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by K. E.

I am given to random, usually meaningless, bursts of thought over which I have no more control than I would the growling of my stomach during a church service. Occasionally, though, one will actually make some sense. I had such an experience recently and, since it pertained to the subject addressed by our newsletter, felt that I should share it with you. Besides, I needed a topic to write about for this month's issue.

To provide a little background, I remained in town after the Southern Comfort conference to attend a trade show the next week and was dining out (yes, as Kerri) at a fairly up-scale Atlanta restaurant. Got completely away with it, too, I might add - at least no one screamed.

Anyhow, mid-way through my dinner, a group of people was seated at the table next to mine. One of the group was a strikingly beautiful lady, apparently in her mid-twenties, with long, blond hair, a flawless complexion, the whitest teeth I have ever seen, and an exquisite sense of style and fashion. In short, she was gorgeous in every meaningful sense of the word.

Something about her, however, struck a discordant note. Finally, after a good ten minutes spent in trying to figure out just what was amiss, it dawned on me that her eyes were of two different colors. One was as blue as a Grecian sea and the other a light, tawny brown with dancing flecks of emerald green. (As you might have noticed, I filed away a rather complete mental image of this glorious person.)

My immediate thought was, "why, in the name of goodness, doesn't she find a tinted contact lens to change one or the other of those eyes and make them a matched set?" After all, it just isn't normal to look like that! Forgive me, but I actually felt a pang of pity for her. Then, the ludicrousness of the situation struck me. There I was, a man in a dress (not as nice as hers, but not a bad one), thinking that she wasn't normal! Which of us, I wondered, was really the abnormal one, anyway?

The next thought - the random one - hit like the proverbial ton of bricks. It was stunning in its simplicity, one of those thrilling, life-altering revelations that come at the most unexpected of times. Neither of us was abnormal. Her eyes, which I now saw as merely adding to her beauty, were perfectly normal. In fact, I cannot conjure up her image in any other way. Why, then, should she be expected to change them merely to appease my misdirected sense of rightness?

She, with her eyes of different colors, and I, a crossdresser, two people among the many unlike us in that place, were each as normal as a wheat field in the sun. We are, simply, facts of life. Indeed, people with two different eye colors, while rare, have existed probably since the beginning of the human species. Crossdressers and other transgendered people, perhaps even less rare than she, have been part of it just as long.

What trick of nature had created those marvelous eyes? Would knowing the reason make them any less unique? Of course not. Does that uniqueness lessen the value of her life? Of course not.

Why am I a crossdresser? Would knowing the answer to that question make me not a crossdresser? Of course not. Does the fact of my being a crossdresser make me a less worthy person? Of course not.

The true value of a life must be determined in its totality. Contributions and accomplishments, grace in dealing with failure and success, willingness to give and capacity to receive love, and, ultimately, the benefit to others as a result of our being here - those are the things that really define the value of a life. Nothing else matters. Neither expression of gender nor eye color are part of the equation. Why, then, should either of us feel shame in being what we are? Obviously, she did not. Nor will I.

If that wonderful lady remembers me at all, it is probably as a middle-aged woman staring wide-eyed with fork poised half way between plate and mouth. I am sure that picture did not create quite the impact she had on me, but I was frozen in the position by an almost overwhelming sense of discovery. I resisted the urge to embrace her and, instead, allowed my fork to resume its upward motion, nodded, and sent her a silent, sincere "thank you."

This article is reprinted from a now defunct website. If you are the author, please contact me as previous contact information has expired. Thanks!