“This Has To Stop”: Okay, whatchya gonna do about it?

Her Name Was Taylor, by Lori Duron

Constance, I often run across the statement “This has to stop” in connection with accounts of the bullying and suicide epidemics that transgender people face.  And that is good, that people are beginning to get it, the monstrous othering and policing that we face every single G Dam day of our lives simply because we were “guilty” of being born into this life with the knowledge that our gender orientation and our assigned birth biology are at odds.

But I am restive with the ease with which in this internet age we can flourish our fingers over a keyboard and then move on from post with the feeling that we have actually “done something”, when all we have actually done is in effect restate the problem without attempting resolution.  It is sorta like having a math test and re-writing the problem
6 + 11 = x      as   
x = 11 + 6  (and we be sure to draw attention to our use of different colored font and italics).

Compassion is a bicameral quality.  It has two lobes.  It has the feeling, heart lobe…that throbbing, dripping, bleeding tender outpouring of sympathetic alignment if we have not experienced something for ourselves (and just so you know:  if you are not transgender, it is impossible for you to empathize with a dysphoric person, just as if you are white you cannot empathize with a person of color…you can sympathizebut don’t deceive yourself into thinking you empathize)…

…but for it to be true compassion, it must have the action side as well.  What will you do with your sympathy?

Lori Duron has again posted a truly moving recounting of a tragic tale of bullying and othering and policing that ended in another transgender life lost…and I will recite yet again the litany of 2015:  a lost transgender life approximately every 30 hours since 2015 began!

As if it is not enough of a burden to face:  the nearly overwhelming unendurable constant achy angst of dysphoria.  Oh no…to that is added the onslaught of ignorance, fear, and hatred as expressed in the evil of bullying which drives so many to self-destructive action in addition to having to bear gender dysphoria!

But Lori goes one better:  She posts people you can email, places you can step up and actually take action that extends beyond the hypothetical feel good phrase “This has to stop” and manifests in real, measurable action…and takes baby steps as a compassionate act.

And then I myself will go you one better:  there are marches coming up in major cities…in June.  They have various names, monikers…but at heart they are the same, in that they are opportunities for you to express–directly–your support with your body side by side with other bodies, facing gawkers and haters, the curious and disinterested, and others who have walked in solitary confinement in their skins…

Transgender Pride Marches.

Yes, there will be people there who look different than you…who walk or talk different than you…and who want/feel/think/need/deserve exactly the same things you do as human beings!  Your presence there as an ally will mean more to them than any of them can say…in addition to the emails you write or the lawmakers you contact, or the PTA meetings you attend to make your cis-gender privileged voice heard that it is not going to be tolerated, this epidemic of transgender suicide and murder…and your other actions that you are thinking of and planning to take.

You are thinking of them?  Actions to take?  Plans to do something?  Someone you can maybe even smile at?  Befriend?

In the Portland Area, I believe Transgender Pride March Day is June 13th.  I hope to be there and intend to be, God willing.  I intend to walk, with a sense of presence and dignity (a word I use very reluctantly right now as it has been wielded against me like a sharp phallic sword to rape my heart and spirit, but I use it none the less to mean a sense of presence that contains worth and significance simply because I am a human being)…I intend to hold my head high and not angled down, and my eyes moving from face to face and eye to eye rather than always staring at the space in between…

I hope to see you there, beside me…cis, trans.  But if I don’t?  It would mean the world to see you standing at the curb, a smile on your face and a nod in your eyes.

This has to stop…this expression of emotion that lacks the manifestation of action.

If you don’t support in word and deed, then you don’t support.tumblr_mv4lfyu1MH1szrg39o1_r1_500

California Department of Education Lies, Does Not Investigate LGBTQ Bullying

I cannot even begin to speak of how I feel after reading this. Thank yous to Lori for finding her voice to write about what I felt frozen by.

If you read this, and then go on business as usual, you need to realize: there may be someone in your circle of influence who is either bullying or bullied.

Your involvement could make all the difference.

We feel the tragic nature of these sorts of things because someone unique, utterly precious and beyond priceless has been snuffed out. But the same principle holds the other way: you…you yourself are unique, and have a power and a voice that impacts the universe.

But only if you use it. If you don’t, well we all know the black tide that seeks to erode everything and pull it into itself and its seething mass of hurt and horror.

