Callie was born a male, and like most transgendered people did the best she could to live a "normal" life and be who she felt she was. Once she decided to live as a woman and brfore corrective surgery to make it official, she met Barry Winchell, a soldier at nearby Fort Campbell at the club she worked in. They fell in love and the rest is history. I think she is one of the most brave persons ever, I had to write her to let her know that she inspired me:
My name is Jude and I live in Columbus, GA. I first heard of you in a Vanity Fair article about Barry some time ago, and when I made the connection between yourself and "Soldier's Girl" I felt I had to write to you.
I needed to write this to explain just how inspiring you have been to me and to thousands of other people just by pushing so hard to be yourself without compromising. I think you are one of the most brave, beautiful, and amazing persons I have ever come to know of and that deserves recognition and praise. In a society where basic freedoms and rights are taken for granted, it is people like you who place real value on them and I celebrate that with you.
I have a friend who is transgendered, so I understand the struggles that you may have faced over the years - but that is not really the point. The point is that I am grateful for your example to choose to live by your will and determination and be who you need to be in spite of the adversity and consequences. We should all be so driven, imagine what would get accomplished!
Thank you, Calpernia, for being an inspiration and a voice for so many who cannot find their own and for being an example to everyone that anything worth having is worth working hard for.
I believe that love is wishing better things for people than they may wish for themselves. You can love anyone and not really know them. I hold you dear to my heart and wish for you all of the happiness and peace that you could ever imagine.
I believe I have gone on long enough, I am sure that you are busy and that this email may not even find you. I hope that I might get a reply from you to know that it did. I hope that this reaches you in good health and high spirits.
My own website is: J u d e B e n n e t t ~ Digital Design [Version 2.0]
Take care and be well, I send you energy & light!
With much love, respect, and gratitude,
This morning I find this in my mailbox:
Thank you so much for writing and saying hello. You sound like a really interesting person and I like your website... cool pics. This experience has all been very difficult and quite surreal at times, but I'm glad that something good has been able to come after all the bad. I think a lot of people have been touched by the story, and have seen what a good man Barry Winchell was. He accepted me for me and that was an incredible gift.
Barry's parents are fighting for justice for him, and fighting to change politcal sitations that allow a climate of discrimiation and hatred and ignorance to fester into murder and ruin of lives. The movie will help give them some political clout as well, and I'm grateful for that. Showtime was very brave to make this movie, because it's quite challenging for a lot of people to watch.
I hope you are well, and if you're curious about further developments, here are a few links on my site dedicated to keeping anyone interested up to date:
http://www.calpernia.com/soldiergirl has info and archived media reports
http://www.calpernia.com/weblog.php is my online diary, if you wonder what I'm doing
http://www.calpernia.com/book has info about my life story, for anyone interested in the bigger picture.
Thanks for writing, and take care!
Today is going to be a good day. I'm going to ride my bike again this evening, I went almost 10 miles last night and half of it felt uphill. Matter of fact, Nathan told me he was going to meet me at Hamilton Station to go walking while I rode my bike, and I rode from our house to the jogging track - and beat him to it! I made an MP3 disc of music that keeps me going, everything from Filter, A Perfect Circle, Bad Brains, Metallica, Fugazi, The Replacements, and Incubus to Silverchair and Tool.
In other news, I hate to admit it, but BMW has COMPLETELY screwed up the design of the new 5 Series - it looks like a goddamned Saturn or something. That hardly says "Luxury Car" to me. Not that there's anything wrong with a Saturn, it's just not what I expect to see from BMW. They are developing a new 6 Series, based on 7 and 5 Series designs. Will look more like the current 7, only shorter wheelbase and priced in the mid 40's. Rumor also has it that they are coming out soon with a new 7 Series - the 730i that will be similar to the current 745i but with considerably less options out of the gate. Somewhere in the 50's for that one I believe.