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Debra Lobel - Google Me
Who is Debra Lobel?
It's so hard to write about yourself. I had an assignment in high school where we supposed to write an auto-biography. I didn't know how to describe myself to others. It felt awkward. I felt it was so much easier to listen to someone else talk about me and then I could correct them or add to what they were saying. So I decided to let the Peanuts characters talk about me and tell my story. I actually mention this in one of my lenses - (Peanuts Comic Strip).
That was years ago and things have changed. So I decided to "Google" myself and realized my visions and dreams for myself have come true - but with a twist:
But First - Some Background - My Stats and Demographics
I love puzzles. I can give you a list of my background, but I'm going to make you work a bit. You should be able to figure my basic information. (Answers are below - try not to peak)
- I was born the same year Harry Truman was president. The Academy Awards gave All About Eve Best Picture. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy.
- I was born in the city that hosts the baseball team that has won the most World Series ever. Then moved to the suburbs when I was 9.
- I identify with the religion that considers Saturday the Sabbath. I grew up in a secular home. I didn't set foot inside a place of worship until I was 15. I had no idea what it was like to be "practice" a religion.
- My hair is just like Frieda's in the Peanuts comic strip
- Went to college at the University that is in the city that is the Capital of the state I grew up in.
- Majored in the field that has lots to do with numbers, quantification and patterns (not arithmetic).
- Went to graduate school at the University whose mascot is a Terrapin where I studied the machines that do computations.
- A few years after graduate school, I moved to the city that is called "Baghdad by the Bay".
- Currently reside in a city across the Bay from the previous line (number 8 above) which is home to the A's and Raiders
- I live with my partner of 23 years (married since 1997), two of my three children, noisy bird and two animals that are considered (wo)man's best friend. I used to have three sons, but now I have two sons and a daughter.
My Dreams and Visions
With a Twist
That's what I said in the intro. And if you read the previous list, number 10 seems weird.
What were my dreams and visions? I saw myself going to college, getting a job in my field, getting married to a Jewish man, buying a house and having kids. The
"American Dream". The truth is, I have it. I have a BS in Math and MBA in Technology Management. I have always had a job in the Hi-Tech field - including my own company. I got married, own a house and have children (and a granddaughter). So where's the twist?
I became more observant as I got older and being Jewish is important to me. However, I didn't marry a Jewish man. i married a Jewish woman. The ceremony was performed by our Rabbi. The ceremony obviously wasn't legal, but in the eyes of our congregation, we are married. We were the first Jewish Conservative lesbian/gay couples to have a commitment ceremony called a Brit Riyut (Commitment of Love). The picture above is our Rabbi performing the ceremony.
And what comes after marriage? Right. Children. My partner had a biological son - whom I adopted. A few years after our ceremony, we adopted two boys with special needs from the Foster System. And that's where my life really turned upside down.
The Surprises Being a Parent Taught Me
Learning how to have compassion and make difficult decisoins
Both of my children that we adopted from the Foster System have special needs. The first one suffers from neglect, abandonment, abuse, and trauma. We were told he would never be able to read or live on his own. The second one has Apraxia (doesn't have control of her jaw muscles and therefore does not speak well) and also suffers from neglect. Both have been in therapy for years. We have had to get many resources for both of them so that they will grow up and be able to live on their own or with some assistance. In order to do this, my partner and I had to close down our business. I got a job and my partner stays home to make sure that our kids have all the services they need.
When I Google myself, there are many articles about my daughter. Right. i told you I had three sons. But when my youngest was never happy being a boy. He said he would become a "Man-Woman" when he gets older. We didn't understand what he was talking about. Within seven years we understood that he was Transgender. He saw himself as a girl in a boy's body. It was a difficult process for us to understand, but our daughter is now on hormone blockers so that she does not grow facial hair, develop a deep voice, broad shoulders or an adam's apple.
Click on the picture on the right to see the article that CNN did on us.
We were on the Anderson Cooper Show - About Transgender Youth
This was an incredible experience for us. The Anderson Show paid for us to travel to New York. We were in the green room, getting made up, tested for sound. It was a very special time.
What Does it Mean to be Transgender? - Here are a few resources to help you
I recommend these books if you want to know what it is like to be young and transgender. I have personally met or spoken to each of the authors of these books. They have personal experience being Dr.
Dr. Ehrensaft writes about personal and clinical experiences in this book. She is a great resource for parents and professionals. She was on the Anderson Cooper show with us.
Stephanie Brill is one of the founders of a support group we belong to - Gender Spectrum. This is the first book I read when I was totally confused about what to do about my daughter.
I know of Nick Teisch as the founder of the only transgender camp in the country - Camp Aranu'tiq. He is a social worker who writes about various aspects of being transgender such as politics, medical, and social issues.
The Answers - My Stats and Demographics
Here are the answers to the "puzzle" above.
- I was born in 1951
- I was raised in the Bronx, New York and then moved to Long island
- I'm Jewish
- I have naturally curly hair
- I went to college at SUNY Albany
- I majored in Mathematics
- I went to graduate school at the University of Maryland and studied Computer Science
- I moved to San Francisco, California
- I currently reside in Oakland, California
- I live with my spouse, son, daughter, noisy bird and two dogs.
Nothing is perfect and the truth is - you don't have total control of your life. But you make plans and decisions that will get you where you want to be. Are you on the path that you expected? Sometimes you have to deal with things that you would never believe would happen to you.