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In some ways, though, I hope I never grow up. I'm still enjoying feeling like a kid. Many people may feel disappointed and angry about the narrow and shortsighted decisions made by Congressional leaders and others in the last month or so, and rightfully so. Yet our movement's energy is generated by principles that personify our better selves -- the selves that we have the potential to be as a people and a movement. When our friends stumble and make decisions that may not represent the best in themselves, our responses need to point to the best that we can all become.
These responses may and must critique bad decisions, but must also invite, pressure and facilitate transformation. In that spirit, I urge you to join me in celebrating the solidarity demonstrated by the United ENDA coalition, and redoubling our educational efforts in the coming months and years.
Like it or not, we have a long, difficult path ahead of us. How we walk the path is just as important as where it is leading us. Read the entire article here It's a very optimistic piece. As a bonus, they get more media face-time, and stand above us as self-envisioned heroes leading we hapless trans folk to our equality and to craftily manage to assuage any former guilt.
Read the entire article here This, as you might immediately recognize from the short passage I've included, is not an optimistic piece. There's anger there. There's frustration and disappointment - the same emotions that many of us feel. My personal opinion is that she's unnecessarily harsh in her feelings about NCTE and about Mara in particular but I understand the personal dynamics involved.
That aside, her views are dead on. Or at least, they might be. The question I'm left asking myself is the same question that makes my beloved "A Christmas Carol" so compelling: Is the future set or can it be changed? If we could see our future would we do something differently at some point to change it?
Based on recent history I haven't seen any indication that much of the bleak political future that Vanessa lays out won't actually come to pass. The question at hand is whether this is destiny that cannot be changed or if there's some major shift ahead that can save it.
The doors open at 7 and the screening begins at 8. The email goes on to say that local trans-activists will be passing out flyers to people attending this event. Perhaps not coincidentally, I'm working on arrangements to visit beautiful Austin for a couple of days next week. Don't be surprised if there's another road trip in my near future One was forwarded by a friend and I just find it too clever and fun to NOT share it see it here.
I've been humming it all morning The second is appropriate since I've uploaded a couple of driving videos lately. It's a couple of minutes out the front window of a Humvee driving through Baghdad traffic. It won't stop out of concern of being attacked so it honks it's little horn and rams whatever gets in its way see it here.
I told Elizabeth that she would have been good at that job because a she gets a kick out of driving like that an b she uses her horn more in any given day than I use it in a year or more. There's a trailer for it on YouTube See it here. This video stuff is like a Pandora's Box for me.
The more I do it the more I want to do more - my head is full of ideas that have been patiently waiting. And I don't think YouTube is the best platform for much of what I'm hoping to do. It's great in that you can easily upload videos and share them, but there are limitations that I find chafing.
I watch videos on the internet that are crystal clear and amazing - that's my goal. Muddy, choppy video that typically happens during compression bothers me the same way that generational loss bothered me when I made a copy of a VHS video tape. If you look at the videos there - that's my goal. Good production. Great quality. No delay in streaming. I'm just at the front end of this, but stay tuned.
I've got a domain and hosting specifically reserved for uploading and hosting my own videos so we'll see where this goes. Oh, and podcasts. I haven't given up on that, either. As I say, this stuff is too much fun. I feel like a kid in a candy store. By the way, CNET. One thing I typically associate with he Holidays is food.
I'll admit that I've cooked more in the last 4 days than in the last 3 months combined that doesn't include heating up prepared foods. Last night I cooked a steak on my grill. That wouldn't be news in and of itself, but my steak knife has an amusing story:. I was in Austin a couple of years ago visiting my friend Lisa and we went out for dinner at a nice steak restaurant downtown.
I didn't quite finish my steak and asked for a take-home box when the waiter came to take our plates into the back. A couple of minutes later someone with a very serious look on her face that I would soon learn was the manager approached our table. I'm wondering what kind of "situation" we could possibly have at this stage - we were done and almost ready to go.
She proceeds to explain that the waiter mistakenly threw away my small piece of left-over meat and suggested that she could cook up an entire new one for me to take home if we had the time to wait. The thing that had particularly intrigued me about this restaurant were the steak knives. They were big, sharp, felt good in your hand, "real" steak knives made specifically for the restaurant. I mean, a knife has got to be pretty impressive for you to stop and take notice of it, and these were very impressive.
I've got a half-dozen Henckel steak knives in my knife block at home but, truth be told, they're kind of dainty when compared to more substantial knives like these. Anyway, it was really no big deal but I told the manager that we had been admiring the knives and if perhaps I could have one we'd call it even.
