Just Trying to Be

Unfeeling, feel lonely rejection …
They can’t see that we’re just trying to be

— Jethro Tull

Jethro Tull,  l-r: John Evan, Martin Barre, David Palmer, John Glascok, Ian Anderson and Barrie Barlow For 63 years, David Palmer felt like a female human trapped in a male body. But he lived the life he thought he was born to have: He served in the army’s Royal Guards (to score free clarinet lessons), married a woman, spent many years as an arranger, collaborator and keyboardist for the rock band Jethro Tull,. and presently enjoys a busy career creating music and scoring films. Nine years ago, Palmer’s wife died and he finally allowed himself to deal with the feelings he had pushed away for practically his entire life.

Now 66 years old, Palmer — newly christened as Dee — is free and, we hope, happy after undergoing gender-reassignment surgery. It takes guts to make such a drastic move, but for some people, surgery is the only path that allows them to be their true selves.

Why I am I talking about a matter that is so private? For one, there are many Tull fans like myself who care about members of the band. Additionally, the story is being reported — Palmer is a public figure. But primarily, I wanted to share the reaction of Palmer’s former bandmate, Ian Anderson.

Tull’s leader has issued a statement that warms the heart:

“I have known for the past two years of David Palmer’s intention to undergo gender-changing procedures and, like many other people who have known David for three decades as a bearded, pipe-smoking man’s man, I found it difficult to understand at first,” he said.

“But I fully support his decision to undertake a new life as a woman.

“To the many fans of Jethro Tull, I can only offer that they should accept Dee Palmer for her new persona and hope that they enjoy her musical activities in the future.”

What a fine statement: very progressive, very accepting, very loving. We need to see more of this sort of tolerance and acceptance in the world.

Congratulations and thanks, Mr. Anderson. Godspeed and happy days, Ms. Palmer.

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