Who Am I?

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I am in my late fifties but don’t act my age. I try to let my inner child out to play at least once a day.

inner child

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I am a very empathetic person who loves giving bear hugs. I believe that empathy is important and is important in our interactions with each other.

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I am Queer. I identify as queer because I feel labeling myself as gay is not appropriate as “gay” is not inclusive of my many psycho-social-sexual quirks such as being gender non-conforming and age non-conforming. I also call myself Genderqueer because I feel neither male or female. I also am attracted to androdgynous guys and identify with some aspects of those into age regression and age-play (letting your inner child out to play). I am Agender and an advocate for the Transgender Community. Trans Ally Many important people in my life are or were, (sadly two transgender friends were lost to AIDS), transgender. I also believe in everyone’s right to adopt gender roles, mannerisms or behavior that align with who they are, irrespective of society’s gender role expectations. I regret that I didn’t get to explore “gender creativity” more during my teen years. I discussed my gender non-conformative childhood and teen years here.

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Yours Truly, Jerry aka Fairy JerBear


Here I discuss my gender identity evolution which culminated in my acceptance of Agender as my gender identity and I also provide information on non-binary gender identities. For the complete rundown on what it means to me to be Agender, read my post On Being Agender.

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I am by body type a Bear (hairy, was for many years bearded, and am blessed/cursed with excess belly), but don’t conform to bear stereotypes. I feel like a mother bear sometimes, a playful cub sometimes and a fairy bear frequently. I am also a caring bear aka a care bear. I can also be an effeminate bear. Oh, and I am attracted to guys that are slenderish, smooth, long haired and effeminate.

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I am a Secular Humanist. I am a caring, moral person who doesn’t rely on a deity. Like the line from the Christmas song, “I am good for goodness sake.” I am an Atheist but believe that what I believe IN is more important then what I doubt and don’t believe. That is why Humanism is my identification of choice I am also a Unitarian Universalist (the only “church” I know off that welcomes secular humanists). I joined a UU church in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1986.

I was raised a Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) and attend SDA schools from 2nd grade through college. My father was a minister/pastor/preacher and didn’t believe in dancing, pop/rock music, drinking anything with caffeine, eating meat, going to movies, smoking, drinking alcohol, doing anything secular on “the Sabbath” (sundown Friday through sundown Saturday), sex before heterosexual marriage (including a taboo on masturbation and homosexuality), guns even toy ones, eating before praying first, starting a day without morning worship. and on and on. As an adolescent I rebelled and had verbal fights over music, clothes, hair length, amount/kind of facial hair and other topics and issues. I held a lot of anger bottled up inside me. At college my world opened up. I was presented with the concept of critical thinking while a resident assistant by the dean of men at the dormitory. I was exposed to other faiths while overseas and for a couple years embraced the charismatic Christian movement. It was a search for a church that made sense to me and OF me that led me to the Unitarian Universalists.

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I am a naturalist. My primary escape from problems at home was nature. We lived near a wooded area where I built trails, identified edible plants, observed birds and animals, camped out with friends and swam with beavers. During this time my favorite author was Henry David Thoreau and my favorite singer/songwriter was John Denver. I created a photo essay of my teen years as “Mother Nature’s Son” here.

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Obviously, I continued to enjoy all things nature including many visits to the rainforest while living on Borneo for a year and in nature walks in various locations all over the USA upon my return Stateside.

As I have gotten older, and my mobility has been impaired, I have become an armchair naturalist collecting books, DVDs, and Blu-rays about nature.

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I am a naturist. No this isn’t a repeating paragraph – I said naturist as in nudist. It all started when I was born; well, okay that’s cheesy, it actually started during the same period I turned to nature. I would run for the woods, strip naked and walk in freedom until bug bites forced me back into my clothes. I also had some great friends whose family owned land along side a river. I spent countless hours during several summers skinny dipping. I simply loved everything about being nude, the freedom, the breezes on all parts of my body, the sun warming my skin all over. One time myself and two friends decided we would try streaking. We rode out to the main highway and took turns running down the road and then ran together. It ended when some local yokel screeched his tires and pulled over. We all dove for cover – unfortunately I ran into a barbed wire fence – fortunately it missed my groin! Later I heard from my friend that a member of my dad’s church saw us but was nice enough not to tell our families. When I was out on my own I became an official naturist and joined the 2 national organizations: The Naturist Society and The American Sunbathing Association now called The American Association for Nude Recreation. I joined a camp a little under an hour from home and went to a beach in Rhode Island that was then clothing optional. I enjoyed all aspects of the experience and found that it was a great equalizer. No one knew or cared if you were rich or poor and you could quickly see that humans come in all shapes and sizes. I don’t live near a club now but continue to be a naturist at home and would love to visit a club again. I admit to some trepidation on how to balance my non-binary gender identity with naturism. In a way it’s an object lesson that your gender is not your body. I embrace my difference and any naturist group I was a part of would have to as well!