She did me one better and I ended up with a pair of them, brand new in the box. On a more personal note, it struck me this morning that the anniversary of my dad's death is a couple of days away. He died unexpectedly sometime during the night of Dec.
At that point he had been bi-weekly dialysis for couple of years, had lost much of the function in his fingers and toes due to neuropathy, and much of the joy in life had long since drained for him. I still can't believe he's gone sometimes and I wonder if that ever goes away.
And even though we chose to celebrate his life more than mourn his passing we all still miss him in our own way. I wonder if that ever goes away, too. I was still living at home at the time, with my wife and son, hanging on to that old life by a thread. I had been on hormones for a couple of years and life in our house had been absolutely hell for a number of months and the irony is that much of the joy in life had drained at that point for me, as well.
I had been relegated to the guest bedroom which was fine, except that my wife turned off the telephones at night so she wouldn't be disturbed. I didn't find out that my dad had died until I got to work the next morning and heard the message that my mom had left for me there. The impacts large and small that this has had on me are incalculable, an in fact continue to reverberate. I will do something special to mark Dec. I still have some of my dad's ashes, and depending on weather I wouldn't be surprised if a road trip to somewhere beautiful were in my very near future.
The list of things I had hoped to do today remains largely undone and that's fine. Go-with-the-flow means never having to say you're sorry. I only have a couple of thing to share tonight before heading to bed. First, I spoke with dear Elizabeth today and the big news from her is that she resurrected her website.
This is the 3rd incarnation since I've known her and the first since she took the last one down a couple of years or more ago. For those who want to visit, her url is www. Just know that the email link doesn't actually send an email - if you go there you'll see what I mean. I got a piece of trans-political mail in my in-box today that probably deserves comment but it's Christmas and I refuse to mix the two.
It can wait. I finished my video "production" from Day 2 of my cross-country trip. I uploaded it to YouTube in a number of different formats to see what difference, if any, that had on output quality. I expect to post the originals of my videos - not the compressed versions - on a separately hosted site sometime soon but that'll be one of my resolutions. Mine has been wonderful so far.
I don't have stocking. I don't have a tree. I don't have anything to unwrap. But I've got so much more in terms of personal peace to the point where none of that has any importance. That's a fool's game, and those who choose to play are destined to lose one way or another. I've been feeling like a kid with a brand new toy today. It started late last night when I began importing clips for Part 2 of My Trans-America video and it hasn't worn off yet. I stayed up until after 2am working on it, and was at it again this morning.
Hours have just flown by and I don't know where they've gone. I've got more full-featured, complicated, expensive, and impressive tools to edit video on my Apple than iMovie, but for what I'm doing it's more than fine. The real beauty is that you can become functional on it in a relatively short period of time and although I'm still certainly learning I'm thrilled to death with the results. I could go into detail about what I've learned but perhaps the most interesting recent discovery is the potential for interaction between these movies, iTunes, and an iPod I don't have an iPod, an iPhone, or any other iToys, either.
I have tested all of the "Export" features to determine the quality of the output different sizes, frame rates, formats and I've learned that the best that this tool produces is to export it to a M4V file that it automatically loads into iTunes. The output is gorgeous.
Way cool. Anyway, I want to create a brief intro for it sometime today to put it into context and I hope to upload the end result to YouTube sometime later today or tomorrow. This is a blast. Now I know why I went to college for this stuff. At the time late 70's, early 80's I was frustrated by the tedious linear nature of it and the limitations of the medium, both of which seemed to get in the way of the creative possibilities.
One more thing. I was with my friend Roberta-Ann at the Apple Store last weekend waiting to take one of the free workshops that they offer this one was on. Mac when one of the sales-people came up and asked if we needed help. I had a question on uploading content from iWeb to a hosting server and showed this person what I had been able to do after a 1-hour One-on-one training using iWeb: I showed them the TransEducate website.
Anyway, this email popped up in my in-box yesterday The word "education" is getting tossed around quite a bit these days but this is the kind of education that "feels" best to me. It's opportunities to share with a complete stranger in a non-threatening, non-in-your-face, totally unplanned yet personal way. To share what I did with her doesn't diminish, threaten or concern me in any way and the fact that this person took the time to write this email is testament to the power simple gestures can have.
It doesn't have to happen in a classroom, or in front of a big group of people. The education that transcends politics, media, and sensationalism is the one-on-one interaction we experience each and every day. I respect this person for writing to me, and I'll probably write to the store manager in appreciation for this extra "personal" service.
