Gender Versus Sexual Identity. The Transgender Bathroom Dilemma!

The transgender topic has been trending for some time now and since most of us understand and learn best if relating to real life situations, here’s a true story I’d like to share. It is not an opinion, but simply a story which I hope it might clarify the debated topic and the difference between sexual and gender identity and how the two could intersect.

A few years back, I needed to get a house-mate for reasons that are so obvious, I will not waste your time explaining. At the time, I was a middle-aged woman, and my children were adults. Our family also had three dogs and a parrot. It was a busy household. The room I offered had a separate entrance and bathroom.

I searched for a roommate using all the traditional and modern channels and carefully interviewed each person who replied. On a first meeting, the person was asked to fill out a form and agreed to criminal and credit background checks and to give three character references.

They say first impressions don’t lie.
The door bell rang, and here he was, standing in the doorway, a frail, blond man. His lips, but not his eyes, smiled.

During our first meeting he explained his place of employment was close by and convenient. He told me he had two small children and his wife and him were going through a divorce. I was touched by his honesty when he admitted the reason for the divorce was his infidelity: He connected with another woman on the internet, cheated on his wife, but after he moved out with the “woman of his internet dreams,” real life kicked in and surprisingly:) didn’t match the illusion. After three days she kicked him out of her house and the dream! His story perfectly matched my first impression and after running both a criminal and credit checks, he moved in!

He was a very respectful, reserved housemate and our first two weeks of co-habitation were uneventful.

At the beginning of the third week, as I was sitting at my computer, he came in and asked if I was happy with having him as part of our household. Of course I was, and we chatted for a while, until the conversation slowed down in a strange kind of way… and he blurted out:

“I haven’t been totally honest!”
“Could you go on My Space (that long ago it happened) and type in Jane Doe (the real name was much sexier)”

Jane Doe’s My Space profile was HOT! A provocatively dressed woman laying on a fake fur, stared at me with gleaming eyes. She was raising a glass of liquid, presumably alcohol… She had long, beautiful, red hair and perfect make up. She smiled.

“Do you like her?”

Thoughts raced through my rather bewildered mind… my roommate probably thinks I am interested in women… I wish I were, but… I am not.

“Why are you asking me? She is nice…but…”
‘Well, is she nice or is she VERY NICE… attractive?!!!”

Okay… I thought, I must be very clear:

” She is nice but as a woman, I am not looking at another woman… that way,” I blurted out.

“I hope you like Jane, because SHE is ME! I am transgender!”

“Let’s sum up: You are a man who was married, have two kids, left your wife for another woman, but you are transgender. In other words, you feel you are a woman, you identify with the female gender?”
“Exactly!” he confirmed.
“Help me understand … are you sexually attracted to women or men?”
“I am still sexually attracted to women.”

I was on a journey of understanding and discovery:

“Would it be a correct statement that you are a transgender lesbian?”

“Yes, you got it!” he confirmed and the smile in his eyes matched that on his lips.

Now that all the cards of this complex human situation were on the table, we continued our house mate relationship as we did before. However, what the outside world saw, were two people, a man and a woman coming out of the house at different times.
In the morning, a man in suit and tie left for work. At 5:30 PM, he came back home, and at 8:00 PM a beautiful woman went out to party. On weekends, the business man of the mornings brought his kids to visit… Real life has many facets and we might think we know…

What is the “lesson” of this story?

I hope there are several lessons and a lot of food for thought:

1. Refrain from judgement. What you THINK is the truth, might not be!
2. Educate yourself. Sexual and gender identity are two separate topics. As illustrated in my story, my roommate was identifying with the female gender, but his sexual identity was lesbian, he liked women as sexual partners, even when being a woman.
3. Respectfully ask questions to uncover the layers of another person’s reality if it affects you directly.

When I first heard of the transgender bathroom issue, as much as I tried to stay non-judgmental and open-minded, I had difficulties because in real life this is not a problem! Here it is why:

Let’s take my roommate. When she went out in the evenings, she used the Lady’s Bathrooms in public places. At his place of work, he used the Men’s.

Let’s think further. Is this the real issue?

Perhaps, the root of “our fears” is lack of education and the truth that “the danger” many people perceive is fear of possible pedophiles. The story of Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State coach who abused at least ten boys comes to mind. He was using the same gender bathrooms!

In my opinion, the transgender and sexual identity are not the real issue. If we re-think the many layers of reality,our emotional responses and the truth, we might reach a different conclusion.

What do you think? Please share your opinions.

Rodica Mihalis, M.S. Counseling and Clinical Psychology
Life Crossroads and Wellness Coaching

How To Keep Children Safe!

It is a fact of life that the safety of our our kids is of utmost concern more than ever!
Let’s face it, no matter what we wish, it is impossible to protect our children 24/7 forever but teaching them THE TOOLS to stay safe at various stages in life, are the real life-long gifts we could offer them. This article only offers a few tips and a lot of “food for thought” for parents, as well as a few suggestions of websites which contains helpful information.

Common situations we know about, yet they work in favor of predators!

