March 30, 2012
Excerpt From My Book ~ A Creative Non-Fiction Personal Essay~ My Story Of Easter And The Hate Crime!!
It has always been a lifelong dream to be a parent. I was told at an early age it would be impossible for me and to consider adoption. We (my lover and I) were parents for 5 glorious days, two boys, brothers: three and six.
The adoption would have taken place three weeks from the day of hate the crime. You see, my lover was a transgender, FTM who had decided to transition from a female to male. This is an excerpt from my book that I wanted to share. The event took place at a family gathering on Easter Day:
I can remember that day as if it were yesterday. The air was clean and crisp, the birds were singing and the sky was as blue as an ocean on a clear day. Mother Nature had given the gift of a beautiful March morning to celebrate Easter yet, hidden, waiting behind the trees and rocks were hints of disaster that lingered in the background.
As we walked outside towards our black truck after the Easter Egg Hunt, my son “to be” and I couldn’t help but notice every single member of Peter Marie’s family standing around in a large half circle. Fifty or more people all came out of the lakeside building that was full of food and festivity. The group consisted of all adults as well as children ranging from all ages, starring and anticipating. What was happening? Why did they all congregate at that very moment? For a second I felt as if I had entered the tapping of a horror movie – the scene: a stoning of an innocent individual who was considered the “evil one.”
Her mother and sister were behind us as I hurried and tugged at the child, trying desperately to make it to safety. I had seen them earlier out of the corner of my eye as they began their approach. To the only sanctuary in sight, was Peter Marie’s black, slightly shiny truck that had the colors of the rainbow in metal rings hanging from the rearview mirror. I held his hand with all my might. I just wanted to protect him. My heart was racing. My palms were sweaty.
The air turned into a bath of red mist, her mother began furiously screaming obscenities at me, “You F**cken* B**ch!!!” for one and then it seemed to go on and on like a volcano exploding. This was then followed by her pointing a finger at Peter Marie shouting, “You’re killing my daughter…you’re killing my daughter!” All I wanted was to make it to the truck and get home unharmed with our sons, a young three year old and his brother of six.
The last thing on my mind was any type of altercations. Why would such a thought enter my head on a family get together holiday such as Easter? That particular day was to be a time to enjoy family, holiday food and candy, to laugh and love. It was our first Easter with the boys, their first Easter hunt with us as a family. The countdown had begun, three weeks from that day until the adoption would have become official and finalized.
Prior to that day, Peter Marie had instinctually known her mother would not handle her transition from female to male reasonably or rationally. She described her thoughts, “I knew my mom was going to flip out on me so…maybe she won’t notice if I took my breasts off” stating as matter of fact and then smiled awkwardly.
The next thing I knew, my so called mother-in-law was standing before me about a foot away. She clenched both fists while raising them high above her head. She was in a rage attack mode. The air had changed, thick and dense. The sky became dark and stormy. It was her thunder that was out of control and I tried to brace myself for the explosive outburst that was clearly deep within her eyes.
Within seconds I felt her power, her wrath. Was that a bell I heard, did a boxing match start? I’m in emotional turmoil and suddenly hopped up on adrenaline. I immediately released the child’s hand. Fight or flight? She proceeded to punch the daylights out of me in the face several times while someone was pounding the back of my head with their fists. But whom? I was amazed and even proud for a brief moment of how many times I was struck, and yet still stood my ground. I remained stationary for as long as I could, taking these hard blows until eventually my knees buckled and I fell to the ground. My head was throbbing, maybe from the swelling of my assaulter’s actions or maybe because my face was plastered to the ground. Small rocks and shards of glass pierced my skin. I was kicked at that moment in the head, neck, head, neck, neck and then in the small of my back over and over. I couldn’t tell which individuals were battering me…her mother or sister or who knows…I think it was both, but if felt like more. Were other family members involved? I’ll never know.
Why didn’t I fight back you ask? After the third blow my instinct was to fight back, to show them I was not afraid and to stand up for what I believed to be right. To release my Brooklyn girl attitude in self defense. I looked down and for a brief second and I saw into the three year old’s eyes, heart and soul. These boys had seen enough violence in their short lives and I did not want to be associated with such horror.
Where was my son? I did not know. Everything was a blur. A flash of a time of warmth and love between her family and I. Emotions were flaring. I believe all the rage was triggered by the idea of Peter Marie’s transitioning and the realization that I supported her. Would it be a considered a death in the family when she transitioned?
Peter Marie struggled then yanked her mother causing any more injury. Then her mother and sister turned on my hero, my lover, my friend. It was no holds barred punches and kicks in every direction. She yelled at the top of her lungs, loudly with the sound of her heart breaking, “Get the boys out of here.”
This must have been so traumatizing for them. These children were placed in the adaption system because of the physical abuse, mental and emotional abuse concerning of both their parents and grandparents…and now this. Not understanding what was happening. Come to think about it…I didn’t even know what was happening.
I found my glasses and raced to get help. I ran as fast as I could…stumbling, losing my balance along the way until I reached help or so I thought. Sweating, out of breathe and desperate I pleaded for assistance. “They are beating Peter Marie up…please help me!” Her father did not seem surprised at my request. Could he have known about the potential of violence before it occurred? Leisurely he walked to the front of the building where Peter Marie was being brutally beaten. It seemed like an eternity had passed.
What I will never understand was that everyone knew Peter Marie had a hysterectomy just two and a half weeks prior to this day. Why would they attack her physically? It could have caused serious damage and possibly internal bleeding. But, I guess they didn’t care about her well being…her physical health.
Come to think about it, even though we were physically assaulted by her family members, neither of us fought back. Peter Marie deep within her heart truly cared about their well being. With every blow that stunned her, the love was still there looming overhead. She had been a black belt in Tai Kwon Do and not once did she use any of her defensive moves for life and death situations.
Finally the beatings were over. The blood had been spilt, a family torn apart. We had to make sure that the boys were returned to us. Peter Marie told our assailants that we were not leaving without our children. After a few minutes that seemed like hours, they brought them out to us.
We got into the truck and headed home. At first there was silence. Slowly we drove down the country road which led to the lake we just came from. Both of us were glancing back to see if we were followed and scared to death. The six year old broke the quiet. He asked Peter Marie why things happened the way they did. She tried her best to explain that there were bad people in this world. Blood trickled down her face as I tried to hold back my tears. This incident was a life altering experience, a shifting point in both our lives.
Our boys ended up back in the shelter for their own protection and we left to another state a week later for our safety with a broken heart.
Timing is everything in one’s life. This experience reinforced what I had already known, that there are bad people in this world and that hatred is everywhere. But, then I remember all the love and good people out there and in my opinion, the good will always outweigh the bad.
Gender role is described by Golombok & Fivush (1994) as, “…the behaviors and attitudes considered appropriate for males or females in a particular culture” (p. 3). Gender role development is the process of early advancement in which learned interests, behaviors and motives are culturally defined. Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic perspective has been adapted, modified, reviewed, analyzed and expanded upon for many years and has become part of our social consciousness. He was the first to develop a psychodynamic/psychoanalytical theory of gender development at the turn of the century when it was a given that men and woman were unlike one another. (para. Golombok & Fivush, 1). He was a neurologist but, his work began with his adult patients and their fears and anxieties. He studied how to cure or resolve their complaints and began researching a theory of personality as a cure. He realized that through earlier unresolved traumatic experiences in early childhood a correlation could be surmised with gender development. According to Golombok & Fivush (1994), “Moreover, Freud stressed the importance of early experiences and thoughts in influencing later personality” (p. 55). He also discussed the idea that biological drives having one main purpose, to procreate hence, as Golombok & Fivush (1994) stated, “…all biological drives must ultimately serve the fundamental sex drive” (p. 18). In other words, it’s instinct that drives our personalities.
Freud’s theory of psychological development explained that children satisfy their basic biological motivations which were discovered through a treatment known as psychoanalysis, the examining of the unconscious. As Ovesey (1983) commented, “Thus, psychoanalysis was the first comprehensive personality theory that attempted to explain the origins of what we now call gender”  He concluded that there were primary aspects of the psychoanalytic theory: the id, ego and superego. The personality combined the id (basic instincts such as, hunger, desires and aggression/personality for example, an infant is 100% id), ego (reality testing and rationalization/psychological) and the superego (conscience, moral judgment/social).
The stages of psychosexual development were developed and based upon a particular erogenous zone. If a stage is unsuccessful and not completed it meant that a child would become fixated on that particular erogenous zone and either over or under indulge once he or she becomes an adult. The first stage called the oral stage takes place between birth and two years old where pleasure and self-gratification is centered on the mouth through the erotic, rooting energy of sucking. The next stage of psychosexual development is called the anal stage. The anus is the erogenous zone. The child must learn to control the id and meet the demand of society and parents by becoming toilet trained. Conflicts take place due to the child wanting to control retention and elimination. There is a conversion of involuntary to voluntary behavior and the first attempt at controlling instinctual impulses. Sexual identity is formed in the third early stage called the phallic stage. According to Freud, gender role development occurs during this stage at about five or six years old where identification takes place with the same sex parent. This is a time of discovery and pleasure which is now focused on the genitals. It is during this stage that patterns were seen in males and were considered the norm, yet female patterns were somehow deviant. (para., Golombok & Fivush 1994, 57). It is at this age when castration anxiety creates fear resulting in Oedipal Conflict. Also when boys are proud of their penis, and girls wonder why they don’t have one. By five or six the child has completed the period of early development.
Whereas, Kohlberg’s concept was the first constructivist approach to gender development called the cognitive development theory. The belief was that a child’s understanding of gender developed with age from stereotypical conceptions of gender, what they see and hear around them. Children’s gender understanding moves through three stages. The first is called gender identity and takes place at around two years old where a child recognizes their gender as well as others and is a cause for gender role learning. As Blakemore, J. E. O. & Berenbaum, S. A. & Liben, L. S. (2009) remarked, “Simply identifying one’s own gender is enough to begin to motivate the child to learn about and behave in a way that is consistent with that gender” (p206).
First Level: Infants & preschoolers
• 1st stage: Premoral: child believes that evil behavior is punished & good behavior is not.
•2nd stage: Hedonism: good is something pleasant & desirable; evil is unpleasant & undesirable.
moral = conforming to rules and norms of society.
• obeys authority figures
3rd stage: Self accepted Principles
• Individual judges their own
•Can distinguish between good and bad laws and rules.
•Individual principles of conscience.
Labeling is reported by Golombok & Fivush (1994) as they commented, “Children are now able to label themselves and others consistently as female or male, but they base this organization on physical characteristics” (p. 91). In other words, an individual is male because he wears a suit and female by the length of hair. Therefore, if the physical appearance changes, so does the gender. It then takes a year or so before the second stage which is called gender stability takes place between three and four years old. Children understand the invariance of sex over time through gender being consistent for example, a girl is a girl earlier and will be one later in time. At about five year’s old, children progress into the final stage, gender constancy. It is considered the mastery of the highest level combining all three stages, understanding that gender is constant across time and space (para.).
In relating the stages from Freud’s theory to the stages of Kohlberg’s theory in my opinion, around the age of five seems to be a perfect balance between Freud’s and Kohlberg’s theories. The phallic stage and gender consistency both are seen as a realization that gender is constant over time as boy’s become proud of their penis’s and girls of their vagina’s.
 Person, E.S. & Ovesey, L. (1983). Psychoanalytic Theories of Gender Identity. Journal American Academy Psychoanalytical , 11, 203-226.
 Chapter 3: Personality Development (2004). Retrieved March 26, 2011 from http://allpsych.com/psychology101/sexual_development.html
 Blakemore, J. E. O. & Berenbaum, S. A. & Liben, L. S. (2009). Gender development. Retrieved March 27, 2011 from http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=g6pRcDmaY-cC&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=freud+and+gender+development&ots=F6E-3noMyM&sig=SqWgGctNVLI7LshATapomnHwITE#v=onepage&q=gender%20stability&f=false
 Golombok, S. & Fivush, R. (1994). Gender Development. New York: Cambridge University Press. (p.91).
Golombok, S. & Fivush, R. (1994). Gender Development. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Development table. (n.d.) Retrieved February 4, 2012 from, http://www.sonic.net/bantam1/DevelopmentTable.pdf