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June 10th, 2004

The call of the wild...

Work was pretty uneventful today until I returned from the printer at around 3 or 3:30, and saw my voice mail light blinking. I called it, and it was a message from The Lifeworks Program saying that one of their clients wanted me to call them.

My first thought was that this was some sort of counseling call, and that they must have the wrong John Martin. The message said that the person's name was Alfred (and a last name that I couldn't really make out, but wouldn't put here anyway). The number to call was an Austin number.

I dialed the number and the person who answered thanked me for returning the call, and started off by saying, "I used to be Alfred, but I go by Allie now." She started to give me some of her history, and I interrupted with, "Allie, I hate to interrupt you, but can I stop you for just a second? I think you might have the wrong John Martin here..."

"No, no; you're the right one."

"I am? May I ask how you got my name then?"

She proceeded to tell me about calling Lifeworks, how they were unable to find a GLBT contact in IBM because once they got to the first diversity screen, and then clicked on the GLBT area, it gave them one of those "Net Patrol" type messages that said you're not allowed to look at "those kind of pages" at work. That failing, she said she did a Yahoo search on "GLBT" and "IBM," and she had come across an old resume of mine that listed the IBM GLBT Diversity Network Group. I didn't ask if that resume had my current number on it, or if she called back to IBM for directory assistance to reach me.

At any rate, this conversation went on for about 45 minutes. Allie turned out to be a very tortured (in my opinion) transgendered person. She has been living as a woman for 3 years now, is an IBM employee on a leave of absence, and is ready (or, as it turns out, whose therapist thinks her next step is) to return to work.

Some of the things she talked about:
  • Religion (on and on and on about this). She quoted Matthew Chapter 19 Verse 12: "For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.", and talked incessantly about God, the church, and transgender people.
  • She mentioned several times about how bright she was, usually saying before or after, "And this is not to brag," which sounded sincere, actually. She's working on her PhD. She was the "5th in line from the CEO of IBM" when she was at IBM before. She asked me if I knew why transgender people were so intelligent.
  • She told me about the higher concentration of transgender births in the Austin area (1 in 500 instead of 1 in 700), and the reason was because there is a higher incident of them in the programming and high tech field, and they gravitate toward that area.
  • She told me about transgender people having the female characteristic of paying attention to detail, and the male characteristic of seeing the big picture, and how these two characteristics together in one person makes them superior programmers. She did admit that this was her theory. I didn't mention about Myers-Briggs work, which concluded that of the characteristic pairs Introvert/Extravert, Sensing/Intuiting, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving, only the Thinking/Feeling pair has any gender correlation at all. The Sensing/Intuiting pair, which is the one that correlates to her "detail/big picture" pair, did not.)
  • She talked about having her DNA tested, and looking at her 23rd chromosome, and the results, and asked if I'd ever had my DNA tested.
  • Somewhere in the DNA discussion, she talked about intersex births.
  • She asked me what my interest in the transgender community is.
  • She talked about how transgender people were revered in Indian culture. I had heard this about the Native American culture, and wondered if that's what she meant, but she said Indian, not Native American. I know in Native American culture, they are referred to as "two-spirited."
  • She talked about having had two major depressions in her life already, and that most psychiatrists say you don't survive a third, which is what she's trying to avoid having. She mentioned that a suicide attempt was associated with the second one.
In the end, I asked her what her "next steps" were, and then gave her Brad S.'s name, and recommended she contact him about her return to IBM. I also gave her the name of the president of the IBM Austin EAGLE group, and then offered to give her name to two transgender IBM employees that I know. I made sure she understood that I'd have no control over whether or not the two people I give her name to actually call her once I give them the name, but that she could be assured that I'd give it to them.

I had a nice ST conversation with Donna, which at one point, talking about my web page, she typed: "I have just one question about it."

"What's that?" I typed back.

"Who is this web site for?"

I thought that was just beautiful. It's all about me, me, me!

After work, EAGLE had a "Meet 'n Greet" at the Mad Hatter. It was mostly in anticipation of Friday's all-day IBM RTP GLBT Leadership Conference, but was open to all EAGLE members whether they were attending or not.

We had a crowd of about 20 folks, which was nice, and some of them were even "new faces." One guy, Paul, was very friendly, and totally sexy. Let's see if I can capture a few names of folks there: Richard Z, Steve F, Trudy (new person), Joy, Darcy (and her partner who came later), Jennette, Julie & Laurie, Beth W, the other Beth (who was at the MPIT conference), Jay, Jon, Stan, John S. and a friend (who only stayed long enough to hand out NC Pride stuff), and I know I'm missing a couple of others.

I had a delicious tomato and mozzarella sandwich, and bought a round of (10) rainbow-icing cupcakes for the table.

I left at just a little after eight, and remembered when I got to my car in the parking lot about Sharon's softball tournament games. I checked in with Janet, and she told me that the game was running a little behind due to having to stop a couple of times because of lightning, and that the score was 19-2. I asked her if this was a football game or a softball game. Sharon's team was losing, which surprised me, but also meant that they'd be playing the next game.

I got out the directions to the field, which I had printed earlier at work, and ran back in to ask anyone if they knew the best way to get there from the Mad Hatter. Jennette helped me out, but when I returned to my car, I had a voice mail from Janet that they had just called the games due to the weather.

I went home, and updated my website with a few things I had made notes about during the day, the biggest being re-locating "The Arts" section from the "Interests" page to the home page.

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