I am overweight but as I discussed here, I am 80 – 100 pounds less obese than I once was. That being said, I doubt I will ever be svelte. While I was a child, teen and young adult I managed to remain at a healthy weight because circumstances forced me to exercise. If I wanted to go anywhere I had to walk or bicycle to get there. I was also in good mobility health; I had no conditions that made exercise difficult. Then I graduated from college and got a car. Right away weight began to creep on. Then my knee started acting up and I had to have surgery. I went on a severe diet and exercise program in my late 20s and early 30s. I developed a blood clot from using a rowing machine and tried to still keep weight off after, even through I exercised less. A few years later I developed psoriatic artritis making walking more difficult. Finally I essentially gave up after developing the conditions I mentioned here. I am able to loose weight now by keeping unhealthy food out of the house. I will eat anything that’s available so I try to not purchase unhealthy food. I read the recent stories about “the couch potato gene” and I believe I may have it. I dislike exercise and crave sweets which is not a good combination. I hope to keep excess weight off as it has led to health problems but damn, it’s not easy!

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I am an animal rights and environmental activist. I began my concern for these issues as a natural outgrowth of my love for nature. In fact, I started an “ecology nature club” while still in middle school. This passion for preserving the planet has never waned, if anything, it has grown stronger as science has uncovered the perils of global warmingclimate change exacerbated by our pollution of our planet’s air. I am also a vegetarian as I discussed here. In fact the video on this post also helps explain my animal rights stance.

I am a life long Democrat but the Green Party would be closer to my beliefs. I just believe in making my vote count and, unfortunately, third party candidates only seem to be spoilers. My first vote for President was Jimmy Carter and every Democratic candidate after that. I did vote for a Republican once and that was for William Weld in his race for Governor in Massachusetts. He ran against an anti-gay conservative Democrat. I served on Gov. Weld’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, the first such Commission in the country. I had the privilege of working with some wonderful people who were pioneers in addressing the needs of LGBT youth. I was also one of the adult advisors to an LGBT Youth Group. I remain a strong advocate on behalf of LGBT/Queer Youth.

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I am an activist. I participated in many causes but a few stand out. I already mentioned my environmental and animal rights activism and those causes were important. My major activism occurrence during the late ’80s and early-mid ’90s. I participated in many street demonstrations prior to Massachusetts passing anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation. I witnessed some amazing milestones including a huge demonstration that brought the Massachusetts State Senate to a halt and saw activists, including an elderly Unitarian Universalist minister, dragged across seats and out of the chamber and was there when, a year or so later, the bill passed and the community met at Faneuil Hall in celebration. I also was privileged to be part of the activism that led to protection for LGB youth in schools, (protection for transgender students came later). I am also proud of my time as an AIDS activist. In Worcester, Massachusetts I planned and participated in demonstrations at schools that didn’t provide condoms or comprehensive sexuality education, a demonstration when the municipal buses refused to display a pro condom use poster, and annual candlelight vigils and inter-faith services for World AIDS Day. I also was a part of ACT-UP Boston and participated in several demonstrations and when ACT-UP spun off Queer Nation I joined in. In fact my then partner and I got “married” at a unique Queer Nation wedding protest.

