Two days ago, on the 2nd of November, my friend and collaborator on the transkids.us website, Kiira Triea (AKA Denise Magner), died of cancer. I am not alone in mourning her loss. Her sister will miss her most. But our mutual friend, Alice Dreger will miss her acutely. Alice has written a fitting tribute to Kiira on her blog, far better than anything that I will be able to write.
I first corresponded with Kiira in early 2008, as I had just discovered Alice’s article on the contretemps surrounding Bailey’s The Man Who Would Be Queen and wanted to learn as much as I could about the events for myself, as I felt an irrational personal guilt for not having paid attention to what happened in 2003. I felt guilty for not having spoken out against the rampant ugliness at the time. I needed to do something. In Kiira, I found a path forward. We corresponded at great length and had long, almost weekly phone calls. After a year or so of these conversations, I gathered the courage to finally speak out and write an essay of my own to add to those already on the transkids.us website. I knew full well that I was inviting down the wrath of those who opposed the science that Bailey had written about… and was not disappointed. However, I had joined good company.
With Kiira’s encouragement, I began this blog to explore and explicate the science… to tell the truth.
Our correspondence and conversations also covered our personal lives. Strange, that in Kiira, whose biology was so different than mine, I should find a kindred spirit.
Correspondence and long distance phone calls are all well and good, but no substitute for face to face, in person dialog, so a few years ago, I bought her tickets to travel from her home in Maryland to my home in California, as Kiira and her sister were as poor as church mice. My daughter and I picked her up at the airport. From her writing and her wicked, witty, dialog during our phone conversations, I had always pictured her as a strong, almost Amazon-like, warrior. Instead, she was a frail, delicate, very feminine middle-aged woman who I felt concern for her lest the cold California winter winds whisk her away. She spent a week at our house, during which I had the uncomfortable feeling that I was seeing in her a deep pain that could never be healed.
Though I will miss her, I sincerely hope that she can now find healing balm.
When I began to write this blog, Kiira impressed upon me the guidelines that she and the other contributors to the Transkids.us website followed, of keeping the essays largely non-personal, only describing ourselves to the extent necessary to explain who we were as a population, not as individuals. This had two purposes. First, it protected the identities of the young people who were involved in creating the content of the original 2004-2005 website (whose identities and photos she DID share with me). Second, it was an effort to be as objective as is humanly possible regarding the differences between the two types of MTF transwomen. This effort to protect the identities of the contributors allowed a number of people who opposed publishing and exploring documentation of the differences to question whether such individuals even existed, even to the extent of stating and/or insinuating that Kiira made up those individuals as a “hoax”, in an effort to cast doubt on the information contained on the website. In a way, it was an unearned complement to Kiira, as it presupposed that Kiira had the literary talent to write in what even a cursory examination of the essays will show are completely different and consistent writing styles, the individual “voices” of those very real young transwomen. The simple truth was that Kiira loved these kids, and as the website-mistress, worked hard to protect them from being “outed” and libeled, by those same opponents. Opponents who have shown themselves to be devoid of honor and decency, having gone to great lengths to vilify and smear those who have merely said or written about the science or politics of the transcommunity.
Those in the trans-community who know, or just suspect, who I am, know that from my many years of transactivism and personally aiding transfolk of all kinds, that I would never participate in any “hoax”, and that I would never do anything I knew would harm any individual or community. Kiira is gone. I have inherited her mission. I intend to maintain the existence of the transkids.us website largely untouched, as she created it, to honor her and those young transwomen who created it. But her passing has left me to my own ideas of how I should explore the differences, both scientific and political, here on my own blog.