Rock on The day is half gone and I have no idea where it all went. The sun is streaming in my windows. I have straightening to do. I've got a 5-mile run ahead of me. I have ham to cook for dinner. I still haven't given up on "A Christmas Carol" yet. I don't have to be anywhere or anything to anyone today so time feels fluid. All in all - a very good Christmas.
This time of year means different things to each of us. For me, to distill it to one word - the word would be "Hope". It is a time to renew hope as one year closes, and another opens. The fact that my father passed away at this time of year makes that feeling of "Hope" even more profound for me as it takes on a very personal shape.
It's hard to explain but then again deeply felt emotion doesn't always lend itself well to words. I have defined the Holiday in ways that are personally relevant to me. The fact that they may not match what others traditionally expect or celebrate at this time of year doesn't make it any less real or important for me.
I'm not willing to debate the meaning of the Holidays - whether it be Christmas, Hanukah, New Years - with anyone because it means whatever we want it to. It means whatever gives it personal relevance. There was a time in my life when Christmas was grounded in family, and more specifically, in my son when he was a child. Those days have gone, and that's not a good or a bad thing so much as a simple reality, and I have since redefined the meaning in ways more appropriate to my current life needs.
I've been surfing channels all night long and haven't found it, which is disappointing. Very disappointing. The Godfather is on tonight. Forrest Gump is on, too. Goodfellas is even on. But no classic version of A Christmas Carol. I just watched one I didn't even know they did - Korn. If any band would seem a difficult fit for an "Unplugged" treatment it would be Korn. I've seen them in concert and the scene can be almost surreal. Someone uploaded a clip of "Blind" to YouTube and if you can wait until about a minute and a half into it when it really gets cranked watch the crowd and you'll see what I mean.
See it here , or here. Still, the one thing that impressed me at the time and certainly comes through in the Unplugged is the musical talent of the band. By stripping away some of the louder and more frenetic layers you get almost a whole new song. Very cool. Anyway - a very enjoyable way to spend the evening. I noted earlier today that there are some things from the "old" days that seem to have disappeared, and that I actually miss.
For example - Warner Brothers cartoons. They're not on anymore! I can't believe we have generations of kids growing up not watching Bugs Bunny on Saturday mornings. I saw a funny commercial this evening. I've watched it a dozen times and the ending still makes me laugh watch it here. Anyway, I didn't expect that tonight's entry would cover so much ground but I suppose that's just how my mind is working this evening.
And with that I'm going to go and pour myself an eggnog and rum, and "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night. The sky was clear blue, morning temperatures in the low 40's warmed into the 60's by midday, roads were clear, there was snow up north.
I hiked a bit. I took lots of photographs. On the way home a huge full moon fresh from the winter solstice rose like a spotlight in the sky. All in all - a fine day. I had some specific photography goals today and am interested to see the results. I didn't want to take any panorama shots, focusing instead on more close-up perspectives. I find it makes you look at things more closely, and with a more critical eye. I wanted water shots - Oak Creek has some wonderful locations for that. And, I wanted to play around a bit with some of the controls on my camera.
I downloaded a couple dozen of the photos to see how they turned out and am sharing some of them on my Blog Photo page. A couple of times during the day I stopped to remind myself that today is Christmas Eve eve. In fact, on my drive back home my brother called. He was finishing up some last minute shopping and had a question. My day was far removed from that. It's Part 1 of what I expect will be a Trilogy of videos documenting my drive cross country last month. It's certainly not deep and, in fact, is probably little more than a glorified home movie but the drive was fun, the scenery was nice, filming it helped pass the time, and I think it's important to keep the "fun" in the things we do.
Anyway, here it is:. This was as much a learning experience for me as anything. I learned about some of the shortcomings of this cute little camera that I got it records using a DivX codec that requires third-party software to work on the Mac, and although it was compatible with the previous version of iMovie it doesn't work with the most recent one. I learned a bit about the basics of using iMovie. The best part of the entire thing is that it took me 6 hours and the time just flew by.
I got into one of those zones where you just lose track of time for hours at a time. The last time I can remember being like that was when I'd sit down to write what eventually became my book. I miss it. The disappointing aspect of this is that he version that's on YouTube doesn't come close to matching the quality of the version on my Mac.
By the time it gets converted, compressed, and otherwise "handled" it's a muddier version that's a pale copy of the original. I'd love to be able to distribute things to people who would be interested via CD - to keep the original quality and, in fact, to offer additional things it's difficult or simply not appropriate to share to the broader audience on the internet.
Anyway, I may investigate options there. We'll see. It was held at the Building Museum in Washington DC which was as amazing a venue for something like this as I've seen. I was intrigued by the ice bar in the video - and that's what it was, a bar totally made out of ice. For those looking for photos from the actual event you can see them here. I helped to present one of the awards but didn't stay late - I had a lot of driving to do the next day.
Speaking of using new tools and learning, Jamison and I have been working on a more robust web presence for TransEducate. I think it looks great - certainly lots left to do there but it's a good beginning and it sets a foundation that we can build upon. I've got lots of things on my list over this next week. I want to set up my drum kit. I want to spent time learning the photo software on my Mac and working with the photos from Glacier National Park, and from my Autumn in Rochester. I want to do a road trip to a National Park for a couple of days with some of my dad's ashes.
There are some things I want to write. All in all, that's the extent of my Holiday Spirit and I'm fine with it. The Holidays can be horribly difficult for many because they remind you of the things you don't have in your life. If you don't have family, or a partner, or money, or spiritual outlets - it's easy to let the weight of it all become oppressive. I celebrate this time of year in my own way and it keeps my mind from wandering into places where it shouldn't go.
Some of us don't celebrate the Holidays - we endure them. We survive them for another year. The key, I think, has been to redefining thing in life in ways that are healthy for you. Being able to go someplace quiet, to bring my dad's ashes, to spent some quiet time reflecting on things - that's what the Holidays mean to me now. The UPS truck delivered a box from my sister yesterday.
In it was a live 18" Christmas tree in a pot, a dozen 1" ornaments, and a strand of 20 Christmas lights. She knows that I'm not very festive at this time of year so she sent me all the "equipment" to do it. Too cute. Anyway, I'll find a place to set it up as my shrine to the Holidays.
Speaking of a shrine for the Holidays, various people in the community are making end-of-year statements looking back on events of this past year. I'm finding the various spins to be very interesting. The recent setbacks remind us that achieving equality under the law will take more time and patience and will require us to hold elected officials accountable for their promises.
Read the article here - The Washington Blade, Dec. It is a beautiful sight. Like so many Washington traditions, from Fourth of July fireworks to election night parties, it reminds me that we are in the center of everything. In , George W. Bush lit that tree for the seventh time. Ironically, he is what keeps us in the periphery, at the brink of great accomplishments, but short of making law.
By this time next year, we could be celebrating the election of a supportive president. We know that this is what it will take to translate promise to results, and we are committed to making it happen. I agree that there is optimism although not as much as many seem to want to portray. I think we've learned a lot which, will prove to be good or bad depending on how we use what we think we've learned.
There is certainly promise. But the thing I can't quite understand is how anyone can write about this past year without acknowledging the pain, the hurt, the anger, the disappointment and frustration, the disillusionment that so many feel right now. It's not a political discussion so much as more personal one about the health of "community" and whatever that means to us. To me, the big story this year is not that no pro-Gay legislation got passed despite the early promise.
It's not about scandal. It's not about the election. It's about the bruise on the community that threatens to become infected even now. Any end-of-year message that doesn't at least mention that is like a FEMA end-of-year retrospect that somehow omits mention of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation that she wrought.
Or, Larry Craig's Christmas Letter without the word "bathroom" in it. It demonstrates a fundamental disconnect about priority and community that concerns me. Anyway - I'll sit down with a glass of wine one of these evenings and pen my own thoughts.
It's a good way of gaining mental closure on one year, and getting ready for the next. Who will speak for "community"? There's certainly no one person who can do that. But if nobody does it simply because there's no single voice who can speak for everyone then there's a serious problem. Ethan St.
Pierre interviewed the always amazing Jamison Green on his radio show last weekend and it's available online now Listen to it here. It's worth a listen. I've got a few things on my plate today. I want to get a rug to put under my drum kit, and perhaps a few new drum heads. I have some photos of my son that I was planning to mail to him, but would feel more comfortable delivering in person.
I want to see the movie "I am Legend. Anyway, Happy Holidays to all. So tonight we play a new game I'll call "Then or Now? One of the most intricate, important and challenging issues to ever face the Human Rights Campaign is how to grapple both legally and authentically with the issue of "gender identity and expression. Transgender people have always been part of our community.
We have marched together, been brutalized together and embraced each other in the hardest of times. Usually, it is transgender people both transitioning individuals and gender nonconforming gay and lesbian folks who are on the front lines. They are the first to be fired, the first to be rolled into a ditch for kicks, the first to be humiliated in ways large and small each day. For years, transgender leaders have been adamant that protection based on "gender identity and expression" be incorporated into the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ENDA.
There have been a number of challenges in this regard. First, many of us actually believed there was a better and faster way to achieve protection for gender identity and expression under gender protection laws. The challenge on that front stems from concern about opening up Title VII of the Civil Rights Act which some feel is the logical route to achieve such protection.
Second, with the near passage of ENDA in the Senate in , we hoped against all odds we could pull it through before President Clinton left office. That was then, this is now. Since December, our team of professional lobbyists has done yeoman's work, advocating with everything they've got to make this specific change to ENDA. This work has been done passionately, using every imaginable moral and legal argument that was developed by a working group of transgender leaders, community litigators and HRC staff.
Make no mistake, in our hearts and minds, the boards and staff of HRC are committed to including and protecting the transgender community. We will leave no one behind. As we continue on this odyssey, we are searching for a pragmatic, just and timely key that will unlock the door for transgender civil rights and protections. It took decades to educate the country on gay issues, and we must now educate America about the bias and discrimination facing our transgender brothers and sisters.
HRC working with transgender and community leaders is opting to work with members of Congress to educate them and to develop a new strategy for a fresh unified bill that will address the discrimination faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
In this way, we will have an opportunity to reposition the issues, and redouble our efforts to provide the extensive education that will be required to make progress. A dual track will not satisfy the hearts of those who have focused on ENDA only as a solution. Some will be angry, and we respect that anger. But, the reality of the current situation is clear: At this point, we cannot get where we need to through that one narrow tunnel.
This new bill approach may not feel as pure, or as noble, or as emotionally satisfying to some, but we believe that the broader path we are pursuing is the best course of action for our entire community. The simple truth is that this is not an ideal solution, but it is the best and brightest work of a group of idealists working within an imperfect system.
It will take time and hard work and we will have to bring our nation along slowly. But make no mistake, history is unfolding before us, faster than ever before, and we will not stop our pursuit of equality for all gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans until victory has been won. Who said this? And when? For those engaged in activism at that point the events of must seem maddeningly familiar.
In fact, these words are ever bit as appropriate today as they were four and a half years ago when they were written. She talks about how we're one community. Elizabeth Birch was demonized in the community for this. The difference between then and now is that at least Elizabeth tried to reach out to the community personally.
Elizabeth demonstrated at least a shred of respect for transgender leaders, and for the collective anger of the community. Current leadership has not. Other than that - the arguments are the same, the "cure" is the same, and the outcome seeming painfully familiar. There is an effort underway to engage transgender people to speak to Congress - targeting late January or early February.
The effort is being led by Barney Frank's office and they have reached out to someone they perceive as politically astute, pragmatic, and a "friend" to take that message forward. They have engaged Susan Stanton who has in turn contacted some on the very short list of people who Barney's office has identified as meeting 2 criteria: 1 they are well regarded in the trans community and 2 they have not been overly publicly critical of recent ENDA shenanigans.
Needless to say, it's a short list. I heard 5 names on that list - many of which most would probably recognize. It is not a diverse group. There were no FTM's. All are white, and come from professional backgrounds. All are relatively affluent, and live on the East side of the country. To be sure, all would be wonderful representatives.
Some have contacted me to get my thoughts on whether they should be involved or not, worried about how they'll be perceived in the community if they do, wanting to do the right thing. But the problem is that this group, as esteemed as it is, sends the wrong message.
Partly because it is hand picked by politicians who have demonstrated their own ignorance about us without any input from the community. And partly because many of the voices who should be talking are not being given consideration. Is this progress? I sure hope so. Somehow, though, it doesn't feel like it. We've come so far in recent years in some respects. In others, it's apparent we haven't moved much at all.
Then or now? The answer is "yes". Needless to say, this raised hackles in the GLBT community and rightly so. After repeated requests - no response. Shut out. Left standing on the outside looking in. It's maddening, frustrating, infuriating to be dismissed like that.
I sympathize with her. Somehow, I think we all know how she feels. It needs to become a priority for someone to fix these things, but since it's not on the radar can you spell agenda? I want to share just how deeply engrained into the fundamental laws of this country the prejudices of the past regarding transgender people are, why language is critical, and why it's important to change them.
There is a section in the Americans with Disabilities Act of that specifically deals with "Transvestites". Section reads:. A little farther down there is a section that outlines the definitions used in the Act:. Why is this important? Why should anyone care? First, a probably least important, is that it perpetuates the outdated and pejorative term "Transvestite". Second, does it strike anyone as curious that Homosexuality and Bisexuality are identified all by themselves in definition A , but "transvestism" and "transsexualism" are listed right along with pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, and "other sexual behavior disorders" in b 1?
Somebody made a conscious decision to do this at a time when we didn't have the visibility to stop it, and it continues the stigma that somehow all these things are related. I'm not advocating that transgender be considered a disability.
What I'm saying is that by including transgender with others identified as "sexual behavior disorders" it enables people to discriminate in other ways. It sends a message beyond this particular piece of legislation. Third, beyond the symbolic value of this, why should anyone care? Because in the Fair Housing Act , and in other applications ranging from employment law, to university housing, to any number of local ordinances, this wording is extracted and used verbatim. Some examples:.
The term for this is institutionalized discrimination. The deeper you look, the more you'll find. It's scary and it gets thrown back in our face time after time. Lastly, I think a key learning is that once you've passed legislation it's much, much, much harder to go back and change it. People move on to other things. It's not important. If ENDA gets passed without protection on the ground of Gender Identity does anyone really believe the cavalry will be coming over the hill to fix it?
It will stay broken - institutionalized discrimination - for a long time. That's why people should be so angry about current strategy. The scariest and most maddening thing is that our "leaders" will have allowed it to happen. I approached HRC lobbyists almost 2 years ago to try to get some kind of engagement internally so we could actively work to change the wording. The political landscape was such that opportunities to move the ball forward were few and far between, but highlighting this as a target so we could move when the opportunity presented itself was important.
At the very least, we need to move the transgender definitions to their own bullet-point similar to a homosexuality and bisexuality. I arranged 2 separate phone conversations on this topic with our lobbyists and political strategists, and we agreed that our best opportunity to change this would be when something was happening to amend the ADA. We agreed to keep our eyes open for potential opportunities. Fast forward to today. Does it surprise anyone to learn that there is, indeed, a bill to amend the ADA of currently in play in the Senate?
Right now. By updating some of the definitions. When was it last discussed? A month ago. Is there anything in it dealing with the definitions for "transvestism" and "transsexualism"? Of course not. Is anyone from any GLBT organization even aware? I seriously doubt it. When are leading GLBT political advocacy organizations going to go to bat on issues that are uniquely T-related?
When someone pushes them hard enough to. And where is NCTE on this? I cut them some slack because they've been over-stretched by ENDA in recent months and remain under-staffed, under-funded, and under-appreciated but I hope they make it priority 1 to develop an offensive game plan that get to the heart of many of these institutionalized problems. The sad reality for so many of these things is that until we can get to the bottom and fix them at their roots we're doomed to seeing them happen again and again - and flailing our arms and barking at the moon.
It has certainly been quite a year and I think it requires some time for honest reflection. I spent some of my time today writing my annual Christmas letter. I have had it half-written for a few days now but the inevitability of Christmas has finally pushed me to get it done.
It's quite the process and involves no small level of time and effort to write, reproduce, fold, address and mail. Anyway, the first batch went out tonight and the rest will be done by this time tomorrow. During my various errands this afternoon I stopped by Best Buy. It was surprisingly calm there which would concern me if I were a stock holder but thrilled me as a crazed last-minute shopper. I will share a recent epiphany: I have come to recognize that the most significant invention of recent years is not the iPod or the iPhone.
It's the gift card. I also stopped by the Apple Store for another of my One on One trainings. I have been trying to create the video from my drive across the country last month and have been having a problem I can't get past so I had two people there helping me today. We fixed it. I'm going to mention a couple of recent news stories here this evening. I'm not saying there's a cause and affect, but that's the thing that immediately came to mind as I read a news article from yesterday:. A man was arrested after allegedly beating a 7-year-old boy with a belt because the boy applied pink polish to his nails, according to Orange County, Fla.
Read the entire article - Dec. A transgender student at Southern Utah University is being told he must prove he is a male before housing officials will accommodate him. The school's policy requires that Kourt Osborn, 22, who two years ago initiated transgender treatment and has been living as a man, must either provide school officials proof he's undergone medical interventions or that he's been diagnosed with gender identity disorder, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday.
Read the entire article - United Press International - Dec. One of the things they discussed was the high expectations that the gay community had for real progress on its issues after the elections. Joe seems to feel that expectations were not managed appropriately. I share that because the show also includes an interview with openly gay Mass. Frankly, I don't think either Joe or Barney are in a position to provide anything more than opinion about "the movement" but that's neither here nor there.
The thing that's most important to hear is that Barney confirms something that many have been suspecting for a while now - that he expects to push a "sexual orientation" only version of ENDA again in He talks a little about the "ick" factor and how he feels that transgender people are facing that same "eeeew" reaction that gays and lesbians faced 35 years ago.
But when it comes to his legislative vision for the next couple of years I transcribed his comments and here's what he says:. It will be illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation anywhere in the country. A hate crimes law including protection for people who are transgender will have passed. And we will be, at that point, well on our way to try to extend this to people who are transgender and to getting rid of the ban of gays in the military. Barney Frank on "The Agenda" - Dec.
If they're already setting their sights low then what, exactly, have they learned? Expectations need to be set early so people are not confused by conflicting strategies, stories, commitments, and excuses. HRC will do whatever Barney tells them to do and if Barney has already made up his mind as his statement seems to indicate that he has then things will get bigger and badder the next time around.
This afternoon I went to have a pre-employment drug test and couldn't help but remember a similar experience shortly before I started to transition. I knew I didn't have anything to worry about in terms of drugs so that was no problem. Looking back on it, it wasn't an intellectual fear but a purely emotional one - as the moment of truth got closer the more worried I got about everything.
I am SO glad to be past those days. I've been reminded of times past by several things recently. I see that Dan Fogelberg died yesterday. He was only 56 years old, and I remember him from high school. In a way, his voice is one of the things that defined my teen years. I'm sure I could think of other if I set my mind to it but there are artists who define times of our lives and those are some of mine.
Their passing does not go unnoticed. Talk about the passing of time - they just reunited for a concert in the UK and there's all kinds of talk about the possibility of a tour. They harmonize well together. The Buffalo Bills game in Cleveland yesterday was one of those winter games that seems to happen once every 5 or ten years see photos here. It was played in a driving snowstorm that made it almost impossible to see the field, much less play a professional football game on it, and these kinds of things are becoming more and more rare as traditionally cold-weather winter cities build domed stadiums.
The words "lake effect" are enough to send chills down the spine of anyone from Cleveland, Buffalo, Rochester, or Syracuse. Sunday afternoon's storm made me smile, even though the outcome of the game was disappointing. I had lunch with my son today. My ex- wants a nice photo of him which is problematic because a he hates having his picture taken and b makes goofy faces as a result. I brought my good camera with me so after lunch we went outside, found a shady spot, and I took a bunch of pictures figuring that at least ONE of them would be acceptable to the powers that be.
I was right. There are a couple of really great ones. Speaking of photography one of the things I'm hoping to do over the next few weeks is to spend some time with my photos from this past year: Glacier National Park, Autumn in Rochester, various other things.
I'm going to find a way to sell some of them - not so much to make money any money I make would just go into more lenses, cameras, or gadgets anyways but to realize a dream of taking photographs that others would like enough to actually want to own. As these next couple of weeks come and go to close I'll be sifting through things, seeking closure in some areas, and making decisions about One big event on the horizon is to finally finish paying my ex-wife the court-mandated monthly support; anything I can do to make that happen sooner than planned is good in my book.
That single thing impacts so much in my world that finally getting past it is almost unimaginable. Career stuff? Community stuff? Relationship stuff? Health stuff? General life stuff? All will be on my mind in coming weeks and months and I expect my writings to reflect the introspection that these considerations require. It doesn't "feel" like the Holidays in the typical sense. I see that the Northeast has gotten slapped with freezing rain, ice, and now a mountain of snow over the last week.
I know there are those who enjoy the winter weather as a part of the Holiday "package" - romantic notions of a White Christmas are a big deal. I do not count myself among them and, if anything, seeing what this storm has done to travel and airports simply reinforces my plan to avoid airports and crowds over the Holidays wherever possible. It's not a Bah-Humbug so much as a need to close our the year with some level of calm.
That number seems high to me. What I will say is that many of the people in my neighborhood take their Holiday decorating very seriously so those numbers probably hold true here. One house has a life sized manger in front. Another has a blow-up snow globe on the front walkway and another has a blow-up gigantic Scooby-doo with a Santa hat on the roof. By day it's just a pile of cloth on the roof but sometime around dusk they turn on the generator and it's transformed to a cartoon animal.
It's too funny. I live my Holidays vicariously through others. Last Thursday I went over to a friend's house to enjoy her tree and holiday decorations. And, the single biggest indicator for me of the Holidays isn't the weather, it's the parties.
Meltzer has his annual Holiday party on Saturday night, and last night a group of us including some out of town friends, Dr. Becky and Margaux, and some other local folk got together for a very pleasant dinner. This was truly a weekend of balance. I went for good, long runs both days and I indulged on Holiday sweets. I watched some football yesterday afternoon and got a make-over yesterday evening. I spent time at the mall crazy and time at home catching up on cleaning, paying bills, and starting my Christmas cards.
It was a very pleasant weekend. I'm including a few pics from the various weekend festivities here. In the photos from last night bottom row you'll notice more dramatic than usual eyes - I stopped by the MAC store to exchange some of my empties they have a program where you can trade in 6 empty containers for free stuff and since it wasn't too busy they did an eye make-over.
Those things are too fun and I couldn't help but think back to the days when the thought of being able to walk into a store, sit in a makeup chair, and do that kind of thing was something I could only dream about. I hope I never lose my appreciation or my sense of enjoyment from those simple things.
She was in Austin on Saturday and is headed across the state for the rest of the week. Here's the schedule - If you live in Texas and can get a chance to see her it's well worth your time. Please say 'hi' for me:. A story picked up by several major news outlets last week dealt with the fact that several Guitanamo Bay military folks were unleashing their own propaganda campaign to improve their image and to spread rumors about Cuba leader Fidel Castro.
Evidence of these efforts was collected and shared by the Wiki people last week see it here to the dismay of President Bush who indicates that they were only doing their job. The reason this news is appropriate here is because one of the assertions made against Mr. Castro is that he is oh, horror!
Where do they come up with this stuff? I started re-building the TransEducate. I suppose the inner geek in me really enjoys opportunities to get creative and technical both at the same time. I went to a One-on-One training at the Apple store this morning at the ridiculously early hour of 7am to learn how to use iWeb and spent a good part of the day trying to put the specific skillset that I had learned into practice before I forgot it.
The website only contains a half dozen photos at this point and is generally built. I need to find a way to actually publish it somewhere so Jamison and I can look it over and tweak it before uploading the end result to our site. All in all, I had a blast and I've still got lots to learn. I almost can't wait to get back at it tomorrow!
Speaking of Jamison, there was a long article in the Bay Area Reporter this morning:. Two transgender business leaders once involved with the Human Rights Campaign have taken matters into their own hands and launched their own employment education project. The move comes in response to HRC's decision to back a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that does not include protections for gender identity.
Rose had previously resigned from HRC's board of directors, but had remained on the business council until her recent resignation Read the entire article - Bay Area Reporter, Dec. There's a paragraph of quotes by Dana Beyers, a friend who remains the only trans-person engaged in any role of leadership at HRC she's on the Board of Governors :. I hope that this whole ENDA experience will encourage more trans people to come out and get involved however difficult it may be.
Try as I might, I don't believe any of that. I don't believe this has made us stronger, or will do so in the near future. It's not that I don't see any good that has come from the political mess but the idealist in me has seen too much to be able to believe that this will make us stronger.
If anything, it will encourage more of us NOT to come out and get involved. I got an email from a dear friend today who confided that the entire ENDA debacle is making her re-think her advocacy efforts. I'm pulling back in some significant ways, too. I'm hearing from others around the country with similar outlooks.
I don't see what in the entire miserable ENDA experience would encourage anyone to do anything, especially when it comes to national politics. The ramifications are far reaching and truly tragic. Speaking of tragic, something happened to me this evening that has never happened to me before. My car got towed. I was invited to Happy Hour in Tempe so I drove there, parked, found my small group of friends, and spent only 45 minutes or so inside before we all had to leave for various reasons.
I got back to where I parked my car and it was gone. I looked on the wall and there was a small sign, a couple of parking spots down, indicating that this was Private Parking and that cars parked there without a permit would be towed. What a hassle. See below. I swear - there's some business arrangement between the towing company and the people who own those parking spots.
As I stood there wondering where my car was another tow truck drove up and I asked the driver if he had taken my car. He said probably not, but that there were 8 trucks and they were going back and forth all night long. I won't be going back to Tempe anytime soon - that's for sure. Speaking of photos, I've been getting some nice ones from the Snowball events in Seattle last Friday. Finally, some informal shots that I can like He has made arrangements to meet up with friends on his actual birthday and has work most evenings between now and then so I'm thankful we could find the time to meet up.
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