The trans community can be hostile, volatile and downright dismissive when one of their own embraces an opinion that might be used to support the arguments of their oppressors. That is why widely-followed Mark Angelo Cummings, the Cuban born F2M (female-to-male) transsexual set off a firestorm when he suggested that helping youngsters transition might be misguided, and that his own transitioning might have been a big mistake.
|Mark Angelo and Lynna Cummings|
His recent detransitioning back to “Maritza” outraged some of his fans, and his controversial stance caused sponsors to dump him. His new wife M2F trans Lynna admits that she is attracted to Mark more than Maritza. If you are rolling your eyes, please wait a moment. This couple is wiser than any headline might lead you to think.
Six years have passed since I wrote about Cummings for South Florida Gay News (http://southfloridagaynews.com/Tony-Adams/mark-angelo-cummings-songs-in-the-key-of-f2m.html) when he was living in Hollywood, Florida, with his then-wife Violet, and beginning a career as a singer/songwriter. After several years traveling and living in New Mexico, and with a few unsuccessful relationships with men and women behind him, Cummings has returned to Fort Lauderdale with his new wife. When I ask him if he has continued to write songs and to perform, he seems surprised by the question, and it is clear that he has spent six years generating an all-encompassing online presence in word, image and video about what it means to be trans. That did not leave much time for music.
To be clear, his detransitioning back to female is on hold for the moment as the couple takes this time to settle into Victoria Park and a new phase of their life. You can still follow Cummings’ brutally honest self-presentation on Facebook, on his blog and on his Youtube channel where fans’ tempers sometimes flare.
Cummings did not disguise his very practical reasons for stopping his detransitioning. The money, the icy reception by his parents, the apartment hunt and his wife’s love put a stake through the heart of the freshly reborn Maritza.
Online, he clearly describes his practical decision with these words, “All of the events that took place from pounding the pavements finding an apartment that would be affordable, in a good neighborhood and free from scammers, led to my knowing that detransitioning was not an option for me after all. I felt vulnerable as Maritza and had to use, yes I know, my male privilege to get the job done. It is a jungle out there and unfortunately my alpha nature [as Mark] is needed to be taken seriously and to protect my wife and I during certain situations[…]Nonetheless I don’t regret the 3 months of my attempts to detransition, but in those three months, I quickly learned how much I hated fussing over myself, the make up, the worrying about what I was going to wear, the looking in the mirror and not liking what I saw. In the end, it would take way too much money to detransition and to make things look presentable after 13 years of testosterone and all of the secondary characteristics that it created. I am who I am, and after all at 51 years of age, I can’t put myself through all of that. I became Mark 13 years ago, and Mark I shall remain.”
Building on those words, I asked Mark who he actually is. He replied, “I am two-spirited. Sometimes the female part of my nature comes to the foreground and sometimes my male side dominates. I think we are all like that to some degree.”
In listening to Mark and Lynna, I find that what separates them from most people is their fearless ability to give expression to what is in their hearts without worrying about the approval of others, and free from the assumption that today’s decision must be monumental or permanent. Gender-presentation seems to be a small part of their deep devotion to each other, and the gifts they give each other are more lavish than their sex organs.
Lynna tells me that soon after their arrival in Fort Lauderdale, Mark brought her to the Wilton Manors bar Alibi. Walking through that door, Mark rejoiced at being in a crowd of gay men and proclaimed them to be his people. Did that moment upset Lynna? Not in the slightest. She shrugs and smiles when she tells me about this. She knows and cherishes her husband to the core. She accepts the entire package that is Mark Angelo and Maritza Cummings without much concern about the wrapping. Glad to have all three of them nearby, I hope Mark will pick up his guitar and write some new songs.
For more, check out http://www.transitionradio.net
(In print and online this week in South Florida Gay News - sfgn.com)