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I am committed to maintaining strong civil rights protections. I grew up during the struggle for civil rights. I witnessed my father call black children “carob drops” (we had carob rather than chocolate as treats growing up). I saw my parents display an offensive bobble headed black maid doll – they removed the ear rings because that was offensive but kept the doll! I also heard my dad make disparaging remarks about black religious music. I realized that this was wrong as I grew older. My views really changed in college. I witnessed racism first hand when a group of fellow students and I went to watch the tall sailing ship “Parade of Sail” in Boston in 1976. I was horrified when some racists called my friends the “n” word and me an “n” lover. My awareness grew as I studied and interacted with African-American students and professors. During the mid ’80s.I participated in the sanctions movement against South Africa because of apartheid. Years later, in 1988, I worked on Jesse Jackson’s campaign for President. It was a wonderful experience as I worked with a diverse group of volunteers. The one memory that still makes me angry was while I was campaigning holding a Jackson for President sign and a passer by hollored out “what are you voting for that “n” word for?” I was filled with pride when 20 years later, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States of America. Around a decade ago I was in Atlanta and visited Martin Luther King, Jr.’s memorial it was a very moving experience. The museum there was also amazing. The take away message was King’ s commitment to non violence – a principe I have tried to live my life by.

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I am disabled as I described here. I know how difficult it can be to go through the hassle of getting approved for Social Security Disability benefits. I know the frustration of having activity curtailed because it hurts to move. I also know the desperation you feel when your anxiety and fear of panic attacks limits the number of times you leave the house.

If you want to read posts that are about me click here for posts tagged personal.

So that’s a little bit about me. I am a human being with flaws but I try to be a kind and loving person. I am grateful you have taken the time to get to know me. I look forward to learning about you!

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8 Responses to Who Am I?

  1. Dinah says:

    Hi JerBear!

    I am a post-operative transperson and bi-spirit living in San Francisco. I am thinking about moving to Santa Fe or Albequerque.

    I would appreciate any advice / experience / feedback you may have on transpeople living in the Albuquerque / Santa Fe area, especially with regards to violence against them and “community acceptance”. I grew up in Chicago, which is – to be polite – “non-optimal” for transpeople. San Francisco is near-optimal, but my neighborhood is changing and it’s *real* expensive to live here. Rather than move about California, which is a bit damp for us older Queers, I’m thinking the high desert climate would be much better for me – and a lot less expensive.

    I appreciate your advice and wisdom in this area. If it would be better to communicate on this potentially lengthy topic via email, please feel free to do so.

    Thanks much in advance!
    Dinah

    Like

    • Hi Dinah,

      Santa Fe and Albuquerque are both fairly tolerant communities. Albuquerque is home to The Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico which works very hard on our behalf. They have full time staff and many volunteers as well as hosting several support groups. Santa Fe, where I live has a very supportive mayor who is openly gay. The city passed an ordinance that all single stall restrooms be labeled gender neutral. We have an active trans support group here which has been a real lifeline for me. We meet the second and fourth Wednesday of the month and have a diverse group of trans women, trans men, non-binary folks and those who are gender non-conforming or in the process of defining their identity. We also have an active Transgender Advocacy Group which has some plans to address various needs the community has. If you are someone wo likes the advantages of a larger city with more activity going on Albuquerque may be the best back. If, on the other hand, you like a more laid back life in a very supportive community then Santa Fe will be your best bet. I, of course, am partial to Santa Fe. I have a wonder group of friends in the community and we also have social events in addition to the support group. If you do decide to make New Mexico your home you’ll be pleased to know our state anti-discrimination law includes sexual orientation and gender identity. I’d say the next advocacy project is to require health insurance pay for trans medical care.

      Thanks for contacting me and I wish you all the best.

      Like

  2. Pingback: Janet Mock: Revealing Caitlyn Jenner: My Thoughts on Media, Privilege, Healthcare Access & Glamour ‹ Janet Mock | de Frémancourt

  3. mike daemon says:

    I came across your website, when you liked my comment on another blog, I am a Nigerian, and we all know it can be pretty hard here, I recently launched a podcast that discusses LGBT issues, especially with Nigerians, I would like to periodically post my podcast on your blog so more people can get to know more about it. Thanks, my blog address is http://www.nostringspodcast.wordpress.com I have all released episodes there, you can check them out again, thanks a lot!

    Like

  4. Pingback: Climate Change Dangers Here Now, Will Worsen Many Human Ills, UN Panel Warns | JerBear's Queer World News, Views & More From The City Different – Santa Fe, NM

  5. I came across your blog looking for topics about gender, sexuality, etc. Your profile is so charming, and I think the messages you’re sharing are really important. I especially relate to your quote,

    “I also believe in everyone’s right to adopt gender roles, mannerisms or behavior that align with who they are, irrespective of society’s gender role expectations.”

    This is how I feel as well! Anyway, I just wanted to say hi.

    Like

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