21 March, 2011

The Green Room 03-11-11

(Cross-posted to We Are God's Weapon)

Hey everybody, Sera here again. For those of you that came out on Friday to check us out as we shook up The Green Room in Hollywood, we thank you so much for your support. If you couldn't make it, here's some photos our lovely photographer Elizabeth took care of for you.

Tiny stage, eh? Oh well, we won't be stopped by such things. Besides, we're all friendly in this band. Well, except Lorne, but that's cause he smells kinda funny. We love him anyways.

We had a lot of energy going into this show. For starters, it was our first of the year. In addition, it was the first for our new singer, Denise, and a great chance for her to really showcase her amazing talents. And how amazing they are!

Every show is a step to the next, of course. In immediate news, we have one wonderful announcement to make. We would like to officially announce the addition of keyboardist Hollis to the ranks of God's Weapon!
We should have more good news to come VERY soon regarding upcoming shows. Stay tuned!

~Sera Wohldmann - Bass Guitars

09 March, 2011

To my Former Church

(Taking a short detour, today. Hope you don't mind ~Sera)

To Whom it May Concern:

I am Sera Wohldmann. I was initially born in the body of a boy, however, though I shall not be named, excepted to say that I was once K.C. Wohldmann. Shortly after my April birth in 1987, I received the Sacrament of Baptism at All Saints Catholic Church in St. Peters, Missouri, USA. I grew up in a devout family; we attended Mass every Sunday and Holy Day, no matter how small. The crucifix was prominently displayed in our home, and we often prayed together.

I learned to read a little earlier than my classmates, and the first book I read was a Children's Illustrated Bible. For my primary education, I attended All Saints Catholic Grade School from kindergarten through 8th grade. I received my Sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion in the 2nd grade, and was Confirmed in the 9th.

I never finished the 8th grade at All Saints, though. Here's why. Everyone knew there was something different about me. I was a girl in a boy's body, but they never saw that. They never listened. I knew that I couldn't trust people. I turned to role playing games to escape. There, I could at least play the part of a woman, and a strong one, at that. As an aside, my mother was the breadwinner at home, so perhaps that influenced my feminism as I grew up. I loved strong female role models, and still do.

I began to have my doubts on the church, but I continued to pray. Jesus could save me. The saints could pray for me. The Virgin Mother could bless me. But they could not shake the feeling that came from within me. I know now, why. There is only one explanation: God made me this way.

Of course! None of them could change that about me, because there is nothing wrong with me! As the years went on, and the feelings never changed, I knew it was my body that needed to change. Now, at 23, I have the body I want (mostly), and I love myself for once. And I love a woman, too.

Now, I ask you, once and former church of mine. When you see me on the streets with my fiancée, as we laugh, as we cry, as we live, as we survive. Just like any couple. We deeply love each other. How, then, can you not love that? For the LORD said, "This is my greatest commandment: Love thy neighbor as thyself." I do not hate. Why, then, do my former neighbors in the church say that I am flawed? That I do not receive God's love?

You say, "No, we love the sinner, we do not like the sin." But you cannot separate us like that. I will marry this woman. I will start a family with her. And we will continue to love. Even if you could separate us, I ask you: What is sinful about LOVE?

06 March, 2011


I realized after I wrote my post, below, regarding my "milestones" in sexual function post operatively, that I had embarrassed my partner in my writing. I never meant to imply that my lack of climax had anything to do with her skills, nor of my love for her. But she pointed out that it could be read like that. For that, I am very sorry to her. I will also add that just because I did not climax does not mean that I am having insufficient sensation; on the contrary, I have felt very wonderful things during our sessions together so far. And I imagine it will only get better.

Recovery has been a long process. I suppose I have tried to rush it, or at times even been concerned at how long it has taken, but the body can only heal so fast. You cannot force it to heal, lest you make things worse.

Because of the news I received from Dr. Deutsch the first time, and the concerns with complications and infection after surgery, I have tried to take my sexual experimentation very slowly. When that is constantly on your mind, it is hard to stay in the "moment" of intimacy, even with someone you love very much. For example, it has only been in the past 2 weeks that there has been enough recovery around my clitoris to even identify it as such. And the sensation around it, as a result of the dead tissues around it, had been dull up until very recently. Even still, as of today, I cannot play with it too much before it begins to sting slightly.

So, again, for the clinical purposes of those following my recovery post operatively, I will delve into this territory again. On the day of March 2nd, 2011, I experienced vaginal sexual intercourse with my fiancée for the first time, at slightly longer than 8 weeks post-operative. It was an intensely satisfying experience for everyone involved. I will say no more on that, however, lest I invite further embarrassment.

I have also begun to masturbate more frequently recently. Coupled with a slight modification to my dilating technique, I've found it makes each penetration easier, as early dilations had been quite uncomfortable at times. My depth has also improved slightly with these practices, which is very satisfying to know. Hopefully I can continue this practice, as well as incorporate more clitoral stimulation into the mix, when it is appropriate and safe to do so.

Finally, after one "false start" on the bleeding issue (I stopped wearing pads and began bleeding halfway through a shift last week), I have not had any blood in the genitals for a week now. However, I still have some fluid build up, and I continue my local antibiotic ointment treatments once every day or two, to be safe. All in all, however, I am coming along quite well.

03 March, 2011

Cangene Plasma Center: No Trannies Allowed!

It comes as a surprise to very few friends of mine that, financially, things are very difficult lately. Many of my efforts to supplement my income and stay above water have fallen short in one way or another. This attempt was no different.

