a.k.a. Kerry Lindemann-Schaefer
Karen MacLeod asked me to do an update on my life since Frevven, for those new S~G fans who have begun reading my stories, and for those of you who might remember me from years gone by.
Some folks have been asking about more Frevven stories. Sorry to disappoint you, but I've pretty much said all I have to say about him years ago. I've moved on to, and through, various other fandoms since then. About the only way I'd be likely to come back to writing more about Frevven would be if there were any interest in a professional version of his story, now that the novels are being reprinted.
In case anyone is interested in some of my more recent writings in other fandoms, they are all posted on my website at http://pages.suddenlink.net/kerwin/newkornerindex.html. Along with some of my original fiction, I've also done fanfic for ALIEN NATION, KUNG FU: THE LEGEND CONTINUES, and HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS.
For those of you who have read and enjoyed the Frevven stories, or any of my other writings, I'd like to acknowledge here my debt to Jacqueline Lichtenberg, for taking the time to teach a new writer the elements of writing, most notably how to plot. Few professional authors are willing to spend the time and energy such a thing requires. S~G was the first universe to inspire me to write stories meant for other people to read, as opposed to scribbling stuff for my own eyes alone. The fanzines provided a way to place my writing in front of other people, and JL's attention and encouragement over the years gave me the courage to do this.
S~G played a very important part in my life, giving me a way to deal with issues that concerned me in a symbolic setting. It is my hope that my readers might have seen some of their own experiences and issues reflected in these stories also.
As for my mundane life, I've been working as an MRI technologist for some years now, and live in New Bern, North Carolina. I've recently taken up the sport of fencing, and have also gotten involved in the local SCA, where I'm learning a different style of fencing.
Probably the most interesting aspect of my life, however, is that I've gone through a rather unusual form of changeover.
Almost two years ago, I began identifying myself as a female-to-male transsexual. My body may be female, but the person inside this body is male. As far as I can tell from my own experience, I was born this way. No one in their right mind would ever choose to be transsexual. No amount of denial has ever made it go away. I know: for most of my life, I've tried to be a woman. I've been married. I have a son, now in his 30's. At one time in my life, I tried to be a lesbian, but that didn't fit me either. At the ripe old age of 55, I decided that I would try no longer.
Early last year, I began taking male hormones and started choosing my clothing with the deliberate intention of being perceived as a man. Just last month, July 2002, I had chest reconstruction surgery, which gives me an even more masculine appearance. In fact, strangers now routinely assume I am male. (It's easy to tell down here, since Southerners always use "ma'am" or "sir".)
The most wonderful thing about these recent changes is that, for the first time in my life, I am happy with what I am, and what I am becoming.
I acknowledge that transsexuality is not an easy issue to understand and that some people may be uncomfortable with what I'm saying. I invite anyone who is interested to ask questions. My email address is found on my web pages. I'll answer as openly and truthfully as I can.
If you'd like to get some kind of idea of how it feels to be transsexual, what follows is an article I wrote for a gay magazine. If you're not at all into this, feel free to stop reading now.
That's easy enough to explain. I'm going to assume, gentle reader, that you're happy and comfortable with your body, at least as far as your sexual organs are concerned. Now, just imagine that you woke up tomorrow morning and you were in the exact same body, but you had the genitals and secondary sexual characteristics of the opposite gender, rather than your own.
For a person who is transsexual, this would be a dream come true. But how would it feel to you? Inside your head, you'd still see yourself as belonging to the other sex, but there you stand in front of a mirror, naked, clearly presented with the physical evidence that you are not what you know perfectly well that you are. Now, how do you feel as you look at your new sex organs? Appalled? Disgusted? Terrified? Maybe even a little curious?
But life goes on and you can't just stand there staring at your reflection. Time to go out into the world. What clothing will you wear? Your own – and feel somehow that now you don't belong in it, or it doesn't fit quite right anymore? Or maybe you borrow something from your spouse's closet, if that's an option. Or make a quick trip to a clothing store for a wardrobe that suits your new body -- but you're not entirely comfortable in those clothes either. Still, you try to make the best of things.
Much to your surprise, when your friends and coworkers see you, they act as if this new gender is the one you've had all along! How can this be? Can't they see you as what you know inside that you really are?
Confused, flustered, perhaps horrified, you struggle to learn the proper behavior in order to get along in this new body. Your social role fits you like your clothing: perhaps fairly well, perhaps not at all, but you must do the best you can in order to survive.
And all along, you know, deep down inside, that this is not you, not really. But you dare to tell no one, for fear of being considered crazy, because every time you go back to that mirror for another look, it is you, no matter how you may feel inside.
Why did this happen to you? I don't know. Can you tell me exactly why you're gay, or bi, or straight?
After a few days, when it becomes clear that this situation is not going to change, then what do you do? To what lengths will you go in order to get your original body back? How much money will you spend? How much pain are you prepared to endure? How many friends, family, loved ones are you willing to alienate? What job will you risk losing?
Or will you just resolve to endure the body you've been given, and come to an uneasy truce with it, as many of us do?
Those are our feelings, those our options. It's not really so difficult to understand after all, is it?
|c. 1980||May 2002|
|The author dressed as his character,
|Kerwin giving Katherine Rylien a tour of
|Karen MacLeod (seated), Kerwin L. Schaefer, |
Tamyra Rhodes-O'Neill and Katherine X. Rylien
visiting the Baltimore Aquarium
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