an Christian Church. These have no other agenda than milking their parish of every dime they can get. They do it the old fashioned way, with hate, intolerance, and lies. Please, believe that not all Christians in the South are intolerant haters and neither are the churches. I've found that people can hate quiet well all by themselves without any help. This story to me was about what it really mean to be a Christian, obey your heart, and follow your beliefs to do what is right no matter what someone else may tell you. (That's the die hard individualist part) Great story and is going to be a tough entry to beat!
    grover-

    I am a Christian

    I am a Christian, and I have read what the Bible says about love, kindness, and compassion towards your fellow man (or woman). Unfortunately most people who say they are Christians have no idea what the Bible teaches, heck, they've never even studied the parable of the good Samaritan (that would be a real eye opener for most people).

    That being said I will state this is a good story Nicole. Rachel Anne let me know about it, so I read it and I enjoyed it. I know first hand about people who are really hurting because they are living with people treating them badly because they were born the wrong gender. I've already got a few people on my list to help when I win the powerball jackpot.

    - Scotty

    Life would suck if it weren't so entertaining sometimes.

    Life would suck if it weren't so entertaining sometimes.

    Nothing, Really, To Add

    Effective story, nicely structured.

    Eric

    Nikki, you lovely wench!

    Another fine tale from your electronic pen, this one dipped in the relative morality of our times. Nicely propped up straw men, a building full of villains, all conveniently Christian.

    The characters were well drawn , as is to be expected from your work, and the dialogue crisp, yet I wish we'd seen more dialogue between the two protagonists.

    The act of kindness or is it self redemption at the end was really done well, not sloppy and gushy but firm and straightforward.

    I did find much more of the crucifiction than Christmas in this tale, including the resurrection, and the sacrifice of one who helped to carry the burden of the cross...perhaps an Easter story would be an alternate motif?

    Bravo, Nikki, bravo. Morality plays do require black and white, the shades of gray get so confusing, and you played this one perfectly.

    Thank you, girl, a wonderful tale well told, you can't ask for more than that...

    Tyrissy

    Nicole v.s. Itinerant

    Nicole is Itinerant's heroine in Amazon.

    Itinerant writes Amazon and the character Nicole, not the other way around -- though sometimes he claims that IS the case.

    I am John in Wauwatosa, I make Itinerant suffer cleaning up my AWFUL drafts of stories. Give Itinerant a break, PLEASE!

    Oh, Erin, what about that rule change about making all authors who's screen name begins with a vowel ineligible for this contest, except for "E", of course?

    John in Wauwatosa

    Erin's picture

    Contest eligibility

    Anyone who knows my actual home address or has a login to one of my servers is disqualified from winning any money in the contest. :)

    That includes me, Wanda, Theresa Sanchez, Lainie Lee, Bob Arnold, and six other authors whose names I won't reveal. :) They can enter but they can't win the money.

    - Erin

    = Give everyone the benefit of the doubt because certainty is a fragile thing that can be shattered by one overlooked fact.

    Vowels????

    We don't need no stinkin' vowels.

    "Ngl" Rasch (Jill M I)

    P.S. I've declared myself ineligible already, so that I can be available as a judge if needed.

    Angela Rasch (Jill M I)

    Nicole AND Itinerant

    Nicole is Itinerant's heroine in Amazon.

    That's Nicole Harrison, John.

    There's more than one Nicole wandering around.

    Just to clarify, Itinerant is author/editor-me

    I also show up on the TG Fiction General Chat channel as Nicole - my Alter-Ego/Inner Self. That's been going on for a while now, and Tyrissy's nicknamed me 'Nikki'.

    Itinerant writes Amazon and the character Nicole, not the other way around

    Ummmmm. This is often open to debate when the characters and muse start ganging up on me.

    -- though sometimes he claims that IS the case.

    I claim it every time they let me. ;-)

    Nicole (a.k.a. Itinerant)

    --
    Veni, Vidi, Velcro:
    I came, I saw, I stuck around.

    I Stand Corrected

    Thanks for the clarifications.

    I was confused as to why the Nikki and such.

    That's why I keep my nicknames to a minimium, too confusing.

    John in Wauwatosa

    P.S Are "they" listening now? Muses are a troublesome lot.

    Stand?

    You should try sitting and typing; it's much easier on the feet.....

    Regarding the various names, I don't think the issue's come up before, so no problem. You had no way to know.

    And Maureen is ALWAYS listening.

    (*whack*)

    OW!!

    Nicole (a.k.a. Itinerant)

    --
    Veni, Vidi, Velcro:
    I came, I saw, I stuck around.

    May I call you Henry?

    A great deal has been said already about this excellent story. Not much to add, it's a sweet uplifting story with a moral and very well told.

    How could you improve it? I'm not sure. There may be some glosses where the wording was a trifle awkward, where I wouldn't have communicated the same idea in the same way but then sometimes I'm too slick for my own good. A little honest directness is good too.

    -- Donna Lamb, Flack

    -- Donna Lamb, Flack

    Some of my books and stories are sold through Doppler Press to help support BigCloset. -- Donna

    I love this no matter who wrote it

    Tyrissy was the first person to point this story out to me, but so have half a dozen others since I read it the first time.

    John; I vote against your new rule, as this story is going to be hard to beat, without your cheat.

    It really embodies what Christmas is about, a new life, and a chance at a new life for everyone willing to take it by changing themselves, instead of worshipping the status quo, and their preconceived or trained-in notions.

    Nikki/Nicole/Itinerant; I like your writing under whatever name you are using, but this is your best so far. and you are going to have as much trouble as everyone else in topping it.

    Holly Logan

    One of the most difficult things to give away is kindness.
    It usually comes back to you.

    Holly

    12 days of christmas

    thank you for a story that has a ring of spirit that we all should have but see so little of .. I am so glad I took the time to read . and thank you from this elf for the warm holiday feeling of love

    Merry Christmas
    Your Loving ELF
    Christi

    Thank you, Christi

    for taking the time to read and respond.

    I'm a sucker for happy endings, so there was only one way this one could go.

    Merry Christmas,

    Itinerant

    Nicole (a.k.a. Itinerant)

    --
    Veni, Vidi, Velcro:
    I came, I saw, I stuck around.

    Brava Nickki

    You truly brought me to tears with this story. The perspective was well done, from the outside looking in. If only there were more Matts in the world.

    Scott

    Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of--but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.

    Lazarus Long
    Robert A. Heinlein's 'Time Enoough for Love'

    Scott

    The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.
    -- Tom Clancy

    http://genomorph.tglibrary.com/

    A Beautiful Story

    I can't offer much that hasn't already been said above, but this was a truly touching story. Needed two tissues to get through this one!

    Thank you so much for such a lovely gift.

    Hugs,

    Geronwyl
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Some realities are limited by what we sense, others are defined by what we dream.

    Some realities are limited by what we sense, others are defined by what we dream.

    Angel's picture

    More lessons learned...Felt...Understood...

    True to life fiction is all to real to most of us. Thank you Itinerant
    for a truly heartfelt tale. Giving of oneself is the best gift one can give to another. That is, in anyway you can give of yourself to help another in need. The Lottery ticket was just the little bonus (or big bonus) depending on how you look at it.

    Most of us know what it feels like to need and to give. We also know that the best gifts come from within us, not our pockets.

    Huggles Itinerant
    Angel

    Be yourself, so easy to say, so hard to live.

    "Be Your-Self, So Easy to Say, So Hard to Live!"

    I loved it

    Thank you for such a heartwarming story. I have been very fortunate: I have made many new friends who don't know about my past. Transitioning at work must be very difficult indeed. Yes, there are churches who accept people as they are, without judging them; and there are many so-called Christians who would tell you that you must conform to their idea of humanity or you are damned.

    I loved the different viewpoint of Maggie's colleague, I do hope and pray that many more sisters and brothers find happiness this year in being their true selves.

    Susie

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