Back in my birth town of St. Peters, Missouri, there was a girl. A friend of mine, once upon a time, we'll just call her A. She was a hemophiliac, and as a result, it was no secret to me that she required various blood products when she had what would be to us only minor injuries. But I had heard that it was difficult to donate if you were in any way queer, so I had not given it any consideration.

A short week before my surgery trip, I was riding the LA Metro bus, I believe it was the 212 to Inglewood via Crenshaw, if I recall correctly, on my way to work. I saw an advertisement for Cangene Plasma Center. They were seeking new donors, and the programs were compensated. Elizabeth and I talked over the idea, but decided at the time that, as I was so close to my surgery, I shouldn't do anything that may compromise recovery. Not that I think it would have, but we wanted to be careful. All the same, I filed it away for future consideration.

Fast forward, then, to March 2nd, 2011. I had called the day before to schedule an appointment to donate. The questions they asked me over the phone did not disqualify me, so they asked me to come in. It was a very clean facility, and I was greeted by the front desk pharmacy technician, Kevin. He had me fill in the necessary preliminary paperwork to get the process started. One of the things they covered was HIV/AIDS material. Included in it was the FDA's warning: "No male that has ever had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977, is ever allowed to donate blood or blood products, including plasma." I heeded that warning, however homophobic and archaic it may be, but as I was not a male, I hoped it would not be an issue.

I filled out a computer based "risk history" questionnaire.  The only question I even answered in the positive related to various medications, and as I had taken Finasteride (Proscar) at the beginning of my hormone therapy, I answered yes. However, it also said that I had to be off the medicine for a month. I had not taken Finasteride in 11 months or so, so I was fine. I returned to my seat.

I was called for an entry interview by the on-site doctor. This is the part where it all about went to the Hells. He asked if I had been hospitalized for anything, including cosmetic surgery, in the past year. As I was in an examination room, I figured I would get a full examination, and it was likely they would notice that I had a cosmetically altered vagina. I told the truth.

"Yes, I had cosmetic surgery just 2 months ago," I replied.
"What procedure did you have?"
I blushed, hesitating a bit. "Male to Female realignment surgery."
The doctor began writing on a post-it note. He underlined MALE twice, very strongly. I was already quite uncomfortable. "Did you have the whole procedure, or just breasts?"
"I didn't have breast surgery, just vaginoplasty," I replied.
He seemed confused at this, but continued. "While you were...previously a male, had you ever had sex with a man?"
I knew where he was going with this. I could easily argue that, as my partners had been transwomen, that no, I had not, but I didn't volunteer that information. So I lied a little. "No, I did not."
That shocked him. "You never once, before your surgery, had sex with a man?"
"No, doctor, I did not," I said, shifting uncomfortably in my seat.  "You seem surprised? It's not too impossible to believe. That IS my fiancée in the waiting room, after all."
"Now I'm confused, you say that's your 'fiancé,' right? That would be a guy?"
"No, my fiancée is a woman."
"A biological woman?"

I HATE THAT FUCKING WORD! Last I checked, I was just as biologically sound as anyone else. "Yes," I said anyways. Also a bit of a lie, but fuck they didn't need to know that. Besides, I should argue that he meant, "cisgender," anyways. What should it matter? I was clean, perfectly healthy, and I'm here to do you a fucking favor!

I was dismissed back to the waiting room for a short while. Elizabeth could tell something had happened, and asked if it was okay. "I'll tell you later." I knew I couldn't say anything where it was within staff earshot. I wanted to finish this process first and avoid unnecessary controversy. I wouldn't get the chance. I was called back into the exam room 5 minutes later.

"Unfortunately, Ms. Wohldmann, we have a bit of a problem. You see, our system tested you on the 'female' questionnaire," the doctor began.
"As I am female, this would be correct," I pointed out.
"Yes and also no. Because you had a history as a male, some of those questions are not accurate. They don't cover everything."
"Sounds like a problem with the system, not my health."
"Well, we can't go back and test you on the male system, as well, because we're not designed for that."
"Again, that sounds like a problem with your system."
"The questions are all from the FDA guidelines, and we can't change them."
"I'm not asking you to change the questions, just to realize that it's a bit absurd to think that, with all of the mutations you, as a doctor, should be aware of, that there are more than 2 classifiable sexes, correct? What if I had been intersex? What would you do, then?"
"Believe me, miss, I actually have dealt with that," he replied. Funny, though, that he didn't say what he did. He probably turned hir away for no reason, like I felt was about to happen to me. "Also, you're not the first person to go through this process, but it's a little different for you. I don't know if it's just LA, or what, but we've had this happen before. You're just the first one to have gone through the full surgery. And that changes things."
"Well, consider also, that one of the bigger transgender clubs in the city is right here in Van Nuys," I pointed out.
"I didn't know, that, but that would probably explain it. Anyways, for most people like this, we can just register them as males, as they legally are, and there is no problem. The problem is, that you had several years as a male, and now you're female, legally. We have no way to categorize this."
"So, what you're saying, is that you have a perfectly healthy donor sitting right in front of you, and because of your archaic system, you're going to turn away a willing donor?"
"I'm sorry, but that's all I can do."

I explained at this point that I was an activist, and that I was aware there were constraints on some things related to blood and plasma donations, but that there was absolutely no evidence that this was going to be an issue. No one talks about it. So, of course I'm going to try. I'm running out of options for supplementing my income, why wouldn't I try? I didn't tell him that part. Instead, I related the story of A to him. My heart may not have been in the most selfless of places, but he didn't need to know that. Most of the people in that room only did it for the money, anyways, I would be no different. He showed me out to the waiting room again. As I approached Elizabeth, still reading the magazine, I mouthed, "Let's go." We walked out the front door. But not before I departed a single-fingered salute towards Cangene Plasma Center, 14435 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA.