My Blog - Opinion and Commentary

Why I Joined Mensa

I would not be where I’m (professionally and personally) at today, were it not for the catalytic effect of joining Mensa, now approaching 3 decades ago. This is not hyperbole. It was a watershed event in my psychological development and ignited within me some self-esteem, which I sorely needed. At that time, I had just begun my (female-to-male) gender transition. Additionally, as a child I was abandoned by my parents; and at age two I was made a ward of the state and grew up in a children’s home through high school graduation.

For these reasons, I very much needed the positive affirmation–the “intellectual credential” of Mensa membership. And directly because of it, I was motivated to push myself toward achieving my highest. In joining Mensa, I was looking for other “thriver/survivers,” and other persons with atypical life experiences. I was, and still am, looking for such interesting friends. Yes, it was very well known, by repeated testing in grade school and high school, that I had a superior IQ. But as a throwaway kid, and female no less (at the time), I was not expected to achieve. As a child, I was wasted. Fortunately, I did not waste myself. I have paid for all my education, and everything else I’ve ever had in my life. Recently, I was able to buy my first home; I had never heretofore been able to own (or co-own) a home. My parents never owned a home either.

I am presently on the sunny side of sixty. I enjoy a successful medical career at Duke. I am an award-winning physician assistant, and a Distinguished Fellow of my professional academy. Nominated by my physician colleagues, I have been a NC Medical Society Leadership College Scholar. I am the author and publisher of *Hestia’s House,* a literary memoir with the overarching theme of home. And I would have given my last breath and my last dime to do that, so important it was to me to get my story out. In my book I “prophesied” that one day I would be able to buy my first home. I am an inspirational speaker; and also a speaker and consultant in transsexual healthcare. After a recent presentation for students, faculty and community attendees at Maryville College, I received a standing ovation.

Besides my medical career, I study math and physics. I enjoy excellent health and am a runner, (running is a metaphor of life for me); and recently I began ballroom dancing lessons. My mission is to live an authentic life, to have courage to dream, and to reach for my highest. And the greatest gift I can give anyone is inspiration to do the same.

— published on US Mensa website