Not long ago, I watched a T.V. program in which the interviewer first approached the parent(s) sitting on a bench, watching their child play on a public playground. The interviewer asked the parent(s) if they spoke to their child about “stranger danger,” and the universal “trick” they use to solicit the child’s help to find an imaginary lost pet. Th parent(s) told the t.v. interviewer that the children were told to never speak to a stranger, specifically to avoid strangers who have a puppy or solicit a child’s help to find a lost puppy. With the parents’ consent, the t.v. interviewer approached the children. He showed him/her the picture of a cute “lost puppy,” and asked for help. Without exception all the children agreed to help the stranger find the lost pet. The parents were stunned!!!

What is so fascinating about the “lost puppy,” that the children forget their parents’ lessons?

Here are a few thoughts…
Most people, not only kids, love puppies and kittens, generally helpless animals. They are irresistible and not only predators but good marketers know it. I click on “like” on many Facebook posts featuring animals in need! I am an adult but still, even being aware of how little I know about the place posting the cute animal, I do click on it.It’s called an emotional response… I guess.

The other aspect of this ageless successful “formula” is that regardless of the belief that people don’t like to help, most people do! Most people like to be helpful! Especially kids, whose personalities haven’t been “polluted” by the selfish aspect of our culture.

So… if most of us have a soft spot for cute animals and a desire to help, why do we expect a 5-year old to remember and apply an abstract lesson? Could a child even imagine the bad consequences?
Questions to ask ourselves, as parents, might be: ” How old is our child? What is the child’s personality? Level of understanding an abstract concept? Each person is unique and needs to be treated as such.

My mother, for instance had the right idea, to demonstrate real consequences.
She thought that a bad “real bad” experience could teach me the lesson to never leave home alone.
At the age of five, because no adult wanted to take me out to the park to play, I left my parents’ apartment, managed to cross a busy street on green, and went to the playground alone. When the adults realized I was gone, they searched for me at the park, and luckily I was there, playing with the “supervised” kids. Later, my mother told me that she approached a young man and offered him money to “pretend” to be a bad stranger and “pretend kidnap me,” while she watching. Well, the plan was good,
as a real scary situation would have taught me a lesson… The problem was that the young man refused and told my mother he didn’t want to scare a child!

What is the moral of this story?

Keep your children supervised at all times until you are sure they have the level of maturity to understand danger and abstract concepts! Each child matures differently.

The second problem with the “stranger danger,” is that most predators are People our children and we, the parents, know! Yep… this is one of those concepts none of us thinks it could happen to us or our kids, until it does! Just like suicide is unthinkable, yet according to the CDC statistics, 38,364 people completed suicide in the USA in 2010 and the numbers are on the rise (Suicide: Statistics, Warning Signs and Prevention) Did their family members know this tragedy was going to happen so close to them?

An old friend who owned a day care business told me many years ago: I would never leave a child who could not speak yet in the care of anyone but if a parent has no choice, it is better to have your infant cared in an environment where there are several qualified care-takers. The many unfortunate horrifying videos I watched in which parents captured their babies’ abuse by “trusted” nannies, convinced me of my friend’s wisdom.

Perhaps, rather than teaching our children to trust unconditionally a family friend or relative, teach them the

NO SECRETS rule. Anyone who asks a child to keep secrets is to be questioned.

Another old “trick” that continues to be effective is “your parent(s) were in an accident and asked me (either a stranger or someone the child knows) to pick you up and take you to the hospital! Why does this work? A child loves his/her parents and is afraid of being an orphan. This trick appeals to the fear in all of us!

What to teach your child? These tips are effective only after you have determined your individual child’s capacity to understand and apply concepts:

1.Have a family CODE. A word only you and your children know. Any person who was truly sent by a parent will know the code word.
2. If anyone asks for HELP, teach your child to say: “I have to check with my parents first.”
3. If they are lost in a public place teach them the FREEZE Game! Stop. Don’t run around looking for you. Some suggest the child yells, or asks for help from a Mall guard or sales person. This is a personal decision, but the FREEZE rule does help.
4 Teach your children your phone number, address, full name.
5. Teach them how to call 911 and when.
6. Teach them as a rule, adults do not need a child’s help Never get in cars or help an adult carry something to his/her car or look for a lost pet or give directions.
7. Teach them to lock the door and never open it unless you told them to expect a certain person. Do not tell anyone when they are home alone.
8. Teach your child, later, as an adult to use the buddy system and when going somewhere alone to tell a trusted friend of family member where he/she is going and with whom.
9. In the area of social media, taking pictures of our kids and displaying clothing with their names is viewed as normal, and it is. However, when sharing images of our beloved, re-set your privacy settings.

10. Have your child attend a safety program as well as a self-defense and awareness class.

Where to find more useful information regarding the safety of your neighborhood and how to keep your family safe

1. Sign up for ALERTS for your from your sheriff’s office.
2. Use parents’ forums, but always take info with a grain of salt.,,,,
3. Your STATE has Megan’s Law lists of sexual predators in your area. For instance: (.pa, .Del,.NC etc)

In conclusion, the real danger is being unprepared and not having a plan of action!
Empower your children by being a good role model and replacing fear with education and awareness!”

