Green Frog Cafe

"Living in nature, listening to the rain, Green Frog Cafe, that's where I want to be. The hemlocks are green, the creek is tricklin, there's geese on the pond, the forest sighs. Green Frog Cafe that's where I want to be, home of my soul, spirit of the mountains." Ruminations of Rhona McMahan

Friday, December 22, 2006

Katryshka's Plight

I want to tell a story about my friend Katrushka's situation.

Katruschka is a 32 year old transsexual woman who lives at a pagan spiritual collective in the Catskill Mountains. She came there via a short stay in West Virginia, having gone there as a refugee from Mississippi. Pantera, as Katrushka is called fondly by her friends, is struggling to regain functional stablility in the face of the horrible pain which she experiences because of being cut off from her 5 year old daughter, Sweetie Pie.

Katrushka acts as the Information Technology and Communications coordinator at the spiritual collective. She used to be a pilot on a regional airline, before that a Greyhound bus driver, and before that a professional online game player. She is six feet four, with a guitar shaped body, long black hair, face like Bones in the current TV series, and prehensile toes. She is a self identified vampire, and dresses only in black, featuring black combat boots and a long black trenchcoat. For some reason she speaks with a soft panther-like accent.

Katrushka is like many trans people in that she has a child. Sadly, she is also like many trans parents in that the state has taken her parental rights from her. The state ignores the rights of the child to know and grow up with the nuture and admonition of their blood parent.

Sweetie Pie's mother has a history of mental illness, and the state has also stripped her of her parental rights.

Sweetie pie lived happily with Katrshka for years. The the state became aware that Katrushka was the de facto custodial parent and intervened in such as way as to destroy Sweetie Pie's family.

One morning before dawn a twelve person SWAT team descended on the apartment where Sweetie Pie and Katrushka were living. Katrushka did not know what was happening as the door was kicked in and men poured into the little apartment holding guns and blazing lights. Katrshka put Sweetie Pie on the floor and covered her with her body. The large men from the police tore Sweetie Pie from the arms of Katrushka and took her out of the apartment. They forced Katrushka to the ground, where they proceeded to kick and pound her with their clubs until she lost consciousness.

Katrushka was naked when she awoke, lying on the cold concrete floor of a three by eight foot cell. A flourescent light glared from the ceiling. The light was an affront, but Katrushka later learned that it would only be on for one hour a day during her recreation period, and that she would lie in total blackness for the other 23. They offered her the option of remaining in the solitary cell, or being transferred to the general (male) population. Since she is a beautiful woman, Katrushka had no option but to opt for solitary. Her only means of communication for a month was to write on paper illuminated by the light filtering under the door.

Katryushka was never charged with anything, but was kept in jail for 91 days, which meant that underMississippi law she lost her rights to have custody of her child.

A lengthy court case ensued between Sweetie Pie's parents and the Mississippi Office of Child Welfare. Eventually the case came before the famous judge Jefferson Campbell. This was the judge who had the laws of Leviticus printed in summary form in a pamphlet which he gave to all visitors to his courtroom.

Judge Campbell officially labeled Katrushka an "it" in court documents because she is a transsexual. This treatment was in the face of the fact that all of Katrushka's documents indicate that she is female. The judge ruled that Katrushka and the other parent would have no parental rights whatsoever, and were never to be allowed to have any contact with Sweetie Pie ever again. Sweetie Pie was to be settled in a foster home, and eventually put up for adoption.

This whole ordeal put Katrushka into the tailspin from which she has not yet recovered. Her room in the Catskill home is replete with reminders of Sweetie Pie. There is a large butterfly on the wall, and large stuffed toys on the bed which were part of Katrushka and Sweetie Pie's family life together. These things are sacrosanct to Katrushka. They are the most tangible evidence she has of her beloved daughter, and the little family they used to have. It is as if the most important part of Katrushka's life has been frozen in time.

This story horrifies me. I was lucky that I never lost contact with my own children, partially because they were old enough and ornery enough to be unlikely to go along with attempts to keep us apart. Their other parent did not try to come between my children and me. Nevertheless, it was my worst nightmare that there would be legal intervention between my children and me to take away our legal right to hang out together.

Katrushka has helped take care of Caleb, my two year old grandson when he has been with me sometimes. She is such a good person with children, sweet and fun, but also firm and teaching correct behavior. It breaks my heart to see her with Caleb. Caleb likes to be with her.

This story is about what some good Christian people do to some loving people to better serve their Lord. There may be another chapter to the story someday. What will be in that chapter?

Merry Christmas


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