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Thursday, October 30, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 50.0° F  Overcast
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Her story

I can't say that this week's cover is a sad story, since it's about someone pursuing her happiness and being as successful as many of us in finding it. But the pursuit is so much harder, and more dangerous, than it is for most of us, it can be a bit depressing.

"Her Own Woman" by Mary Ellen Bell is the story of a transsexual person, one who identifies as a woman but was born in a male body. Bell takes us through the life, which has by now reached 52 years of age, and recounts the journey of self-discovery that Rhiannon Tibbetts made to reach the state she occupies today, as a self-assured advocate for folks who encounter the same prejudice that she encountered.

When this country declared its independence, it was because "the inalienable rights" to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were being transgressed. Of course, there are qualifications to that guarantee. Your pursuit of happiness shouldn't interfere with someone else's. You shouldn't be breaking any laws or denying others their rights. None of these things has Rhiannon Tibbetts done.

There are some folks who do not act this way, who would deny others that which they claim for themselves. They are afraid of the different. They are mean. They are stupid. They are dangerous. They are murderous.

But that can change, especially when people learn more and feel themselves less threatened. We've seen attitudes change in our own lifetimes, perhaps not fast enough or far enough, but they have changed. And when people learn more and understand more they will change more, as long as the stories continue to be told. So thanks to Mary Ellen Bell, and especially Rhiannon Tibbetts, for telling us her story.

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