Reblogging a poignant outcry of pain

image-0022This is a reblog of a post I ran across today…

please, please read this thoughtfully, slowly, and really let the dilemma sink in.

It is so well put, and has so much pain and agony in it.

My dear cis friends, you really don’t know how it feels…how could you, as you have never had to even be in such a state.  None of us expect you to know, but we would humbly ask that you would at least let yourself feel it, via our cries for help.

***********************************************************************

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

I shouldn’t let the things I face destroy me.

Previously I described how my life has reshaped forever by my transition, how my privilege has been altered and how being transgender has very much changed how the world responds to me. Nothing in my life has remained the same, and while there have been many positive things, there was a lot that has left me scared, fearing for my life and often unable to leave my flat.

These fears have taken over my life and given me debilitating social anxiety. They have convinced me that I can’t be safe, to hide away and deny myself. They have convinced me I can never be the person I know I am, that I will only ever be a fraud or at best a poor imitation.

I am sick of this. I don’t want to feel ashamed anymore.

I don’t want to feel anxious that every time I leave my flat, consumed by the fear I won’t be coming back.
I don’t want depression and dysphoria triggered by the words and attacks of people to twist who I am.

My life should not be constantly pulled downwards by bigots and idiots.
My life shouldn’t be in their hands.
My life, my gender identity, my sexuality, who I am, is mine, and mine alone.
No-one has the right to tell me anything about any part of it.

I live my life with a constant barrage of how I am doing it wrong.
I am told by people on the street I am a ‘tranny’ or a ‘bloke in a dress’.
I am told by doctors I need to be more feminine and obey the rules.
I am told by other trans women I am too feminine and portray a stereotype of women.
I am told I shouldn’t ignore being trans…
…because it’s selfish to not be a 24/7 educator and activist.
I am told by people of my faith I will spend eternity in damnation…
…because I am homosexual.
I am told by straight cis people I am ‘too sensitive’…
…because I find the expression ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘tranny’ jokes offensive.
I am told by some other lesbians I can never be a lesbian…
…because I was assigned male at birth.

Worst of all the world treats me as less because I am a woman.

This is my life, a life of constantly being told I am wrong, having to treasure the very few people who tell me I am right. I am attack (sic) and abused, dehumanised and denied my own agency. I refuse to accept it anymore. The negativity I face with alarming consistency has driven me to the point of wanting to end my life and I still frequently feel like this is the only way out.

Why should I have to face all this merely because I am trying to be a genuine person and not hide behind the facade I created for years? I endured for years living in a gender role I knew wasn’t mine, facing a puberty that twisted my body into a form I couldn’t cope with and led to a depression that has limited my life. Now that I have finally accepted who I am and am trying to be a real person, people want me back in that cage.

I am a person and I refuse to be treated as less than that because some people disagree with the life I lead. Am I meant to just accept this, be timid and scared because I am in a minority? No, I won’t accept that I should be seen as a non-human and worthy of ridicule. I need to take back the power I have had taken from me and regain myself as a complete person.

I can do this because I have been made stronger by the challenges I have faced. As any LGBT person knows coming out is one of the most traumatic things you can do in your life, telling the world in most emphatic terms “I am not straight” or “I am not cis”. Essentially in the hetero and cis-normative society we live in you may as well be screaming “I am not normal”.

You don’t know if the person you tell will accept you, shun you, or worst of all, hurt you for trying to be who you are. No cis straight person will ever know this terror and understand that once that genie is out of the bottle there is no turning back, your life is altered forever. All you can hope is that it’s for the best.

I came out this year to a few at first, then to a lot, then to everyone in one massive go, then finally and the most scary, to my family. This was traumatic, but for me I was lucky it all went well.

What I didn’t know then was the trauma that would follow.

I’ve had the fear of coming out to doctors and having to deal with an often belligerent medical profession. Self administering hormones with no idea if they were damaging my liver and kidneys, or possibly going to kill me. Going full time in my gender identity while still looking like my old one. Abuse from random strangers. Constant misgendering. Actual attacks in the street. Difficulties with getting my hormones prescribed and being told I have to unnecessarily wait 2 years for a surgery that would drastically improve my life.

These are just a tiny example of how much my life has been ruled by fear for most of this year. These things have debilitated me, exacerbated my depression to insane lows and driven me to become so social anxious it can take me hours to be able to leave my flat. When I do leave I constantly worry whether I’ll ever come back or become one of the nameless statistics, another murdered or raped trans woman no-one cares about.

Now this is enough to make anyone break, and I have come so close so many times, but my transition has brought so much beauty and wonder into my life I refuse to let the fear take it away. I have met people I honestly love with all of my heart and soul for being wonderful and helping me through some of darkest times of my life. The simple ability to be who I really am is liberating beyond words.

This is a feeling few people will ever get to experience, to not only open the closet door but to burst out of it and just keep running. I have been liberated from a life that was nothing but vague images and dark shadows blurring past me. I have an identity that is mine and is only for me, not the shell I created for the people around me. This is why I won’t let the bigotry, the transphobia, homophobia and misogyny destroy me and crush the life I have only just got to start living.

People tell me I am strong, I am brave, but I don’t feel these things. I am really scared, timid and shy. I struggle to cope with what the world throws at me on a daily basis. Despite this I need to carry on, the other alternative is not good, and I’ve already been there before and it is not an option again, not now that I am finally able to live as who I am and be a complete person. I know there is still plenty of struggles ahead, the road won’t be smooth for me, but they are all a bit easier for knowing that I don’t have to hide any more.

I finally get to go over the rainbow, see the blue skies, and really have my dreams come true.

Posted by  at 21:12

Coy Mathis: One Child’s Fight To Change Gender

Coy Mathis: One Child’s Fight To Change Gender

rollingstonelogo  |  Posted: 10/28/2013 9:58 am EDT

Share on Google+
Coy Mathis
395
77

The following article is provided by Rolling Stone.

By Sabrina Rubin Erdely

When Coy Mathis was a year and a half old, he loved nothing more than playing dress-up. He didn’t show much interest in the fireman costume or the knight outfit, but would rummage through the toy box to grab the princess dress with the flowery headpiece. His mother, Kathryn, would text photos to her husband of their plump-cheeked blond boy twirling in a pair of pink-and-purple butterfly wings or wearing a frilly tutu.

LINK: How 16 Rockers Came out of the Closet

Cute, Jeremy Mathis would text back. A former Marine who was attending college in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Jeremy agreed with his wife that Coy’s fascination with all things sparkly, ruffly and pink was the harmless play of a toddler whose mind was yet untouched by social constructs of “masculine” and “feminine.” Coy was one of four siblings – a triplet with a same-age sister and brother, plus an older sister – and so was surrounded by both “girl” and “boy” toys, inside their cramped split-level house, where the living room was covered by a patina of puzzle pieces and stray Legos. Kathryn and Jeremy figured it was just a matter of time before Coy sorted it out for himself.

LINK: The Secret Life of Transgender Rocker Tom Gabel

As Coy hit the terrible twos, though, his preference for all things girly became more insistent. He refused to eat unless his food was served on a pink plate, with pink utensils. He rejected the Matchbox cars and Iron Man figurines his parents gave him for Christmas, telling his brother, Max, “This is for you.” And at every opportunity Coy would wriggle out of his jeans and T-shirts and reappear in his sister’s dress or, when he could get his hands on it, her Dora the Explorer bathing suit. His parents made concessions to pacify Coy, including letting him remain dressed in girl clothes, but only in the privacy of their home. Living, as the Mathises did, close to five military installations, as well as near the headquarters of the far-right evangelical advocacy group Focus on the Family – and not far from New Life, the 10,000-member megachurch founded by Ted Haggard – Kathryn and Jeremy figured their conservative neighbors might not see Coy’s playful cross-dressing as benignly as they did.

LINK: One Town’s War on Gay Teens

“It’s a phase,” the Mathises reassured each other. Kathryn, however, wondered if it could be something more. She’d noticed the way Coy brightened whenever he put on a dress or a fairy costume. She wondered whether their toddler might be gay. The notion sat fine with her: The Mathises were recent transplants from Austin and considered themselves progressive and open-minded; Kathryn herself had a gay sister. But she told no one of her suspicion about Coy – it felt creepily premature to speculate about the sexuality of a kid still in diapers.

LINK: Sexting, Shame, and Suicide

Then one night in January 2010, Kathryn was tucking him in for bed under his pink quilt, and Coy, then three, seemed upset. “What’s wrong?” she asked. Coy, his head resting against his kitty-cat-print pillow, hugged his pink stuffed pony with the glittery mane that he’d gotten for Christmas and said nothing, his mouth bent in a tight frown. “Tell me,” Kathryn urged. Coy’s chin began to quiver.

LINK: Ready for the Fight: Rolling Stone’s Interview with Barack Obama

“When am I going to get my girl parts?” he asked softly.

“What do you mean?”

“When are we going to go to the doctor to have me fixed?” Coy asked, tears now spilling down his cheeks. “To get my girl parts?” That’s when it dawned on Kathryn Mathis, with a sinking feeling, that she and Jeremy were dealing with a different issue altogether.

Thus began the journey that would lead the Mathis family to perform a radical social experiment, put them on a collision course with their local school district in Focus on the Family’s backyard and transform Coy Mathis into the transgender movement’s youngest icon – setting the stage for a showdown in the very capital of the American religious right.

Building upon the gains of LGB activists, the trans-rights movement is having its moment, advancing more swiftly than even its advocates ever imagined. This past May, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was updated to replace its old classification for trans people, “gender identity disorder,” with “gender dysphoria,” reflecting the new understanding that having a gender identity that doesn’t match your birth anatomy doesn’t make you mentally ill; only any associated distress is considered a problem. The diagnostic change was greeted within the tiny trans community – gender dysphoria is thought to affect as many as one in 10,000 people – as momentous a turning point as the DSM’s 1973 declassification of homosexuality had been for gays. The increasing acceptance also sparked a new awareness of how early in life some people begin to realize they may have been born in the wrong bodies.

“One kid in my practice tried to cut off their penis with a pair of scissors at five,” says pediatrician Johanna Olson, who is the director of the country’s largest clinic for gender-nonconforming kids, the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “It happens more often than you might think.”

If the trans movement is the LGBT’s final frontier, then transgender youth represents its farthest outpost. Kids are coming out as trans earlier than ever: A survey of the San Francisco school district found that 1.6 percent of high school students and, incredibly, one percent of middle-school students identified as transgender. Children are packing the few U.S. clinics like Olson’s, which are at the forefront of a new therapeutic approach, in which children may live as their preferred gender, complete with appropriate clothing, pronouns and often a new name. This so-called affirmative model has found an increasingly warm reception among the worried parents of trans children. And so while most doctors still consider this “social transition” for kids under the age of 10 to be controversial, already these intrepid young pioneers have begun venturing out into the world – including, in rare cases, female-to-male trans kids who undergo “top surgery” as early as age 13.

As such, the trans-rights movement has speedily moved to a brand-new battleground: public schools. Although 623 American colleges and universities have already adopted nondiscrimination policies to cover gender expression, high schools and middle schools are being forced to grapple with the question of how to deal with trans students in their locker rooms, athletic fields and bathrooms. It’s a haphazard fight raging at district, county and state levels; thus far, 2013 has been what appears to be a watershed year. This past winter, educators in Massachusetts, Maine and Portland, Oregon, issued guidelines to accommodate trans students, allowing them to use bathrooms and play on sports teams corresponding to the gender with which they identify. But in August, California trumped them all by becoming the first state to pass legislation spelling out that transgender students can choose which bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams they wish, based on their gender identity.

The national headlines have inspired debate over whether this is a laudable move to recognize the needs of trans kids – or a wrongheaded manifestation of overindulgent parenting. After all, what does a child really know about authentic identity, or about what’s best for them? However, any reasonable discussion on the subject has been drowned out by conservative Republicans, who have staked out a position that is reflexively anti-trans. “Is that not the craziest thing you’ve ever heard?” Mike Huckabee asked at October’s right-wing Values Voter Summit, speaking of California’s anti-discrimination-schools law; California Republicans have already targeted its repeal as a top priority. Earlier this year, House Republicans tried to strip the Violence Against Women Act of its protections for transgender women, and Arizona state Rep. John Kavanagh introduced a bill that would have made it a crime for trans people to use their preferred bathrooms. Fox News commentators vehemently oppose any accommodation of trans kids in schools, something Bill O’Reilly calls “anarchy and madness.”

Perhaps no one is more outraged, however, than the religious right, of which Focus on the Family reigns as a dominant force. On Focus’ 81-acre Colorado Springs campus, some 600 employees put a chunk of their $90 million annual budget to work creating LGBT intolerance on every front, including fighting “safe-school” anti-bullying initiatives and pushing reparative therapy. Leading Focus’ charge to push people back into the closet is its “gender-issues analyst” Jeff Johnston, himself a proud “ex-gay” – now a married father of three boys – who blames what he calls the “sexual brokenness” of LGBT people on a combination of poor parenting, molestation and original sin. In his newsletters for Focus, Johnston treats trans people in particular with amused pity. “Male and female are categories of existence,” he wrote this year. “It is dehumanizing to categorize individuals by the ever-proliferating alphabet of identities based on sexual attractions or behavior or ‘gender identity’ – LGBBTTQQIAAFPPBDSM – however many letters are added. No. We stand with the truth.”

And yet despite all the opposition, the movement toward early transition continues forward, driven largely by a school of thought within the medical community based around the idea of harm prevention. Indeed, studies show that the threat to transgender people is very real: One study showed more than half report being bullied in school; 61 percent are physically assaulted; 64 percent are sexually assaulted. Trans people have sky-high rates of unemployment, homelessness, substance abuse and suicide: Forty-one percent of transgender people attempt suicide, with trans teenagers the highest at-risk group. Given those staggering odds, many clinicians are anxious to try something – anything – that might mitigate that harm.

“Kids that are supported from early childhood look very different from kids that come in here at 18,” Olson says of her practice of 250 children and young adults. “The kids who come in at 18, 19, 20 are highly traumatized.” How differently would they have turned out, she wonders, if instead of enduring years of conflict and rejection, they’d been met with support?

At three and a half, Coy turned sullen. He’d spend days on the couch, wrapped in the fuzzy pink security blanket he’d commandeered from his sister. He didn’t want to play, or talk. He especially didn’t want to go outside; any enthusiasm Coy might show for a trip to the playground would disappear as soon as he’d catch sight of the boys’ clothes he was expected to swap for the dresses he wore at home. The only thing Coy hated more was the prospect of getting a haircut; the last time his parents had suggested it, Coy had taken to his bed for days, listless and tearful.

“It was like what you see on commercials for severely depressed people,” remembers Kathryn, a slender woman of 27. Her career as a photographer took a back seat to motherhood after the couple’s assisted efforts to have a second child had yielded unexpected triplets. Little by little, Kathryn began letting Coy leave home dressed in a pink shirt – anything to pry him from the house with minimal fuss – and soon enough, with pink sneakers to match. Jeremy drew the line at letting Coy wear colorful hair clips outdoors. “I was trying to avoid a negative experience,” recalls Jeremy, who is even-tempered and stocky with rimless glasses. “Someone going, ‘Why are you dressing your son up as a girl?'”

On her online parenting message boards, Kathryn asked for advice. A transgender parent volunteered that Coy’s behavior sounded awfully familiar. “I knew when I was two or three,” he wrote, a line that resonated with Kathryn. She thought about the fact that Coy hadn’t wanted to be seen naked since age two, oddly modest while his siblings pranced around oblivious to their own nudity. She thought about the disappointment on Coy’s face when he asked her, “I’m a girl – why are you calling me ‘he’?”

Kathryn broached the subject with her husband. “Coy is saying, ‘I don’t want to have a beard.’ Maybe he’s – transgender or something?” she asked, testing the word.

“Yeah,” Jeremy considered. “Probably.” It made so much sense that they barely discussed it further – and yet the implications felt so huge that for a moment Jeremy was overwhelmed. Their household was already bursting with complications. Jeremy had bounced around jobs after his military stint had been cut short: He’d been discharged from the Marines not long after basic training for a hip injury severe enough that when he’d tried to re-enlist after 9/11, they wouldn’t take him. Two of their children were special-needs: Their oldest, six-year-old Dakota, was autistic, and one of the triplets, Lily, had been left severely brain-damaged by a bout of viral meningitis as an infant. The Mathises had also just had another baby, a girl named Auri – their fifth child. Taken in perspective, Coy’s gender confusion was hardly their most urgent family matter. The Mathises resolved to deal with it the way they dealt with everything: by staying calm, tackling one crisis at a time, and keeping an open mind.

At Coy’s wellness visit with his pediatrician, the Mathises lightly brought up his gender issues. Not long ago, the dogma on how to treat such children was to urge them toward conformity – a treatment model paralleling the now-discredited “reparative therapy” aimed at “curing” homosexuals. The American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have rejected the forced-conformity approach for gender-dysphoric patients, saying that not only are such efforts doomed to fail but that, says the American Psychoanalytic Association, they “often result in substantial psychological pain.”

But despite having jettisoned the old model, few health professionals are comfortable urging parents to let their preschooler pose as a different gender. There is not yet a standard screening model to separate the small percentage of truly trans kids from the merely gender-variant (though studies suggest that extreme dysphoria in early childhood can be a predictor of transgenderism). But gender nonconformity doesn’t necessarily mean that the kid will turn out transgender: A 2012 Harvard School of Public Health study found that 85 percent of children who expressed some form of gender nonconformity actually grew up to not be LGB or T, but straight.

Lacking hard data and facing so much uncertainty, practitioners are eagerly awaiting an American Psychological Association committee’s expected release of guidelines in 2014. In the meantime, clinicians refer to the standards of care set by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, which advocates the cautious but loving approach that Coy’s pediatrician suggested, known as “wait and see.” The Mathises were told to hold off on decision-making and to simply express support for Coy and his choices, follow his lead and see where it might take them.

The next time Coy begged to wear barrettes in his shaggy hair while they ran errands together, Jeremy cringed but relented. At the store, an older woman looked at father and son for a long moment, then approached. Jeremy braced himself.

“You have a pretty baby girl,” the woman cooed.

Jeremy blinked. “Thanks!” he practically shouted with relief. He looked down at Coy, who beamed with pride.

For the next year and a half, while his parents indulged his desires, Coy returned to the happy, playful child he’d once been, smiling as he romped around the backyard with a giant Minnie Mouse-style hair bow atop his head. They let him wear whatever frilly thing he wanted, gave him a Barbie, honored his wish to paint his bedroom pink and, although they continued calling him “he,” Coy seemed satisfied. His parents were thrilled. In 2011 they signed Coy up for half-day kindergarten right on schedule at the local public school, Eagleside Elementary, a sprawling building of tan-and-maroon brick, with the bland, spare look of an office park. On Coy’s registration form, under “gender,” they checked “boy.”

“I don’t wanna wear this!” Coy would protest of the boys’ pink polo shirts his parents had thought a fair compromise; sending their boy to kindergarten dressed in girls’ clothing was out of the question. “You can wear whatever you want when you’re not in school,” they told him, in voices patient but firm. “But these are appropriate clothes for school.” Coy was miserable. In class he was anxious, tearful, unable to focus and made few friends. At the end of each three-hour day he’d trudge out of school crying because some classmate had referred to him as a boy. The moment Coy got home, he’d strip off his clothes as though they were suffocating him, right down to the pink underwear his parents let him wear as a consolation, and put on a dress to relax.

One day in mid-November, Coy’s kindergarten teacher pulled Jeremy aside at pickup time to say there’d been an incident: That morning, they’d divided the kindergartners into two lines, boys and girls – and Coy had lined up with the girls. “You’re a boy,” the teacher had corrected. Coy had sobbed for the rest of the day.

At home afterward, Coy remained inconsolable. “Even my teacher doesn’t know I’m a girl!” he wailed, retreating to his bedroom to curl up with his pink blankie.

Something needed to be done; Kathryn and Jeremy recognized they couldn’t continue onward like this. The “wait and see” approach had made sense in theory. But as Coy got older, they began to realize there was no middle ground. When it came to gender, they would have to choose one or the other, pink or blue. It also struck them that, by allowing Coy to be a girl at home and forcing him to be a boy at school, they had effectively helped their child to carve out a closeted double life. “We were thinking, ‘If we give you a safe space to be who you are, that’s our way of being supportive,'” recalls Kathryn. “But we were really sending the opposite message: It’s not safe, but we’ll give you a place to hide.” They were ready for a new approach. Coy had long since made his choice; it was time to fall into line behind him. “This whole wishy-washy ‘What are we doing?’ That was done,” says Jeremy.

With the help of the support group TransYouth Family Allies, the Mathises met with a psychologist in Boulder, Colorado, who noted that Coy met the criteria for gender dysphoria: He insisted he was the opposite gender; he was persistent about it over a protracted time period; and the incongruity was causing him distress. Now that Coy had an official diagnosis, their next step was clear. And so it was that, in December 2011, Coy showed up for kindergarten in a rainbow dress and pink leggings, chin-length blond hair held back with barrettes, and a baby-toothed smile – no longer a “he” but a “she.”

With the wattage on her personality dialed back up, Coy Mathis proved a popular little girl. At recess she and the other kindergarten girls played Mommies with their baby dolls, and at pickup time her friends would call out her name and wave elaborate goodbyes. There had been some questions at first. “I thought you were a boy,” some children asked her. “No, I’m a girl,” Coy answered, which satisfied most kids; they appeared to accept the gender switch as normal. Only one kid, a girl, seemed perturbed. “You’re not a girl – you’re a boy!” she’d insist day after day, upsetting Coy so much that Kathryn finally asked the teacher to move the other child’s seat to a different part of the classroom.

Reactions among the kindergarten parents were harder to gauge. No one said anything rude, but Jeremy and Kathryn noticed that fewer parents engaged them in small talk and some gave them a wide berth. Kathryn was heartened by the handful of people who approached asking how they might explain Coy’s situation to their own five-year-olds. The bluntness of her answer may have taken them aback: “The best way to explain it is, no bodies are the same. Some girls have penises and some boys have vulvas.” She was politely thanked for her advice.

Surely, the community’s mostly gracious reaction had much to do with the tone set by Eagleside Elementary’s administration, whose support had surprised the Mathises. When, after their visit to the psychologist, Kathryn had e-mailed Eagleside asking for a meeting “regarding Coy and the whole boy-girl thing,” she and Jeremy had been unsure of what sort of reception they’d get. After all, one of the town’s chief exports was the vociferous opposition to any laws favoring gay or transgender rights. When, in 2008, a proposal had passed in the Colorado legislature to expand the state’s anti-discrimination law to protect people based on sexual orientation, including trans people, Focus on the Family had lobbied for its veto, warning that the law would expose women and children to dangerous perverts who would now freely lurk in public restrooms. Throughout the state, Focus ran a radio scare ad titled “Predator,” which specifically cited the threat of trans people in schools. “If the Colorado legislature has its way, we could all be dealing with a new type of predator,” warned the announcer. “And instead of our kids worrying about class work, they’ll be worrying about who might be in the restroom with them.”

The proposal had passed anyway, making Colorado one of 17 states that now prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender expression. Kathryn and Jeremy discovered the law’s existence while doing research in preparation for their sit-down with Eagleside administrators and, on the day of the meeting, had arrived armed with a printout of the particulars. They’d been pleased to discover that the four staffers, including the school principal, had shown up with a copy of the state law too.

“They asked what they could do to help,” remembers Kathryn. “The school psychologist was just giddy.” As a result, Coy’s transition had gone so smoothly that by the end of kindergarten and into first grade, she was thriving: happy, succeeding in school and coming home with her backpack full of birthday-party invitations.

So the Mathises were unprepared when, one night in December 2012, they got a call at home from Principal Jason Crow. “Hey,” he said casually, “we have to have a meeting soon about Coy.” He informed them that Coy would no longer be permitted to use the girls’ bathroom. Kathryn and Jeremy were stunned. “I started ranting and raving,” Kathryn says, “and then I went into action. I looked up the law to make sure nothing had changed, and it hadn’t.” The school had never reported any problems with Coy’s gender status before; the Mathises couldn’t imagine what had triggered the sudden policy switch.

But unbeknownst to the Mathises, a debate had been brewing for months. Unlike kindergartners, who had a gender-neutral bathroom in their classroom, first-graders used the boys’ and girls’ bathrooms down the hall. Some parents were already touchy about Coy; one mom had complained to Crow about her “moral issues” with Coy’s upbringing – how would they react to Coy using the girls’ room? As later explained in legal documents, the superintendent of the Fountain-Fort Carson school district was concerned about the precedent Coy’s access to the girls’ bathroom would set.

“The district also had to take into consideration that this would not be an isolated request, and that it was probable that it would be faced with one or more requests in the future,” the superintendent wrote. “And perhaps by a student much older and more physically mature than Coy.” The terrifying prospect of this hypothetical older, maturer student was key to their analysis. As attorney William Kelly Dude would write in the accompanying position paper, while perhaps it seemed acceptable for a harmless six-year-old like Coy to enter the girls’ room, he vividly described what a future infiltrator could look like: “a male high school student with a lower voice, chest hair and with more physically mature sex organs who claims to be transgender and demands to use the girls’ restroom” – a menacing portrait of an impostor that echoed the threat of Focus on the Family’s “Predator” ad. That hairy deviant would soon be Coy herself, as Dude would write the Mathises: “As Coy grows older and his male genitals develop . . . at least some parents and students are likely to become uncomfortable with his continued use of the girls’ restroom.” The decision had come down swiftly: For the protection of the district as a whole, Coy was to be banned from the girls’ restroom.

“You know this is against the law, right?” Kathryn demanded of Principal Crow in his office a couple of days after his phone call. This wasn’t just about finding Coy a toilet. It was about the larger message Coy would be forced to internalize every time she had to relieve herself: that she was abnormal, that there was something so grotesque or unsafe about her that her very presence in a place as delicate as a bathroom was intolerable. And Coy wouldn’t be the only one digesting that attitude; so, too, would her peers.

“There’s nothing I can do,” Crow, a tall, soft-spoken man with dark, slicked-back hair, told Kathryn. “My hands are tied.”

“Then the kids aren’t coming back to school,” Kathryn snapped, storming out of his office. The Mathises were bewildered to realize that the protections they’d thought Coy had by law didn’t seem to protect her at all in reality – and they worried about what that gap might mean for the rest of Coy’s life. “If we just back down, then it’s going to be a fight again in middle school, and in high school, and again in college,” Kathryn says. “But if we can get the big fight over with to make sure these places know they have to follow the law, then maybe we won’t have to do it forever.”

The Mathises filed a discrimination complaint with the Colorado Division of Civil Rights. They withdrew Coy and her siblings from school, explaining to the kids that the school wasn’t being very nice right now and that Mommy was going to be their teacher for a while. Coy understood. “The school is being mean to me,” she said. “They’re telling me I’m a boy when I’m really a girl.” With that, the Mathises were ready to take the next affirmative step.

On a banquette in the lobby of the Hampton Inn in Philadelphia, on the eve of the Trans-Health Conference, the moms are drinking wine. “My mother says, ‘What does she want for Christmas?'” says Kristine Janovitz, speaking of her 12-year-old trans daughter. “I said, ‘A vagina!'”

Everyone around the table roars with appreciative laughter, including Kathryn Mathis, who looks shyly down at the table. Kathryn could never be so open with her own conservative, religious Texan family, with whom she’d had an arms-length relationship anyway. Though she’s sure some of her family objects to Coy’s living as a girl, they know better than to articulate their disapproval because, says Kathryn, “if they were to be outspoken about their problems with Coy, they would be cut off.” Perhaps with that in mind, both Kathryn’s and Jeremy’s families responded quite well upon being told that Coy would be raised as a girl. “Well, I figured,” Jeremy’s father had remarked dryly, “’cause he’s wearing a dress in all the pictures on Facebook.”

Absent much family support, the Mathises have built a new community for themselves by connecting online with other parents of trans kids. Their efforts have been made easier by the fact that their discrimination complaint made Coy an overnight LGBT luminary, her story splashed in the pages of The New York Times and on Katie Couric’s show. Over the past few months, Coy has stayed up well past her bedtime to appear at the red-carpet GLAAD awards and at a trans-rights fundraiser, events where strangers flocked to the Mathises to thank them, and share their own stories of discrimination. Jeremy has been so horrified to learn about the difficulties trans people routinely face – in the workforce, getting health insurance, in the housing market, and don’t even get him started on incarcerated trans people – that he is about to begin law school, determined to become a civil rights lawyer. For Kathryn and Jeremy, their swift rebirth into champions of an underdog cause has imbued their lives with a new sense of forward motion. Thus, in a short time period, necessity and now passion have turned the Mathises into a couple invested enough in trans issues to have packed all five kids into their enormous wheelchair-accessible van for the two-and-a-half-day drive here to the annual Trans-Health Conference, on what amounts to their first family vacation.

As the hotel fills with families checking in, the lobby takes on the gushy feel of a reunion, with parents whooping as they greet one another and proudly introduce their kids, who are running everywhere. “I have three girls: two biological, one trans,” one mom says to another by way of introduction. The most striking thing about the crowd is their ordinariness: just a bunch of earnest suburban moms and dads, accompanied by young children still so androgynous-looking that the trans kids are indistinguishable from their non-trans siblings.

Coy races by, shrieking with glee while getting a piggyback ride from an older kid. This evening Coy is wearing a mint-green dress with a butterfly print, pink leggings and pink patent-leather shoes, her baby-fine golden wavy hair pinned back with two sparkly flower barrettes. As she shows off by carefully balancing a dime on the tip of her dainty ballet flat – “Look what I can do!” she squeals, then wrinkles her brow to better concentrate on lifting her pointed toe an inch higher – it seems impossible to imagine that she is anything but a girl.

But with older trans kids tearing about the conference, the Mathises get a glimpse of how puberty will change everything for Coy, and that’s a major reason why they are here in Philadelphia: for the camaraderie, yes, and for present-day guidance, but mostly to start amassing information on what Coy’s future might hold.

The prevailing train of thought from the affirmative camp goes like so: If these kids are truly trans, why should they endure the horrific transformation of developing the “wrong” adolescent body in puberty – a trans girl with an Adam’s apple and a low voice; a trans boy coping with breasts and a monthly period – with all the wrenching emotional consequences, only to have to medically undo those changes later in life, with less-than-ideal results? Rather, a few clinics have adopted a series of medical interventions to delay puberty and then, later, give kids a smoother gender reassignment. The first step, sometimes as early as age nine, are medications called puberty blockers, which stave off secondary sex characteristics, buying families precious decision-making time until they feel sure of the child’s wishes. Though concerns remain about whether kids on puberty blockers develop adequate bone density, pediatrician Olson says blockers are an effective low-risk tool when used for the short term: “The blockers allow us to push the pause button and let kids explore gender during what are really the most difficult years,” adding that if kids ultimately decide not to continue the regimen, they could simply stop taking the meds, and anatomical puberty begins.

Assuming the kid is still insistent, though, step two begins in adolescence: With the child’s prepubescent body a relative hormonal blank slate, cross-sex hormones are introduced, so that the child’s body blossoms into his or her preferred gender – resulting in a gender reassignment with far more convincing-looking results than for those who transition as adults. Step two is also the point at which there’s no turning back, since once a child’s voice drops, or there’s significant breast development, those changes will remain even if they come off the drugs. And then, eventually, there’s step three: “bottom” surgery, if they choose, at age 18 or older.

This path through adolescence can be a frightening prospect even for the most trans-positive parents. If early social transition is about following a gender-fluid child’s lead into a possibly temporary experiment, then medical intervention is the point at which parents take charge and decide their child’s permanent outcome. Before turning 18, a kid may wish for gender reassignment, but he or she cannot legally go down that path without parental consent; that burden falls on the adults. “Even for the most accepting of parents, it’s very much a grief process,” says Olson. “You’re losing your son and gaining a daughter.” And then there’s a parent’s worst fear: Maybe they’re making a colossal, life-altering mistake for their child.

But at the conference over the next few days, the Mathises will witness firsthand the ramifications of not taking action, when they survey their fellow attendees swamping the Pennsylvania Convention Center: beefy matrons who call to mind Mrs. Doubtfire; delicate men sporting overcompensatory beards; towering divas with fantasy curves; and so many shades of in-between as to make a conventioneer thankful for the name badges listing everyone’s “preferred pronoun.” The fact that their appearances are confusing even here at the Trans-Health Conference, the most safe and affirming venue on Earth, is a painful reminder that out in the world, these people are not “passing” – few have the privilege of anonymity – and each has to live with the scrutiny that brings.

A child like Coy, however, could have the power to change public perception of trans people. High-profile trans actors like Laverne Cox on Orange Is the New Black, or trans teenage characters like Wade “Unique” Adams on Glee – and, more controversially, Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning – have brought transgender people a level of visibility they’ve never before enjoyed. But such spokespeople could never normalize transgenderism in the culture as compellingly as a kid like Coy – whose total inhabitancy of her gender identity is right on the surface, undeniable, as is her guileless wish to be accepted for who she really is.

Days after the Mathis family returned home from the convention, in June, they discovered that the Colorado Civil Rights Division had rendered a verdict on their discrimination complaint against Coy’s school. Director Steven Chavez had weighed the case and decided resoundingly in Coy’s favor, granting her the right to use the girls’ restroom, and coming down hard on the Fountain-Fort Carson school district for depriving Coy of her rights. “Telling [Coy] that she must disregard her identity while performing one of the most essential human functions . . . creates an environment that is objectively and subjectively hostile,” Chavez wrote in his scathing 14-page ruling, adding that the school’s rationale behind forcing Coy to use a different bathroom is “reminiscent of the ‘separate but equal’ philosophy.”

The determination is the nation’s very first to effectively uphold the rights of trans students to use the bathrooms reflective of their identities, and is being viewed as a landmark case. “This decision happened in the middle of a cresting wave,” says Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network. “This case was hugely important to calling attention to the fact that when it comes down to it, schools have an obligation not to discriminate.”

Not surprisingly, Focus on the Family’s Jeff Johnston expresses disappointment with the ruling. “We don’t think it’s healthy for girls to be exposed to a boy who thinks he’s a girl in a bathroom,” Johnston says. And he gently invites the Mathises to seek counseling and stop screwing up their kid. “It’s got to be painful to reject your own masculinity. That’s painful internal conflict for a child,” he reflects. “You want to affirm his essence and the goodness of being a boy – that your masculinity is a good thing, and it comes from God.”

The Mathises don’t pay such people much mind. “All we ever wanted was for Coy’s school to treat her the same as other little girls,” says Kathryn. “We are extremely happy with the result.” Nevertheless, Coy won’t be returning to Eagleside Elementary. The Mathises have moved an hour and a half away to Aurora, where they hope to get a fresh start in the more progressive Denver metropolitan area. The Mathises have been impressed with how receptive Coy’s new school district has been in dealing with its first openly trans student, even going so far as to enroll Coy as a girl – in accordance with Coy’s new passport, obtained with the help of doctors’ letters, which labels her as female – and reassuring the Mathises that no one, other than a few key staffers, would need to know that Coy is transgender. As far as Coy’s classmates know, she is just another second-grade girl.

Coy loves her new school. “She already has tons of friends, all girly-girl friends,” says Kathryn. Her parents have been cheered by the way Coy has flourished into such a happy little girl – it feels like a signal that they’re heading in the right direction. And at her birthday party in September, under the pink and purple Chinese lanterns that hung from the Mathis’ living room ceiling, wearing the Wonder Woman outfit Grandma had sent as a gift, Coy stood with wide eyes as her pink kitty-cat cake appeared, topped with a glowing candle shaped like the number seven. She closed her eyes and made a wish.

The Mystery Remains

Human beings need stories not to provide answers, but to make us comfortable with our lot in life as limited creatures.

It all goes back to Genesis. The ultimate temptation for every person is the rejection of our dependent creaturehood: “You shall be like gods!” God is the only One for Whom there are no mysteries. For us, on the otherhand, life is a matter of bowing gracefully before the melodies that are too delicate for our hearing, and before immense things that we can only see from one side, and before spiritual realities that our bodies distract us from perceiving, and before very old legacies that are new to us, and before minute complexities that we are too far-sighted to see.

Stories are supposed to acclimate us to the omnipresence of mystery as our lot in life. They are supposed to lead us to the peace that most things are too big for us, and that that is okay. As my friend Karen Hall says, “I may not know the answer, but Somebody does.” As C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know we aren’t alone.” And this is what we get from stories too. That somebody else has encountered a particular mystery. We are all in this together. So, you don’t have to jump off a roof.

As writers, we don’t share THE answers, because we will never fully sound any reality. We share “what we know to be true” always aware that our experience and information is the tip of the ice berg. We share something true about living with the mystery. The mystery remains.

tumblr_mtsne670if1snnj7so1_500

Gratefully Disillusioned by Darin Hufford

I have spent countless hours pondering what went wrong with Christianity in our generation. What happened to our religion to make everything so crazy and off track? How could something centered around authentic relationship with God become so dangerous and hurtful to its participants? More than anything, I’ve asked myself; why wasn’t it working for most people?

I’ve found that the pattern of growth for those who seem to truly know Him has been pretty much the same. The common thread I see over and over is that every person in relationship with Him must go through a shedding period where all that they have been told and all that they have believed is gently taken from them until they are left with nothing but what is. Each person discovers a contentment in knowing they were wrong all along and the stresses of what they had been told all their lives, whether good or bad, trickle away, leaving their spirit relaxed and satisfied.

It’s not as if merely the bad things they’d heard about God were proven wrong. Everything was wrong, the good and the bad. The spectacular claims that used to thrill them during worship services and the absolute promises that they stood on when they felt weak. It all gets stripped away as relationship blooms.

I’ve come to the conclusion that somewhere in the last 200 years, we felt that we needed to market our relationship as a religion. At some point in time, someone decided that Christianity needed to be packaged and presented in a way that would appeal to the masses. In other words, we purposefully marketed our faith to unbelievers. I am convinced that this is where the dominoes began to tumble.

If you’re going to market a pair of shoes to a specific group of people, you must find out what excites those people the most and convince them that if they wear your shoes, they’ll find it. If you’re selling shoes to gang bangers, you’ll need to convince them that these shoes will make them tougher and stronger, perhaps even invincible.

You must make them feel like others will be intimidated by them if they are wearing the shoes. They should believe that once they put those shoes on, something will happen to their very soul that will make them fearless and powerful. This is how marketing works. Once the idea is planted into people’s minds, they buy the product without thinking it through.

I believe that Christianity has been marketed to the carnal nature of unbelievers. We successfully got people who would not have otherwise become a Christian to sign on the dotted line and join our religion. We did it by presenting “relationship with God” in a way that would appeal to power-hungry money mongers who want to escape the cold reality of life.

We told people that God would financially prosper them. We told them that they would never get sick and if they did, God would make it go away. We’ve promised them that if anyone hurt them, their God would stick up for them and get revenge on their behalf. We convinced them that God would also give them godlike powers and they could dazzle their friends and family with magic tricks. We promised them that God would make sure they held a position of leadership in life where everyone would respect them and pay them honor.

I’ve even seen different ministries claim that Christians have better sex than non-Christians. The list goes on and on. One by one, people signed up for Christianity. People who would not have otherwise given it a second look, found themselves strangely tempted with a religion that promised to fulfill their every carnal desire. The offer was just too good to be true.

Generations later, people are holding onto the promises the sales agent gave them, in spite of the fact that they’ve never seen the results manifested in their own life. Others finally leave the “faith,” drained and disheartened. They didn’t get what they wanted from Christianity so they continue searching for a religion that will give it to them.

Then we have the people who would have given their heart to God without any marketing at all. It was already in their heart. They came to Him because they wanted Him and nothing else. They would have come without the fancy marketing and boastful claims.

Sadly, these sincere people go through life thinking they are always one step behind the rest of the crowd. They secretly feel like they’re doing something wrong and failing God because they get sick and are short on cash and are stuck in a dead-end job at the bottom of the totem pole. They aren’t full of intense joy and happiness 24 hours a day like they were told they would be, so they blame themselves for not getting it like they should. They beat themselves up because they truly love God and yet none of the explosions they were told about are happening.

These are the people who will eventually become Free Believers.

These are the people who will still stick around once the good and the bad of their religion has been stripped away. They never needed promises of power and prosperity to pique their interest. They didn’t go into it looking for an escape from normalcy. It was never about avoiding life’s hardships or obtaining magical powers. It was relationship that drew them. It was the Spirit of relationship that they first heard and listened to.

The process of stripping the good and the bad of religion is a long and painful one, but I’ve found that Free Believers love every minute of it. Their faith doesn’t shudder for even a second during the process. When the embellished things of God disappear, they find themselves becoming more pleased and pleasured by what they find behind it than most of their institutional friends would ever have been.

In fact, they would willingly give up everything they had ever been promised, if it meant they could be one step closer to the heart of the one they love. This stripping away of religion’s boasts and promises is truly what separates the sheep from the goats in our generation. The goats become angry and faithless and the sheep become “Gratefully Disillusioned.”

Darin Hufford

Present in the Vanishing

tumblr_mv4kcaJKeK1rqh5gio1_500

And I endure, face forward
into steely storms of bracing
crystal whiplash raindrops.

Whirlwinds tempests, tendrils,
tongues, tempos swirling in,
ride and run like tides.
Face to face I stand in place
free in myself but chained to me.
And I endure, face forward.tumblr_mom8cmnXcY1re9wz2o1_500

Shall I dance,
invited to Solstice morphing
and spin, silky and gushing
wet my heart essence to
caress this creature?
Encase and bury her
inside a tomb of rest,
A womb of becoming?

Every blow,
every storm
strips me clean,
disappears me,
reveals me
Transforms me,
calls me,
uncoccoons me
Until I endure,
face forward.tumblr_m8yw6eN5ow1rsu7ylo1_500

 

 

Tears into Gold

Deeps call, cry, and break
on my heart in salty misty sheets
and then dissolve into tearful torrents
and groans.

There is much to weep for in this life,
and against too…and they stain
and leave their telltale tracks
(sandpipers cry and running evidences in the waves’ edges).
And yet.

And yet…from tears work a Power
A Grace
A Love

Benevolent Rumplestiltskin takes my dross
My straw and spins my
Tears into Gold.

tumblr_msgbxlpHhI1qfqjbno1_500

The Terrorist

BACK!  Git Back,
Burka Bound Bitch!
you dare to undrape
and go graceful and glad?

You are nothing but
double trouble and toil
and you violate my space
with your notions of liberty.

I SWEAR!  Ima
BLOW MYSELF UP!
Ima blow you up!
Iffn I don’t git my way.

Your soul belongs to me,
your heart, keep it hidden and draped
in my fables of your self!
You undraped is the universe
shitting on me special

(I’m soo special the
fucking UNIVERSE makes a point
to shit on me!!)

You uncocooned
is affront, threat!
Fingers jammed
into my ears
and palms over
eyes and mouth
you are
seeevil-
hearevil-
speakevil!

You have no place like me…
for I have been
natural borned
to my bone crusted throne!
Earned by springing from
the spiritual loins of
My Ancestors…
the great woman haters of history…
the great race haters of history…
the great religion haters of history…
the great sex haters of history…

We OWN you!
Burka Bound Bitch,
wear the skin I assign you
and be that
hairy bear-befuddled
muscle bound misslemuscle
I say you are…
WE SAY YOU ARE…
and are not.

I swear!
I blow it all up
and show everyone
unless you stay
chained in 2 chains
you horrid gender freak.

tumblr_mv21x4W9Lk1rk1cbbo1_1280tumblr_muu2t8s3FU1rwfzu1o1_500tumblr_mics1aULge1r2zs3eo1_1280

My Beautiful, Wonderful Angels

I want to mention the amazing women who are helping me…my naturopaths, and my therapist.  My therapist is so wonderfully gifted to somehow take all the pain and anxiety and hurt and despair that rages inside me unchecked and drain it away, leaving me peaceful and hopeful.  No trick, no mind game…just somehow gifted.

My naturopaths, whom I saw yesterday, accept me if anything more now than they did before.  The love, support, enthusiasm and joy they have taken in me, given to me, are nothing short of a miracle.

We are gonna do some blood work, and then start in…

Below the shoulders, here I come.

Transition cloaked in stealth is a good thing.

tumblr_mv6pakv0wO1rcf4reo1_500

tumblr_mv15k5k7Wb1r2zs3eo1_1280

Yeah, Yeah…I know you want pretty poems…BUT:

The posts that I make regarding gender issues are the raw bleeding edge of my existence, and I think that I am realizing that it is also a bleeding edge of what is going on in our society as this issue comes increasingly to the forefront.

I could walk into any church right now, and since I grew up in the church I could say things and do things in such a way as to “pass” as “Jesus gendered” and every single person there would think me oh so fine, oh so holy and righteous.  This is because the church, as most everyone, judges by appearances, mannerisms, “code”.

If I then turned around, and revealed who and what I truly am, I would without hesitation immediately be labeled as demon possessed or perverted or hellbound or any other such label/judgement.  With only the change of a label!  I would not have to dress or anything! And this is wrong and has to change!  Thus I will continue to post articles and things of this nature:

****************************************************************************************************************

8

Cristan Williams · Featured

What happens when PJI is confronted by parents?

The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) is the ex-gay organization that stirred up the right-wing word by claiming that a trans kid (who I will refer to as Jane Doe, for reasons of safety) in Colorado was harassing cisgender girls in the restrooms. Right wing media outlets jumped at the story without conducting any fact checking, prompting members of the right wing community to call for the death of the trans kid.While I interviewed Matthew McReynolds, staff attorney for PJI earlier this week, McReynolds was first interviewed by the right-wing media organization, the World Daily News:

“First of all, it’s our position that a teenage boy’s presence into the bathroom for teenage girls is inherently harassing,” said McReynolds, who is representing the families of the girls involved. “It’s inherently violative of their privacy rights. It’s also intimidating when you have a boy like this, who is not a freshman, going in there with younger freshman girls. They feel violated. They feel intimidated, and that’s been expressed to us.”

The girls have alleged the boy has made sexually harassing comments in that setting.

“Details continue to emerge on this in terms of what what kind of comments may have been made. We’ve heard some reports that he’s commented on what girls are wearing or their figure while in the bathroom. If you can imagine that scenario from the reference and framework of a teenage girl, I think that’s pretty harassing,” said McReynolds, who reiterated that a boy simply being in the girls’ restroom is ample harassment in itself.

You are about to hear the rest of my interview with PJI’s McReynolds. In this portion of our interview, McReynolds is confronted by Jane’s mother and another school mother. Additionally, we learn that PJI supports ex-trans efforts.

I initially withheld this portion of our interview because the way in which McReynolds responds is chilling to me. I had initially felt that PJI had spewed enough obloquy upon Jane, her parents, her town and the entire trans community and I didn’t want to be responsible for putting more of it out there. However, after talking with a friend recently, I began to feel that by not releasing this portion of the interview, I was helping PJI conceal their true nature. Since we’re dealing with the well-being of our children, I think we need to very clearly see who we’re dealing with.

When I interviewed McReynolds I wish I could tell you that he was noticeably moved by the suffering of Jane Doe’s mother or the outrage of a high school parent, but apparently that was too much to hope for. McReynolds never once broke character. When confronted by the suffering he had inspired in Jane’s mother, McReynolds’ monotone evasions and adherence to predetermined talking points were alarming to me. McReynolds’ smug victim blaming, liberally peppered with falsehoods, was beyond disgusting to me.

So, before you listen, I want to give you a Trigger Warning. McReynolds’ response to the suffering he has helped inflict upon a kid, coupled by his rhetorical micro/macro aggressions and dishonesty might be triggering to some. IF you feel that this TW applies to you, PLEASE scroll down the CONTEXT section.Your help is needed.

The Confrontation:

Cristan: I’ve collected a number of questions and issues from the community that they wanted to have you address. The first one comes from Florence, Colorado and here it is…

Jane Doe’s Mom: They can’t… how do you say… They have to learn to love all God’s creations and to believe that they have so much hatred in them… and to be this way [begins to sob] is hard. Because, because my daughter is a precious life just like, just like anybody else, I know how precious everybody’s kids are to them and they have to understand that it’s been a lot of hurt, that there could be so much hatred directed at my daughter, who, she’s just trying to be a normal teenager and go on with life.

Cristan: So, that’s Jane Doe’s mother and specifically she has a statement that she wanted me to read to you: “What you’re doing isn’t right. You say that you’re a God-loving people but you’ve targeted my daughter – a kid – like this. You shouldn’t do this to any kid. You should be ashamed. You’re wrong for what you’ve done to my daughter.” What do you have to say to Jane’s mother.

McReynolds: Well, a couple of things. First of all, all of us identify with the raw emotion we hear in her voice and her instinct to for her son who’s now her daughter and all the many, many issues that accompany that. At the same time, we have to go back to the reality that nobody went out looking for Jane Doe to launch this. We didn’t come from California to Colorado looking for this situation…

… because, he decided that he wanted to walk into the girl’s bathrooms and girls locker rooms and interact with them there, that caused some serious discomfort on our client’s part as it would on the part of most teenage girls in that situation and so, as much emotion as is there and as much desire is there to protect that child, you know, we have to balance that with the privacy interests and the constitutional privacy rights of all the other students and that is what has not been done to date.

Cristan: Ah, and so, here’s another from a Florence High School mother.

Florence High School mom: “A little background, my daughter is a sophomore at Florence High School and my daughter and I sat down about this, you know, ‘Have you seen this happen?’ and she said in the bathroom there’s no big deal. She goes in, goes into the stall and is very discrete and is very quiet and stays very much to herself and never poses a problem with anybody. So my daughter asked around to the other students, ‘Does anybody have a problem with [Jane] being in there?’ and their answers were ‘No’ and they all pointed the finger to this one individual.

Cristan: And I believe the one individual she’s speaking of is a freshman daughter of someone who happens to be conservative. What would you have to say to that mother?

McReynolds: Well, a few different things. Number one, I don’t doubt that that’s what she’s hearing from her daughter and maybe what they’re hearing from other members of the community. We’re certainly hearing the opposite and we’re hearing that from, not just one individual, as has been falsely stated that we represent. We actually represent a co… a few different students from more than one family from within the Florence High School family who have been affected by this and they in turn have been in contact with a number of other parents and young people who are are very, very uncomfortable with it. So, that that one student or other students, you know, don’t have um, a reasonable expectation of privacy that would interfere with, uh, this other student’s exercise of, you know, his newfound gender, um, you know, that tells me that there are potential solutions to this situation…

During our interview I asked McReynolds if one of these PJI-style “solutions” include treating trans kids like cis kids:

“Would one of those [solutions] be that transgender children would be able to function in day to day school life exactly as their cisgender counterparts?”

His answer was:

“Well I think there’s a very active debate as to whether someone like this Jane Doe, who I understand has not completely transitioned into his or her new found gender can ever function normally in that role.”

Doubble Fact Check: Jane Doe transitioned in 2011 with the support of her therapist and family.

… and unfortunately we’ve just not heard back from the school in reference to working out what those solutions might be.

Cristan: Ah, yes. I saw the interview you did on World Daily News in which you said that you were aware of what the superintendent had to say, specifically that that they had conducted an investigation that found that, in fact, no harassment is going on. If that’s the case and you’re aware of that, why continue?

McReynolds: [laughing] Well, a couple of things, Cristan. We’ve sent a letter to the school now – eleven days ago – laying out the serious concerns that we had for the constitutional privacy rights, as well as the harassment issue. To date, and in that letter, anybody can go to our website again, pji.org, under the press releases section and read our letter. We invited the school to engage with us and to, you know, identify any allegations that they considered to be disputed. Not one of those allegations have been rebutted to us by the school. They made some vague comments in other forums, the superintendent has…

FACT CHECK

The “vague comments’ the Superintendent made are as follows:

“We do have a transgender student at the high school, and she has been using the women’s restrooms. There has not been a situation. All the students of these parents who say they feel uncomfortable just about the fact that the student is allowed to go into the restrooms at the high school, into the stalls – they don’t believe that that’s appropriate, so that’s where it stems from. There has not been an incident of harassment, or anything that would cause any additional concern.”

… but to date, not one has been rebutted to us…

Cristan: So, you’re basically that they’ve not responded or that they’re ignoring you?

McReynolds: Well, they’ve indicated that they will be responding, but they’re taking their time in doing so because, as much as a lot of activists want to believe that the story is over and there’s nothing to it, the school is certainly not treating it that way and the school is being very deliberate in dragging its feet in trying to …

Cristan: I understand that the school is actually closed until, I believe, the end of this month. Is that what you understand?

McReynolds: No, my understanding is that the school was closed last week and has reopened today [Monday].

Cristan: Oh, okay. So, basically most of the time that you say that they’ve not replied, they were, in fact, closed.

McReynolds: No, that’s not actually quite correct because we were interacting with their lawyer who was on an entirely different schedule.

Cristan: Oh, okay. [BREAKS IN FOR CONTEXT] Hey folks, I want to break in just for a second and point out that, while he’s saying that school lawyers don’t work on school hours, the people the lawyers would need to speak with actually do. So, I wanted to plant a red flag right there before we move on to more of the Pacific Justice Institute’s evasions of these questions [/] Now, here’s another clip from a mother in Florence.

Florence High School mom: ”It’s there prerogative to seek out everyplace they can find in the US to try to do this, there’s not much we can do about that from the standpoint that that’s their prerogative. It is my prerogative however, to prevent them from injuring this child, or any other child. You want to go after an adult, that’s fine. As an adult, you have a right to do that, but do not do it against a child.”

Cristan: A common theme that keeps coming up, and let me just ask you this directly: Do you value the life of Jane Doe?

McReynolds: Oh absolutely. I think that’s a point we can all agree on and we have very different approaches. What we believe, you know, the health and wellbeing of kids who are in this situation entails and so from out perspective, you don’t lead to healthier outcomes by enabling potentially unhealthy behavior and so that’s where we, you know, our paths diverge.

Cristan: So, the way I’ve encountered your group online, it seems that you advocate for, or at least you have advocated for, ex-gay therapy. Is that correct?

McReynolds: Uh, yeah. That’s one way to put it. It’s particular name here in California, in terms of the statute we’re challenging is ‘sexual orientation change efforts.’

Cristan: Sure, sure… And would that also include gender orientation change efforts?

McReynolds: Well, that statute does, the litigation is focused on the sexual orientation change efforts, but it could include that.

Cristan: Oh, okay. Does your organization, as a philosophical stance, believe that people can – if they’re male assigned at birth, and their gender orientation is female, that through therapy or certain processes, that their gender orientation could become male? So, that they would [now] have a gender orientation of male, being assigned male at birth?

McReynolds: Well, as an organization we tend to not wade into the scientific debates as much as focusing on the constitutional debates and our mission is to ensure that we can continue to both vigorous constitutional debates, that freedom of speech is protected and that’s why we’ve been so involved in the sexual orientation change efforts battle. We see the limitations on freedom of speech as being inherently detrimental to this entire debate.

Context

Having lost the Prop 8 battle, equality foes have found a new target: transgender children.

The law protecting transgender children, which California Gov. Jerry Brown signed in August, says schools must treat transgender students as equal to cisgender students. A coalition of anti-LGBT groups calling itself “Privacy for All Students” has circulated 200,000 anti-trans petitions throughout California. Their goal is to collect 505,000 valid signatures by November 12, 2013. If they collect those signatures, it will stop the trans equality law from taking effect in January and put the civil rights of trans kids up for popular vote in November 2014.

The old Prop 8 cast of characters have organized as the coalition for the “Privacy for All Students.” Care to take a guess at who’s one of the largest supporters of the coalition?

It’s the Pacific Justice Institute – the same group currently orchestrating a smear campaign against Jane Doe. PJI claims that if these trans-equality policies go into effect, it will lead to government-sponsored X-rated scenes in all the public schools.

Of course, PJI won’t tell you that these California-style policies have already been enacted across the country, even in America’s most conservative areas. For example, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Dallas and Ft. Worth Texas public school districts all have California-style policies protecting trans kids. These policies have been in effect for years without incident.

Consider the testimony to the California Senate Education Committee by Judy Chiasson, Ph.D., a Program Coordinator for Human Relations at the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD):

At first we had our concerns. Would letting students participate in activities and facilities that were consistent with their gender identities create problems? What would happen? And, ultimately we decided that we as the adults needed to manage our fears and give the students the respect and dignity that they deserved. And I’m pleased to say none of our fears have been materialized. Our transgender students use facilities, participate in gym class and play on sports teams in a way that corresponds with their gender identity.

We treat our transgender students — our boys, our transgender boys and girls — simply like any other boys and girls with the same rights and responsibilities, rules, and obligations.

In the eight years that we’ve had our policy we’ve not had any problems. On the contrary, it has solved many problems. It’s a nonissue on our campuses. Our transgender students use the bathrooms for the same reasons as everybody else. They do their business, fix their hair and make-up, and gossip with friends.

So when we instituted this policy we had no idea how many students that this would effect. In 2011, we conducted a survey in conjunction with the YRBS, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, and we learned that point-five percent of our students self-identified as transgender. In a district of our size, that’s about thirty-five-hundred students. We were shocked. We had no idea that we had that many transgender students.

For most of them, this is their private secret. But, we want them to know that we’re here for them whenever they’re ready.

After providing a $10,000 boost to the effort to collect signatures in California for repealing trans protections for school children, the PJI sent out a fundraising letter last week claiming that they’ve sent the LGBT community scrambling in a “near-panic.” Here’s a copy of one of the fundraising letters from PJI’s coalition. Note their use of Jane Doe to scare people into emptying their pockets and signing the petition to repeal trans protections for California trans kids:

BOO!!! Give us money!

And, let’s not forget the fact that PJI’s coalition was caught lying to people in order to trick them into supporting their effort to legally discriminate against trans children:

The recording was made in front of a Walmart in California. What follows is the transcript between the dishonest anti-trans activist and his mark.

TRANSCRIPT:

Signature Gatherer: Ma’am, would you sign the petition to say no to same-sex restrooms at the schools…

Victim: Uhm…

SG: This puts it on the ballot. Gay- gay students at the schools, like the gay guys who want to go in the restrooms with girls…

V: Gay guys?

SG: Yes.

V: Why do the gay guys want to go to the girls’ restroom when they like guys?

SG: That’s what I thought.

V: Yeah…

SG: But what this does…

V: But, but, but what are gay guys doing going into the girls rest room?

SG: (exasperated) I don’t know, they just want to make, y’know, to be able to make it, like, both restrooms, whatever they…

V: Both of them?

SG: Yes. Well, just whatever they prefer, like when a guy, uhm, y’know, wanna’… But this right here puts it on the ballot and stops it.

V: Uh-hum…

SG: It says the girls must go to the girls room and…

V: And how does it stop it?

SG: It puts it on the ballot, and then we’ll vote on it. Majority votes, and (unintelligible)

Lying to people so that they lend their good name to an effort designed to harm trans kids is apparently a moral tactic for PJI and their supporters.

PJI has demonstrated that they are more than willing to perpetuate a hoax that harms Jane and her family while disrupting school if it means scoring some political points and raising some extra cash to throw at their effort to discriminate against California school kids. Nothing about representing PJI’s “clients” required them to go to the press. I believe they went to the press because they thought that it would help their war against trans kids in California.

It seems that they’re willing to lie to people in order to trick them into supporting their efforts. They are the types of people who can listen to a mother weep over the cruelty inflicted upon her daughter – at their own hands – and respond by misgendering Jane and in the next breath, paint her as a predator who deserves whatever “he” gets.

In the mean time, Jane Doe is now on suicide watch.

Yes. You read that correctly.

This afternoon I was notified that the family decerned that Jane needed immediate professional intervention due to the scope of suicidal ideation Jane has recently exhibited. The family is now working with specialists in Denver to address Jane’s needs.

What you can do:

There are three things I would like to encourage the trans and allied community to do:

1.) Send supportive messages: Videos, audio, or email. You can leave your supportive comments below, email them to me or leave links to your supportive audio, video or blog posts in the comment section below. If you would like to mail cards, notes and letters, the Transgender Center in Houston will collect and vet each letter. Your correspondence will be collected and forwarded to the family. Send physical correspondence to:

Jane Doe, c/o
The Houston Transgender Center
604 Pacific, Houston, TX 77006

The hate directed at Jane has been immense and it is having it’s intended effect. A large 2011 survey found that 51% of bullied school trans kids attempt suicide. The scope and scale of bullying that Jane has endured is unprecedented. Please, let her know that you support her, that you wish her well and that it will get better.

2.) Let others know what’s happening: Please, spread the word. Let people know what hate has done to this family. I know it’s kinda cheesy, but I’m changing my FaceBook photo to this:

Purple is Jane’s favorite color. If you’d like to do something similar to let people know that you stand with Jane and her family, please do.

3.) Help out. It’s not like Jane’s family is rich and between the extra travel and medical bills associated with Jane’s care, the family is at the breaking point this month. While they were uncomfortable with asking for help, I convinced them to allow people to help if they wanted to. A few 100 could make or break things for the family. My goal is to raise $500 to help cover medical expenses this month. If you can chip in, please do:

gofundme.com/4ye1d4

Proof of the donation to the family will be posted to TransAdvocate.

While we here at the TransAdovcate are facilitating legal representation for the family, that’s not enough. Jane and her family are in trouble and while it’s gratifying to think that those who’ve caused such hardship will be held to account down the road, Jane and her family are in trouble right now.

Please help out however you can.

**************************************************************************************************************

Wanna know what the worst thing is for me?

Listening to this horrible voice, and knowing the delusion the man is under…he actually thinks that his voice is dripping with love and kindness, he truly thinks in his heart that he is showing the face of Jesus to his listeners!  He is under the same delusion that the Jehovah Witnesses are under when they come to your door and seek to spread their version of things and get tossed on their ear, and then believe that the treatment they receive is confirmation of their holiness.

No wonder Jesus called people who trust in religion Blind fools who make their converts twice as fit for hell as they are themselves.

Ya know, you guys oughtta check out the words of Jesus…and I am serious about that.  You would be surprised at the things He said.

If the shoe fits

At a daily mass last week, Pope Francis I told Bishops and those who came to pray that the Church is suffering from a serious illness: “ideological Christians.” The 76-year old former Archbishop of Buenos Aires has been creating problems for many of America’s faithful, who are now being effectively castigated for their anti-Christian views, including their war on homosexuality.

At last Thursday’s mass, the Pope said that “when a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought… For this reason Jesus said to them: ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge.’ The knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these close the door with many requirements.”

“The faith becomes ideology and ideology frightens, ideology chases away the people, distances, distances the people and distances of the Church of the people,” Pope Francis I said. “But it is a serious illness, this of ideological Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new, eh?”

Accusations

They are present all the time.

They lie unspoken in every conversation, as potentialities.  I fear them, seeing them nascent in every person I meet, and yet inherently grasping the absurdity of convicting each and every person of firebombing me for some future revelation that has yet to happen…but if the history of trans-people, gay people, minorities, women, and any non dominant people group is any indicator, it is certain to occur.

The Shock Troops, the Storm Troopers, the KKK, the malevolent police forces…and I am speaking of those words that lay coiled and bunched in dens, poisonous vipers waiting to strike and release fire that burns and scars and cannot every be put out…they wait, slumbering like Smaug the Great and Terrible, on piles of riches…

It is ironic…because I can be accused of being a monster, a pervert, a freak, (fill in the blank)…OR I can be accused of using my new found understanding as a trump card to excuse anything and everything that I do, think, or am…If I share anything, I am wrong and do so because I am trans and thus am trying to force my world and life on those around us, or if I am silent and withdraw back behind the cloud of not knowing what I know (which will never ever suffice anymore, that bell cannot be unrung now), then it is because I am trans and thus holding myself away and apart…

…I did not choose this, I did not ask for this, I did not “become” this…somehow I woke up to myself over 5 decades ago and simply was, and have had to deal ever since.  The options have not been good, especially in the early 60s in Northern Rural California where the local drunk took a couple of hippies from San Francisco out into a field and beat the hell out of them and then cut off their hair with his pocket knife (yes, that really happened).

But back to the vampire…accusation…it is there.  Living off of me, living off of others, like a scream waiting to be given air.

Most all others do not know about me, but accusation still screams at me from their eyes, their careless words…”I’m waiting for you”… “I’ll be back”…and because trying to figure out how I shall now live and be and move is always on my heart and soul now, it is hard for those who know, or so I imagine…because even in the presence of their love and acceptance, accusation is lurking in my gut tearing and ripping and telling me that I am wrecking their lives too.

I find it interesting the parallel between moving from who I have been to who I am gender-wise, and moving from who I was and who I am becoming in Christ (I am speaking of sanctification, which is that transition from death to life, from the old zombie-man of sin to the new child of God)…each happens by degrees, and each is ultimate.  Each is a metamorphis…a passing away of an old existential state of being and the birth of a new one.

But for me, in the gender sense, my gain is to others a loss…it is impossible for them to not feel as if they are losing who I was and used to be…but for me I still am and am and will be within the context of new growth and becoming.

Honestly, I am still crushed (and I specifically use that word)…crushed that a person whom I have given life to and sweated and bled and wept for, contended for, sacrificed for, ate crow for, labored in a job that has been agony at times internally, preferred this one’s well being and happiness above my own (oh yes, imperfectly of course…I must add that in as it is thrown in my face as the reason the person has issues and is screwed up, because I wasn’t a good enough parent)…but I am crushed by the silence, the coldness, the withholding of contact, the hoarding of days and life to them self as I watch my own days swirl and circle the drain and run out on the sands of time leaving a limp wet stain on the grains that quickly dries and is gone.

And I fear for them, because I do not know which is worse…not knowing that one is being this way and impacting people this way, or having it revealed and then mourning the loss of time, opportunity…gone…OR…having it revealed, and still not even caring.

Towering Indifference.

But within all this, at the core of all this, is my inability to control anything but my own decisions, and I come full circle back to accusation.

If I stay, then I stymie and hurt, and accusation gets to caper and dance macabre-ly before me…and if I go, then the odds greatly favor the chances that I will get the same treatment from virtually everyone in my life that I am getting from one whom I have given all that it is within my power to give.

God what a jumble.  But I post for me, and not for anyone else, so if you are still reading, freakingg deal, ok?

One last thought…and this hurts as well.  But I think the more objective reality is that the person whose actions I am grieving would be having these issues regardless of whether I had f***edd up and revealed my identity or not.  All that experience did was lance the ugly pustule of self that had formed on their soul.  It was there already.  In and of itself that is grievous, for I see lots of hardship down that path, and trial, and errors compounded, and my own failures amplified in the echo chamber of their own failure.

See?  Accusation…one bad ass mutha…scripture speaks of accusations, and of the works of Jesus and how he took every decree against us and made a public spectacle of it…Colossians…but that is another time, another post.

For now…I am gathering myself, and gritting my teeth, and clenching my jaw, and getting ready to put on the person everyone thinks I am and must be…putting earplugs into my heart ears so I can find some measure of space between

me and accusation.

cf3ee410fd83361590eb0ef292814167-pjlewq

Sharing the World of another Transwoman

I found this posted on another blog…it is poignant and painful to me, for so much of it I share in common.  While she is further out than I am, alas, her experience is, I fear, but a prefiguration of the horror that awaits me, should I ever find the courage and resolve to come out fully.

Honestly, for me, I still am not at all sure that it is the right thing to do, given the effect on others.  I am mindful of not placing a stumbling block, of not indulging self.  What is best and what is worst?  I do not know.  At any rate…read on:

Musings of a Reluctant Birthday Girl

I have a confession to make.

Shhhh, don’t tell anyone.

I’m not really 26.

This blog is going to be self indulgent, but it is my birthday, so I can’t think of a better time to be so.

I had hoped to have reached my ideal weight by this birthday. Instead HRT and quitting smoking has conspired with my poor willpower to fatten me back up. I REALLY mean it this time, a BMI of 25 by this time next year!!!!

I had also hoped to have had a proper prescription from the GIC by now, but instead I am still self-medicating at least until my fourth appointment next week.

I had hoped to find full-time, well paid employment, but alas, holding down a job as a transitioning Transwoman with bipolar tendencies makes this goal elusive right now.

Maybe I should take ‘hope’ out of the equation and add that extra energy to the ‘do’.

What I want to reflect on is people… all people.

Coming out was probably the single most terrifying and upsetting thing I ever had to do, not because I feared rejection from my parents, but instead that I knew I would be hurting them. However I want to be honest here, not to shame or admonish, but just to be as raw and frank about things as I can be for the sake of others in my position who may stumble upon this blog.

My brother still doesn’t seem to have his head around this after having had nearly all year to do so, and my parents are reluctant for me to tell certain members of the family right now, or even ever. All the others who have been told in my family have been wonderful, but still so many are yet to find out.

This feels like limbo: A space between identities where the old me still exists like an echo that just won’t fade. My mother likened my transition to the death of her son, and his echo haunts me like a spectre that I just cannot shake off. Every time I have to come out to someone new, it feels like a reset, and I am trapped in a cycle of perpetual revelation and the same tiresome questions.

“How long have you felt this way?”

“Have you had the op?”

“Do you like girls or boys then?”

It feels like I have spent the past year just coming out over and over again. That initial fear of rejection and causing pain is now replaced by a muttered ‘Oh for fuck’s sake’ and fighting the temptation to tell them I have ‘it’ in a pickle jar at home, next to the telly.

It is almost becoming my shtick… my act… I know all the words off by heart and so it feels my mouth is a fountain of endless clichés that would bring tears to my writing mentors’ eyes.

I just want to climb to the top of a tall building, Kong style, and scream to the world…

“CAN  I STOP BEING TRANS AND JUST BE A FUCKING WOMAN NOW?”

I don’t want to be trans. I don’t want to go around waving at people at going ‘look how different I am, isn’t it great?’ (And I have met many trans people who sadly make us all look bad by doing this). I just want to lose that chain, made from the bones of ‘him’, that is hanging round my neck and instead be who I hid away for so long.

I don’t care if people can’t deal with it. Either they do, or I have no room for them in my life, it’s simple. I can’t afford to. I cannot live my life at the pace that makes everyone else comfortable, I spent the first three decades of my life doing that, and now it is my turn to be selfish.

Love me or hate me, it’s your choice.

I just ask that if you want to understand what I am, look it up on the internet or in a library, talk to me, talk to others with similar experiences. Don’t bury me with the memory of who I was before. This has been the year of introductions, but next year I plan to live at my own pace.

That’s fair right?

Tamz xXx”

The Prisms, and prisons of Perception

All of us are inside our heads, and that is such a blessing…and such a curse.  We are creatures who are self aware.  We know that we know.  We know that we do not know.  Animals, from what we can gather not only do not know them self, but they do not know that they do not know!

Alas…our being stuck in ourselves has its own way of distorting things, bending things.  We, as sentient beings, are like prisms, and the rays of truth beam upon us and shine thru us, but then are refracted, bent by us.  And what we see then are but refractions of truth.  Perhaps they are beautiful in their own way…but they are such a small spectrum.

We simply must be mindful of this phenomena, or we are doomed to a life of error and thus dissipation and ultimately blindness.