This is a topic of on going interest for all of us! Please share your tips and stories, so everyone could learn!

Netflix Enthusiasts! The Underworld, Inc. A MUST SEE DOCUMENTARY!

Are you,like me, a Netflix enthusiast, or call me addict, since I “binge” on the no commercials’benefits to the point where the Netflix robot asks, ” Are you still there?” And I AM!!!
Well, if that “sort of” describes you, or if it doesn’t, here is a British T.V. Documentary, two seasons, which is a MUST see, no matter who you are!
Why? Might you ask… because being aware of some of the information might SAVE your life!
Based on the book “The Misfit Economy, the documentary was made for the National Geographic Channels.
Each episode stands on its own and describes specific problems unrelated to one another ( gambling, human trafficking, prostitution, etc.)
While it is best to watch all of them, as they contain invaluable information, the episode which shocked and taught me the most was
FAKE PHARMA (season 1, episode 6)
Prior to watching this documentary I was unaware that fake medications may be dispersed in pharmacies, even hospitals.
Perhaps I was the only person on Earth to have lived under the assumption that to be affected by fake pharma, a person must buy illegal drugs from drug dealers, thus putting themselves at risk because there is no guarantee as to the quality or dangers posed by such illegal drugs in an uncontrolled market.
I was unaware that there are pharmacies which might sell such illegally obtained drugs. I was unaware that the market is not only that of “drug addiction” but of people suffering from cancer and other illnesses for which medications are so expensive, in desperation, these patients turn to illegal providers!
A majority of those interviewed wear masks and are shockingly and thankfully honest.
I applaud the makers of this documentary, and am thankful for their excellent work!

Please share your thoughts on this topic as it may affect anyone and knowledge is power!

Do Dogs Go To Heaven? What Does the Bible Say?- In Memory of Sophie

You teach us unconditional love!

You teach us unconditional love!


imageimageimageDo pets go to Heaven? If you are, as I am, an animal lover, could you imagine Heaven without those who taught us unconditional love?

… and yet, the topic has, and continues to be  debated.

When our beloved dog, Sophie died, I felt the need to clarify the question.

It turned out to be much more complex than I first thought; it was not a straight yes or no answer but a winding road which could have taken me just about anywhere and as God has given us the freedom to choose, I, as you, could reach a conclusion that fits the needs of our souls.

I’m Christian, and my main concern was,

What does the Bible say about animals and heaven? Could I have the hope to reunite with my dogs? How about the cats? My beloved African Grey parrot? 

I was told that the Bible says animals don’t go to heaven because they have no souls. Well… I really wanted to read exactly where in the Bible it clearly states that animals don’t go to heaven!

I could not find a specific verse or line in the Bible to state that ( of course, I’m not a scholar and if any of the readers could find such specific information, please DO NOT share) because I chose to trust in the parts of the Bible which give us the hope that we will see our pets again. Here are some:

Psalm 104, verses 14 and 27-30, or Isaiah, 11: 1-19. “Christ will bring a time of peace for both men and animals.”

Among the many articles I read to write this post, there was a particularly interesting article, “Do Pets Go To Heaven” by Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed. ( It is clear that animals are included in creation but unclear whether they are newly created or reborn.

There is also the key question of redemption.   The Bible states redemption is necessary for humans, who are “fallen.” They have free will and the ability to choose between good and evil. Animals never fell, so for them redemption is really not necessary!

Hmm…researching this topic was getting really convoluted… I thought of stopping, but I was really curious what else I might “discover?”

There came to a surprise when the old saying, ” follow the money,” seemed to be indirectly connected to the topic of animals in heaven!

If  animals have souls, that would change the way we look and treat them. That in turn, could affect  eating habits and as a result, the  meat industry.

Digging deeper into the topic, I learned that along the years, various popes had different opinions on the question of animals in heaven.

For instance,  Pope Pius supported the conservative Catholic theology according to which animals don’t have consciousnesses and no souls. As a result they have no after life!

Thank God, Pope John Paul II reversed Pope Pius’ decree, and the current beloved pope, Pope Francis, who took his name after  Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron of animals, says, “Paradise is open to all God’s creatures!” ( The article, “Dogs in Heaven? Pope Francis Leaves Pearly Gates Open,” by Rick Gladstone.)

It is customary for many churches, both Catholic and Protestant, to hold ceremonies blessing animals. It is not at random that such ceremonies are held on October 4th, which is the “feast day” -assigned Saint day- of St. Francis)

The more I read about what the Bible says, or more accurately does not say, the more complex it seemed!

I was aware that I have only touched the surface of the debate concerning reuniting with our beloved pets in Heaven, but it was clear to me that we are all God’s creatures and I believe in a loving God who opens his arms to all creatures.

However, to reunite with our pets, who offered us unconditional love, we, the humans, must be deserving of Heaven!

Helpful sites: