Inspirational Transition Montages Will Have You Cheering

Words cannot describe the hope this gives me…I encourage you to check out these videos, in that exposure to the truth and information they highlight and illustrate will serve to further normalize the existence and acceptance of transgender humans and the process of transition as yet another miracle and blessing of our modern science and technology and medicine.

And by the way…what transitions are you challenged with in your life?  Rest assured they are there, waiting for you, and we are but a living parable on display for you that you might yourselves make the transformations you are called to make (and no, I am not speaking of gender here…they with ears, hear).

Inspirational Transition Montages Will Have You Cheering.

The Daily Dot – RuPaul still hasn’t learned his lesson on transphobia

Another thoughtful essay on the Ru Paul mash-up…this time demonstrating that this important spiritual principle:

Judge not, lest you be judged.  For the measure you use to judge others will be used to judge you.

Tragically, when an oppressed group finally gains some measure of freedom, liberation and self-definition, they turn around and do the very things that were done to them to the next least powerful group onhand.  This happens in all realms and strata of humanity:  sexuality, gender, race, religion, economic class…it is unfortunately endemic to the human race and is part of our tragically flawed and broken nature.

To rise up…to overcome this low road…this is our task and our heart…or should be anyway.

The Daily Dot – RuPaul still hasn’t learned his lesson on transphobia.

Petition | Please apologize for your Transphobic language | Change.org

OK…this essay below is on fire!  It is packed with topics and experiences that I want to write about and make poems about in the coming year.

The crucial thing that is highlighted, and has also captured my thoughts right now is this:  the validation of the current paradigm can actually be a reinforcing of that paradigm without intending to!

Our thinking has to be truly new, other…and very careful (as in full of care, and not cautious or apprehensive).

Words have power and meaning.  They are magic and creative.  They are time machines, and magic wands.  So…read the essay, and then think, think again, and then speak.

With your heart.  With your words. With your touch.

With your life.

Petition | Please apologize for your Transphobic language | Change.org.

Why I must come out: Geena Rocero at TED2014 | TED Blog

 

This is worth your time and effort to watch…

love the revelation of talent, intelligence, warm and engaged humanity and class that is on display as more and more transgender human beings find voice and platform to simply BE THEMSELVES!

It is breathtaking to me…and yet, think about it:  actually what is happening is the same as what happens in all other ways when human beings get a chance to be known.  What is new and revolutionary is that transgender people can now more often be see more clearly and without the presuppositional blinders and assumptions that created such prejudging and thus hatred, fear and rejection.

Please…consider that interaction you may have today…without knowing it you may be giving a cup of water to the least of these, and entertain angels unawares.

Why I must come out: Geena Rocero at TED2014 | TED Blog.

My Trans Story is Not Your Growth Experience

My Trans Story is Not Your Growth Experience.

This is one of the sharpest and to the true point essays I have read in recent times.  I am going to copy the whole thing here, but encourage you to follow the link as well…she deserves sober consideration for the topic she raises, and her pointing out of how we have unconsciously taken the other and turned their struggle into the affirmation of ourselves and thus have inadvertently reinforced the sexist and privileged paradigm that dictates thought is quite insightful and perhaps on the border of revolutionary.

When I say “we” and “our”, I am speaking of our society today collectively, and not myself specifically…but I will admit here that the lightbulb went on for me…and now, when I encounter people who do this around me, and some who have even done it with my own story, I will be armed to speak truth to power, albeit in my own way with Grace and Mercy and Kindness as my riverbanks, that the water from me will edify and build even as it challenges and changes.

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The Toast’s previous coverage of trans* issues can be found here. This post brought to you by figwiggin.

Last year, my girlfriend and I spent our first Christmas vacation together in my hometown of Dallas, TX. We’d been together for only a few months at the time, but she was excited to see the town I grew up in, so we boarded a flight after finals and landed a miserable 10 hours later. At the border an agent accosted me over discrepancies between my passport and my appearance.

This began happening more regularly after I started taking hormones in 2010, and for obvious reasons. Why a terrorist would be dumb enough to get a fake passport with an opposite gender marker, an opposite gender picture, and an opposite gender name is beyond me, but apparently the USA is absolutely terrified of such an eventuality. As the Hank Shrader-looking fellow glazed dumbly over the 5 pieces of ID I placed before him, I wore the same expression I always wear in these situations. I cock my head slightly, narrow my eyes, and swallow my lips as if someone is presenting a desiccated cat to me and I’m pretending to be nonchalant about it.

Several days later, my partner and I went to Barnes & Noble and I spied a book out of the corner of my eye bearing a name like My Husband Wears My Clothes or From John to Jane or something like that. Ever since I became aware of my trans-sexual identity I’ve become very attuned to this sort of thing. I suppose it’s like gay-dar, but much less sexy. I have a knack for immediately noticing any piece of media that even suggests trans-sexuality, as if I had heat-vision goggles on.

I cracked open the book, and immediately shut it. Of course. This was a memoir of another cis-woman who finds she isn’t as enlightened as she thinks she is when she finds her “husband” raiding her panty drawer and is subsequently transformed into a better person through the grace and patience of her partner.

As a member of a minority whose voice is very rarely heard, much less listened to, seeing such a piece of media unfailingly irritates me. It makes me feel like Richard Pryor in The Toy. My presence in another person’s life leads them to grow as a character, to undergo an arc. Character arcs are what define protagonists in stories. If a character goes through some trials and challenges and ultimately comes out of the story a different person, for better or worse, then they are a more fully realized character. As a trans person in this narrative I am relegated to a plot device. An obstacle. Something that must be overcome in order for the real protagonist, the cis-woman, to complete her arc.

Obviously the stories of partners, parents, and friends of trans people are valuable. The existence of this book and the multitude of books like it (see: Sex ChangesAlmost PerfectTrans-sister Radio) as well as films like Normal, provide comforting narratives for these people who are struggling with deep emotional questions about their own identities, attitudes, and beliefs when confronted with a profound change in someone close to them.  Transition is hard for all parties involved, and all emotional struggles are important. As a feminist it would be unbecoming of me to suggest that some perspectives are not valuable.

That said; I am completely sick of it.

Trans-sexuals are one of the most marginalized groups in North American society today: 1/5 of us are homeless for a portion of our lives; 57% of us are rejected outright by our families; 30% of us have a physical disability or mental condition; we have double the rate of unemployment of the general population, and half report being harassed on the job; we have four times the national average of HIV infections; 41% of us have attempted suicide; and these numbers get even worse when whites are separated out from the rest of the sample, leaving only racial and ethnic minorities.

One very effective method of countering all of these effects is the introduction of an accepting network of family, friends, and partners. In this way cis-centric narratives about trans people are very valuable to the trans community. My partner, who is a cis-woman, owes a small portion of her awareness of trans identities to a book she read at 14 called Luna, a young adult novel about a cis-girl and her transgender sister. I probably owe my sanity to my girlfriend. I love her, and if this book played a small part in expanding her mind, then surely it deserves to exist.

Please understand: it is not the cis-centric narratives themselves that I take issue with, but rather the prioritization of these narratives over stories of the actual marginalized population here, which in the case of trans-sexuals, in particular trans-women, means a population that generally lacks positive role models and protagonists of our own. We need role models in order to understand ourselves, and to have positive self-conceptions, especially considering we live in a society that largely despises us. It is not difficult to extrapolate that such a hateful cultural landscape would instill in us a profound self-loathing, a feeling of being freakish and different.

Yet, the most privileged narrative about trans people is not our story, but rather the story of how the cissies learn from us to not be complete asswipes, and are subsequently showered with praise and hole punches on their liberalism card.

Stories from the perspective of the “normals” which look in, almost voyeuristically, on the lives of the non-normals, are baby’s first empathy. It is far easier for the privileged to view the oppressed through the eyes of someone they can identify with, and that identification comes from a shared privilege. It’s a stepping-stone to truly feeling empathy for those who are different, even radically different, from you. However, it feels like many simply stop there.

On this level it makes perfect sense to me that stories like mine aren’t the ones getting the spotlight. Trans-gender people by their very nature fly in the face of thousands of years of shared cultural expectations of the immutability of gender, gender expression, and sex itself. Some see us as traitors, as traps, or as generally incomprehensible altogether. Even some feminists and gay activists shy away from us, or even go so far as to outright detest us. We complicate matters of gender and sex, changing them from static constructions to mutable shades of grey, just as the gays do, only more so. In order to understand us it makes sense to me that people would use a metaphorical telescope to view us instead of getting up close and personal. Cis-centric narratives are that telescope. They keep us at arms length and view us through a lens that is at once reductionist and familiar.

This is a necessary stepping-stone toward building empathy, but it is just that. A step. It is very worrying to me that this step is given so much more prominence than the actual lived experiences of minorities simply because it is easier and more palatable to the privileged.

At the time of this writing I haven’t traveled back home yet for Christmas 2013. My partner will be coming with me again, and for the first time since I embarked on this journey I will finally have a passport that reflects my true self. I received sex reassignment surgery in May, which made me woman enough for the Canadian government to stamp a tiny F next to my new name (yes, our stories continue on after the big surgery in the 3rd act.)

My girlfriend has never once said anything remotely transphobic to me, has never asked any prodding questions without my consent, and was fully supportive of me getting my surgery without ever suggesting that I don’t know what I need or how to run my own life. She doesn’t just owe this to some book, but to her own intelligence and introspective abilities, as well as her willingness to listen and learn. It is really not that hard to treat us like human beings. She is proof of that.

 

The Bad Guy | Women’s MMAWomen’s MMA

Personally, I abhor MMA in all its varied forms.  Perhaps I will write about that in a separate post that is written at a much different level than the post below which is actually using MMA as a specific example of the awful things transgender people face everyday on a vast scale…

As you read through the article, pay attention to the ways that the current paradigm of judgement and privelege works agains the “other” regardless of sex/gender/race.  THAT’S where the actual transformation must occur…deep in the fabric of thought in our time and culture.

Consider ways that you can simply change that way of thought/being/living in your own small little space…soon, all those spaces begin to intersect and a sea-change can take place.

The tides are changin!

 

The Bad Guy | Women’s MMAWomen’s MMA.

6 Ways Trans Women Are Helping Deliver Gender Equality – PolicyMic

There are a lot of articles out today that I am running across that I think are worth re-blogging.  Please check them out for an enlightening read.  I am challenged by this one, the notion the author floats about transgender people perhaps leading the way on these issues…scary-exciting!

 

6 Ways Trans Women Are Helping Deliver Gender Equality – PolicyMic.