There is a check that will keep us accountable…the refractions of others.  For if we are able to be open to the others placed in our lives…if we have the courage and conviction to be other-oriented, we will be given eyes to see the spectrum of their prism, and (if we cultivate wisdom and humility) we can add that awareness to our own vision.  IN turn, we can allow their spectrum to correct our own bent, to straighten us, and cause us to be aligned more true, more congruent.

Light is by definition both a particle and a wave, and is pure and white in its unrefracted state.  Colors are derived when it is split off into its various frequencies, and then perceived by the eye.  Think for a moment…if you cultivate a seeing eye, a perceptive eye, which can gather each frequency it sees, and hold it with honoring and humble hands, and then knit it back together with the knitting needles of Mercy and Truth…

It will become whole again, and a rainbow of promise becomes the Pure Beam of Fulfillment and Unity.

Dear Reader…cherish the ones in your life…friends, loved ones, yes even enemies…they each bring to you a piece of light (though some bring a light that is darkness, and how gross that darkness!), and if you ask for seeing eyes and tender heart you can become a receptacle of Light and an Agent of Unity.

How Sad if you come to that place of true vision only to find that you painted all with the broad flat brush of your own eyes, and it is revealed that you are blind, and naked, and wretched…How Glorious if you come to that place of true vision and find waiting every last frequency that you humbled yourself to take in and cherish, cultivate, and prefer to your own!

tumblr_mq69brtC0E1qhu16ao4_1280

Silences

Caustic and toxic silences
Scream with cowardly cadences.
Sulking, skulking coyotes
round the campfire,
Shadows, darting in
and nipping at my heart.
Worrying teeth and gnashing jowls
behind which hides…what?
Cowardice?
Callousness?
Cowardice?

Who knows,
for silence rules like Stalin
Over a bleak and barren land
from which the songbirds
have gone, have fled
before the Glower and Growl
of Self…
of Silence.

There are silences that kneel,
silences that cover over a multitude.
Silences that fall like snow
and make all things pure
and new and whole.
But this silence is
the nasty Hangover Sweat
of one drunk on self
and laying waste to the land…

yipping
kipping
howling
nipping
ripping.

Suffering has voice but
Silence, dumb and gibbering
in its self indulgence
Towers over all.

tumblr_mpw81byTGy1r1c2jzo1_500

Rhythm

Rhythm

In bed, half asleep
I listen to you moving
“to and fro”around.
Hardly Poetic
Hardly the Grace of Gesture
or is it the gesture of grace?
Still

They are rhythms, and yours:
Clean, efficient, with a style
I’ve come to recognize

They Move Me More Than The Sound Of Many Poems.

tumblr_muhnoeQjvx1r4zdh3o1_500

Chrysallis

I ran across this in a folder of poems, and I honestly cannot recall if I wrote this or not…I always include info about the author as a footnote when I save someone else’s poem, and I did not with this one…and yet I just do not think I wrote this.  It is in my style, yes, but some of the words are words that surprise me…but then again that often happens to me.

At any rate, this poem is about me and my inner woman who longs to be set free…and also about my inner eternal self, encased in this carnal cap waiting to manifest the metamorphaeo that is ongoing, and soon to show forth.

Chrysallís

She is more
Than the
Chrysós of
Her word shaped
Cocoon

Swivel behind
Each syllable
And feel the
Moving segments
As she atones?

Is she soundless?
In her Chrysallís
Or simply
“along with,”
“among,”
“after,”
“behind,”
“beyond,”

She is mine… not mine
She is pupa to imago
In each split-second
I wrestle with her between
Each wing expansion
Sharing the veins
Of Pure (H)ellenian
Blood

Image

All Day Long

I think about you all day long,
In quiet lulls and lilting song,
I think about you all day long.

I always ever have so thought,
Before I knew your name I sought,
I always ever have so thought.

The silences redound with song,
Those cataracts of thunderous throng,
And I think about you all day long.

Years come and go, an avalanche,
Days sprout like leaves that spin and dance,
Years come and go, an avalanche.

And on that day that is my last

The culmination of my past

I’ll think about you…

All Day Long

tumblr_m4n6bvAPxc1r2zs3eo1_1280

The Yardbird Sings

Sleep is a thready nuisance
That separates me from my heart
My heart.
Dream-clouded Prison walls lock me in
This world.

Liberty hour comes again,
and I
Can walk the yard until
The guards…sleep…setting…others…
Shout “Back inside Yardbird!”

Someday I shall fly and follow
That same path my soul flies,
My Heart leaps up like the stag,
Like a falcon unhooded

Rises, and rises,
Like Icarus to the sun drawn
OH!  Would that the Sun melt my waxy wings
That I would plummet and fall
Into myself, into my place
Like homing pigeons returning to
The Long Loved Last Home.

At last, we shall meet and meet and meet
And I shall wake
And be home.

tumblr_mnwkkbRmEW1r2zs3eo1_1280

The Heart’s Red Door

And I await a sign,
from You, Director
Maestro of Mercy
and stark eyes.

Beckon me…direct me,
and I a flute
to Your lips
shall my soul trill
in response,
and I will move.

But oh Rose behind the Sun,
enlighten me
Your benighted and blind daughter…
Am I coming out?
Or entering in?

Draw me in,
Redness of my Heartbleed
To the cross which hangs
Heavy…

Between
Heaven and Earth
Spirit and Dust
In and out…
Me and myself
And You.

tumblr_mtc7lyKXv51r2zs3eo1_500

The Simplicity

I hide behind the simple things
(not the easy)
so you’ll find me;
If you don’t find me,
you’ll find the things
You’ll touch what my hand has touched,

Our handprints will merge…

The august moon glitters
In the kitchen
Like a tin plated pot

(it does that because of what I am saying to you),

It lights up the empty house
And the house’s kneeling silence
Always the silence remains kneeling

Every word is a doorway
To a meeting—one often cancelled—
And that’s when a word is True:
When it insists on the meeting

200925071233-14191

Untitled

Untitled

At last, I am with you always in the peaceful dreams
Tokens from Flathead, hot-tea hopes, all have driven
Wedges through blankness
Towards that oneness that I always hoped we
will achieve,

Where you are is where the Rose unfolds
and brings an answer
men have watched for from the
now of time
I feel I must dance and sing to tell of this
In a way that, knowing you,
You may be drawn to me.

I sing amidst despair and isolation,
(those seeming entities…HAH!)
I sing of the chance to know you, to sing of
Me and you.  You see, you hold me up to the light
In a way that I never expected, or suspected,
Perhaps…

I am yours to die with, to desire—I must not
Ever think of me.  I desire you
If the wild night of a February day be true.
I pledge to be truthful unto you,
When I can never stop remembering…

Remembering to pass beyond you into the day
On the wings of the Dove.
Take me from myself in the path of the Day assigned!
I prefer “you” in the plural, and
I want you to come to me
All golden and pale
Like dew and air

And then I start getting this feeling of
EXULTATION

6623-1134420351

A Poem I love…not one by me

“What Do Women Want?”
by Kim Addonizio

I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.

I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what’s underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their cafe, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.

I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.

I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

tumblr_ltitv1Wm7J1qi6m5xo1_400

Babel

And then,
from the beauty
of the distant and pregnant horizon,
full of feeling and love…

looms a tower stark
Pillar prick into the sky
that twists or numbs

and love turns sideways
and shunts to the drain
guttering and skuttering
into the dirt.

And once again
love lies discarded
and untouched.
Babel,
alas.

200925073305-14202

What is assumed

I wonder what it is like to wake up and not feel things…

to not feel wrong in my skin…

to not feel the searing ache of empty nothingness…

to not feel the exclusion from the human race, looking at women whom I identify with, think like, feel like, and yet do not look like, and looking at men whom I am biologically born like and look like and yet have no idea why they like what they like, and how they hold tools without dropping them and how they can debate which bullet is better for hours, and how they can love to go out in the woods in the rain and muck and traipse about for hours and then kill an animal, and then cut it up into bloody hunks and slog it out on their backs…

to not feel the question why…why…why…why…what did I do wrong?  Why am I like this?…

to not feel as if each day is another mark on the wall of the steady and inexorable march to my last day, and on that last day to be confronted with a life that did not amount to any difference in this world, one that resulted in either the pursuit of my own happiness and congruence at the expense of other people and their own happiness and fruitfulness, or one that pursued laying down my life (gender, self, identity) and bringing joy and encouragement and happiness to others, but more misery and sorrow and suffering to me…

to not feel like writing this post makes me a huge whiny baby…

Everyone faces existential issues…everyone.  My feelings are largely in common with the human race.  They stem from living in a realm and sphere we were never created to be in…in thrall to death and corruption having been made to live in Life and eternity.  But the worst part of it is that in addition to all those things, some how I f***ed up and got into the wrong skin to boot.

And how to get out?  Does the investment of tens of thousands of dollars in surgically altering my body make me on the outside what I am on the inside, or does it just make me pathetic?  Does the ingesting of the right hormones change my feelings inside, and make it more bearable?  Is the pain of rejection by others upon coming out more tolerable than the pain of rejecting myself and the judging of myself?

For I truly do feel as though I am pathetic and tragically inept at this thing called life, as I watch others seemingly sail through like racing yachts on the seas of life.

Please…you cis-gendered who are comfortable in your own skin…have mercy on us…in your hearts and souls and minds…it is not for us as it is for you.

Can I make it to one place or the other?  I dunno, cus for now I am stuck here…neither one.

tumblr_mrfbcp4qXX1qlioplo1_500

Crystal Clarity

In the 11th hour
late, when wolves tire and
fall silent while silence howls for them…

Firelight ebbs and heat
retreats anemone like
as Cold Frosty Fingers touch it, poke it.

I rise from slumber, and smoke is blown away by
Cleansing icy arctic cold breaths.
Puffing and Huffing and blowing it away…

drowsiness dashed in the face by icewater
Thrown like wedding rice…and Deliverance
Waves her smelling salts under my nose.

My eyes snap open…wide…
awake, fully awake, again.
Thralldom swept aside,

indulgent chocolate emotional bon-bons tossed
Out and into the streets of never was land.
I open the door and let the frigid wind

embrace me, ravage me…
scrub me clean and cleanse me
North Winds of Truth and Sanity.

My eyes are open, and I am free,
to walk and look in
Crystal Clarity.

me in moments of chrystal truth

On the Beach

On the Beach

in sand, feet planted firmly
world spinning and whirring for moments
and moments

as tides advance in quick ranks
the foot soldiers of time
licking at the shore, nibbling with
foamy teeth and laughing in sandy throats.

I have watched decades for tide wars
and dances, as life ebbs and flows
in flux always, changing always but
steady, reliable…tangible and present.

I have seen it go around, and then come around again.
I draw comfort as I stand
and flex my toes in the loamy sand of you
and listen to your tides

quick and bright in small steady waves of order.
I have stood through storms, and through
Waxing, waning waves and winds
as planet you whirls and spins and turns.

And I have seen the tide come back in.
And I am content,
in the wind.

tumblr_mo20ieXGLG1rui2njo1_1280

 

 

 

 

Jewels in the Dung Heap

And there,
in the midst of the dung heap
a simple pearl, formed thru travail and trial,
given birth to by Lady Wisdom.

Daddy died and farm lost
and fresh start which was so scary…
perhaps just the beginning
of the end?

But a flock of friends,
well, really just one oyster
swallowed this solitary sand grain
and made a pearl

Faithful
Loyal
Considerate

lelo on low,
on medium,
lelo on high
angels we have heard on high

GLORIA

Fresh…yes.
So simple, yet so rare
in the dung of narcissistic natter.
and the tumult fades,
drowned out like flames soused
by living waters.

mundos-fragiles

Fallout

A storm came last month
Frightful winds and torrents
of tumultuous Weather
round and down

Beating on house,
on covering, on
Leaf and Limb.
Shuddering the walls
and singing a nightmare
lullaby to thready sleep.

When I woke, I went outside.
to take stock.
Sit. Look
at the damage.

And I saw a tree limb off.
Greedy ham hands
grabbed and wrenched
with windy stringy muscles
and huffing tendons and
tore it asunder.

Sap oozed out
of the rent trunk
as the tree wept
in pain and screamed
in sticky inarticulate
pitches.

I had to let it weep…
maybe it would heal
If it could harden
over and miss,
remember the limb
lost in the storm.

But perhaps it wouldnt.
The tree has not decided…today.
Still soft…but not sticky.
Still weeping, but not flowing.
But always missing,
remembering its wasness
on the way to its is-ness.

I saw a woman walk by…
she had been in a storm
and was cousin to my tree.

tumblr_mu0bnikTun1rhd8z4o1_500

Awakening

As wraiths of mist arise from a pond
As smoke at leisure settles our valley
As sun mounts the rim of our
small mountain world…

So also forms
gradually
In the flesh of my mind
a wreath of thought…

I wake, and it is you,
You there beside me.tumblr_kz6gufaXv41qao4gno1_1280

Sailing On

In the ether movements of the slipstream
my desire rises…lifts…groans great.

WHY??? Why cannot I have those like me, and me like they?

The wind carries laughter,
faint and exotic music…
happy screams and squeals
guitar riffs roiling up
and howling down
roller-coaster blues
rhythm and blues

Music of the gut,
sound of the loins
Sirens sounding,
and I, unlike Ulysses
cast off chains of my limbs…
so I can move…dance…
smile and lilt
and drink

For my chains are inside,
and my mast is unseen
I will listen…
I will look…
I will dance
And sail on

http%3A%2F%2F25.media.tumblr.com%2F9680953f712703f446475f1edbd97e88%2Ftumblr_mh1fxxhU5s1qj0so2o1_500

 

Slash and Burn

When great gouts of fire furiously
roar and run red, white, hot
and fast…sometimes
the only thing to do is slash and burn.

Tractors, mechanized beasts
screaming in heat
straining thru living
wood and hairy brush
as animals run and fall.

untitled

Slash the heart fast to save it.
And then burn…back to the fire with fire
and heat and fear matching fire and fear,
to stop the raging monster fast…
some gone to save all.

Today, memory fires
gnash, clash, snatch and
clutch at my heart’s
throbbing and raw throat.
Dry tinder laid by
yesterday’s careless prunings
catches…holds, and then flame
hungry minotar roaring
running raging

Amok in my heart,
hooves and horns
sharp and acrid
the slash and burn
of love to stop loss.
and I am aflame
I am passion
I am loss
I am love and light
and I am hurt

Until the fire dies,
never sated but eaten all
there is
and there isn’t
and new growth
begins again

fire

After The Rain by Bruce Cockburn

After The Rain

After the rain in the streets light flows like blood
I can just taste salt on the humid wind
Here comes that gasoline
Spreading hungry rainbow over shiny black tar
I’m blown like smoke and blind as wind
Except for when your love breaks in

Maybe to those who love is given sight
To pierce the wall of seeming night
And know it pure beyond all imagining

Engine throb street cruise light bullet car flash
Hollow beauty night gleam oily river tension glass
Ultraflame! Glittering dust falling in slow motion
Clouds tumbling one over another into apparent emptiness
It’s like a big fist breaking down my door
I never felt such a love before

Maybe to those who love it’s given to hear
Music too high for the human ear
And clear as hydrogen to go singing

 

By Bruce Cockburn

tumblr_mrklnmLErL1rou91ko1_500

OMFG…

I just read someone who said “F*** Gender Roles…” and then added some binary behavior from the opposite gender they are, as if that was transgressing gender roles.

Unwittingly this person was reinforcing that binary, and cis-sexism.

And they also decried the behavior of people in their life that think they own the person’s being…sorta like how all other people in my life own my gender?

Relationships that are not healthy are relationships based on the notion of possessing another, for whatever reason (completion, domination, whatever)…and the chains of enslavement are behavioral conduct and actions that hold the other hostage.

2054(borisovdmitry_com)Is the term “Emotional Terrorist” an accurate one?  If one does not get one’s way, they will blow them self and everything around up?

Waves of Creation, Waves of Me

In Waves creation runs
from the center to the ragged edge
from seething molten orange gouts
to static ponderous peaks frozen by
waves of wind
and Air.

Waves beneath me, around me, above me
pulled in place and parked, punked
by gravity waves and bridles.

Tidal waves
Shock waves
Sine waves
Light waves
Mountain Waves
Cloud Waves
Star Waves
I surf,

conscious at the intersection of all waves

Id waves
Ego waves
Super ego waves
Body Waves
Mind waves
Emotional Waves
Spirit waves
In the name of the Father (waves),
Son (waves),
and Holy Spirit (waves).

Last nite

Last nite

I sat out on the porch
The Stars sang overhead
Your voice sang in my ear
My blood raced and sang red

Red ran my love’s desire
And wetness sprang with joy
Your laugh set me on fire
My answer soothed your need

You looked for someone deeper
You wanted someone strong
Impetuous and steady
You said you wanted me.

In two nights we will wander
In summer vineyard growth
The stars o’er head will shimmer
And sing that ancient song

Of love, desire, and loving
Of kissing, touching, longing
I think that I am falling
But falling ever up.

Last nite, I sat out, talking
Just talking thru the evening
Melodious wondrous youness
Your voice my soul’s lost song.

tumblr_mhcbf3IJFC1qfphuao1_1280

Haunter of Worlds

You, who haunts my world
Echoes of meaning sounding like doves
Calling and cooing ‘cross the tumultuous river

You come walking
High fiery chariot flying
Wreathed in ribbons of flame

Yet where you burn ruin undoes
And the torrents tumble up and back
Source drawing all to Thyself

A great diamond draught

OH! Emissary eternal emerge!
Dare to glitter bold and green
And translucent

Dare to transcend and leave behind the fears of them
Who would equivocate and dilute One Truth into all truth.
Stand stark!  Reek of Eternity-fire, my Smoke, and FEAR NOT!

Coals from that altar seek lips, seek kisses…
Press past blistered parchedness and decimated crispy ashes!
Glide, RISE!!  Singular, unafraid and distinct!

Set apart, and unstoppable…

You…who haunts my world

Dearest Haunter of my world

stormbringer

Too often we are all about ourselves…

WE are all about ourselves.
So freely we spout to each other
that we love one another, but this
is really only a way of saying we are
attracted enough to someone to want
to keep them around because they
fill some need in US.

But true love involves
sacrifice, and discipline
to do what is best
for the other person
regardless of how
it helps or hinders
ourselves.

And if you do not wish
to do that, it’s ok…just
don’t say you love them.

If you are carnivorous and
in love with a vegan,
will you insist
that they eat meat,
just because YOU do?
And yet that’s what’s done
all the time, regularly…

“Well, I myself simply
MUST be honest,
so if it hurts YOU
too bad”…

honesty is good,
but it is a lot like acid…
useful if used with wisdom
and applied properly,
and corrosive if strewn
willy nilly.

Sometimes being honest
leads us to share feelings
that in and of themselves
are incorrect, incomplete,
or self centered.

Thus the act of honesty is merely
a magnifying glass on our ass-holery.
Speak the truth in love.
THAT is true honesty.

La-Dame-Blanche

Some Do…I awoke and shall never sleep again

“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world,
and you believe you are living. Then you read a book …
or you take a trip … and you discover that you are not living,
that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating
are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom:
absence of pleasure. That is all.
It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death.
Millions live like this or die like this without knowing it.
They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families.
They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place ~
a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them
from death. Some never awaken.”Anaïs Nin

tumblr_mndmyt72ME1s11oe8o1_500

The Must

As I have commented before, I think wine is the central metaphor that best explains the journey of Life, and the task we are all given.  In that post, I said that a good bottle of wine is the distillation of thousands of relational decisions made well…and that I long to be the distillation of thousands of relational decisions made well.

Harvest is/has happened, and Crush is upon us (oh CRUSH, be upon us always)…during crush there are many tasks that must be carried out, and one is called punch down, or pump over.  This is where the conglomeration of grapes, seeds, stems and other things that may have been able to make it through the sort and into the fermentor are all allowed to sit…this union is called “must”.  The solids soon float to the top and form a cap, and that cap has to be pierced with an implement, and punched back down into the juice so that flavor and color can be extracted.

Some wine makers use a pumping method, where they pump the juice from below over on top of the cap and create a mixing via that method.

Either way, the cap of skins, seeds, stems…the conveyors of what is precious and desired (the juice) has to be pierced, assaulted, and then ultimately removed at the right time to leave just the juice and its extracted color and flavor to ferment, transform and become wine.

I worked Evening Punch Down one year, and I was struck by the highly metaphoric parallel to my life, and the process of sanctification.  I bring my harvest to the King, and He receives it with Joy, good fruit!  And then He puts it through the crusher, and presses out the juice, crushing what I had brought of my best and greatest steps for Him…

ANGUISH!!!

But ultimately peace, and with time, a good wine that brings refreshment to others.  As I worked, and thought, the parallels grew stronger and deeper, and so I composed this poem to talk about that whole thing.

You need to read this out loud to yourself, for there is an intentional rhythm to it that emulates the rhythm of the punch as it operates to pierce the cap and mix the must with the juice.  Let your mind wander, to the work of the WineMaker as He punches down your “carnal cap” into the good juice in the Must of your life.

and of course the double entendre of Must is a major clue.

Anyway, without further prevarication, I give you The Must

The Must

I.
In still night the must calls…
pure flute and woodwind spice
scents rising soft, unseen
on bright brass trumpetings
of cunning magic hidden
to work a wonder war
on this old dreary world.
The deep bass heartbeat drums,
comes thrumming thru the must,
and swelling symphony
resurrects rituals
so old, so new, so fresh.
The dewy year looks up
to see the conductor,
and hear and breathe and live…
… in still night the must calls…

II.
We ride steady and tired
from our loving labor
and crusted with our works,
and wondering when we’ll end
tonight and sleep, and when
we’ll rise again, awake
in the new day to work
refreshed, to live again.
The cap is full and thick
and covering liquid fire
that’s running deeply dark,
so purplely rich and red,
the twigs, the stems, the seeds
and skins…the must so red…
beneath the silky skins
so softly rich within.

III.
So we punch down up down
again…and…then again.
Arms push and pull, backs bend,
wide smiles of working joy.
We’re captured in its rhythm,
the rhythm of the punch,
our hearts echo the singing
so red beneath our skins…
How many times, the punch?
How many years have sung?
Is this song That, played over
thru wooly years but changéd
instruments and players…
or do we bathe our spirits
in echoes of the echo
of echoes of The Song?

IV.
And still we punch…the air,
still, pregnant with passion,
a blanket full and heavy
with yeasty moist desire.
We plunge in–out–and breathe
in heady air that gooses
our heads giddy with wonder
and with creation’s dancing
and fragrant must desire
(Desire! Oh Desire…).
Sweat beads, drips, white blood running,
and falling into red,
and tumbling terroir breeding
its brick-bronze grape blood brew…
“unless you drink my blood
you have no life in you”…

V.
Then wet washing, flooding,
the ragged rinsing scours
away all evidences
of work, and only wine
is left fermenting…singing
and playing in the darkness
orchestral magic mysteries
and alchemal aromas
(plum leather chewy cherry
bright red chocolately berry
red purple blowzy jory
cigar-box smoky loam).
The lights dim, darkness drawing
the velvet curtain closed
but underneath: the song,
the must, and still the song…

VI.
In dark night the Must beats
so stridently inside me,
its pounding rhythms driving,
its needing, capped and covered
by Crush, and skins…and silver,
the silver punch is raising
and down again comes piercing,
and punching, rending roughly
the crusty carnal cap and
then pulling up the Must from
the purplely unknown deep
(deep calls out unto deep). Oh…
It breaks my stubborn body,
and rends my soul in darkness,
still the Must calls from body
to body…in the darkness.

VII.
Up and down and up and down
it pulls and thrusts and pushes
the jangly pain and joy…
The pungent Must shall mingle
with living dirt that’s red,
red underneath the skins, and
The Song! The Song… is floating…
It beckons, drives and drags me,
chained captive to the Crush and
the skins, the seeds, the stems and
the Must moves on, and in and
the Must moves thru and sings out…

in the night…

in the night…

in the night…

In still night the Must calls.