Raising My Rainbow

Ronin-cheerleader.jpg.pagespeed.ce.3GDLKTtQ8BRqgOhqwhHY Ronin Shimizu

Like my son, Ronin Shimizu was a young boy living in California. He was a cheerleader, like my son hopes to be one day. Ronin is described as positive and happy, like my son is often described. He endured bullying because he liked something that some people is “only for girls.” Sadly, my son knows exactly how that feels.

Last week, 12-year-old Ronin decided to end the bullying by ending his life.

I worry every day that my son will have this too in common with Ronin. Because the group of kids like Ronin and my son have the highest rate of suicide attempts in the world.

The articles about Ronin’s death report that in the years leading up to his suicide, Ronin’s parents made multiple complaints to his school about the homophobic and gender-based bullying their son was experiencing. The school’s response was inadequate and the bullying…

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To The PTA Moms at My Son’s School

Constance, you have heard me speak of Lori Duron before, seen my reblogs of a few of her posts…well, I am back reblogging (again)! I just had to!

Why? Because she basically wrote the model post for how to refute your haters/detractors/opponents/ignorant people very free with feedback/etc. Written with intensity and self control, scintillating and uncompromising without resulting to the tactics of fear or manipulation or ad hominem attack, she shows us all how to defend without defaming. I was honored as I read it.

Let’s all learn from Lori, and then take our courage in hand and refuse to let haters and ignorance-imbibers rule the day.

Charissa

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Raising My Rainbow

Last week I published a blog post about things said during a PTA meeting I attended at my youngest son’s school. I wanted to shine a light on the homophobic, transphobic, insensitive, hateful and hurtful things that some moms said during the meeting and show that as far as we have come in LGBTQ acceptance and equality, there is still much work to be done. And sometimes that work needs to be done in heavy doses at places much closer to home than we’d like.

Almost immediately, PTA moms from our school started commenting, messaging and reacting viscerally on social media.

As they did, I stared at the PTA tagline: Every child, One voice. I’m not convinced that our PTA as a whole cares about every child and some of the voices I heard that night are not voices I want speaking on behalf of my child. That being said…

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The Last PTA Meeting I Will Ever Attend

Constance, I am reblogging this post from the amazing Lori Duron who writes over at “Raising My Rainbow”…one of the very best WP joints in this platform.

Please head over for a writing treat…but be ready to have to actually be a human being who strives to practice the golden rule…or you won’t last.

Love, Charissa

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Raising My Rainbow

PTA-logoImagine my utter delight when I learned that at the next PTA meeting, someone would be speaking about the anti-bullying laws in place to protect LGBT and gender creative kids.

Although I’m a card-carrying PTA member, I’ve attended only three PTA meetings in my six years as mother to an elementary-school-aged child. Each time I sat through the meeting feeling like the PTA wasn’t the place for me.

But, hell, if they were going to be discussing LGBT and gender issues, maybe I had been wrong.

I walked into the crowded Multipurpose Room and found a seat in the back corner by myself. I listened as the PTA board and its members ran through the agenda. When they started passionately discussing the nutritional value of whole-wheat goldfish crackers versus original goldfish crackers, I tuned out. I will never argue about goldfish crackers; of that you can be sure.

Finally it…

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“There is always more to a situation than what you can perceive from the outside ” Queen Latifah

What I Learned From Raising My Rainbow | QueenLatifah.com.

What a fabulous and thoughtful glimpse into the intelligent and compassionate soul of Queen Latifah.

Just.  Read.   You will be glad you did.

Love Always, in Grace and Peace,

Charissa

Constant Reader…a Request?

I love Lori Duron, who is one of the best most supportive parents I am aware of.  She has been chosen to shepherd, protect, mother and ultimately empower a wonderful child who has a great destiny.  I am so encouraged when I read her posts, and I confess that I wonder what my life would have been like in an environment like she is creating for her child.  Will you do me honor by reading the post below, and then…do your part!  Add your kindness, your strength, your passion to truly LOVE to your environment…together we can make this life better…one step at a time.

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We Can Do Better, We Have to Do Better

February 13, 2014

Post submitted by Lori Duron, author of “Raising My Rainbow”

Had my son taken the Human Rights Campaign’s Youth Survey, he would have listed his gender identity as “Gender Nonconforming” and, when asked how male or female he felt, he would have had a hard time giving just one answer because he says it depends.  Sometimes he feels more like a girl, sometimes he feels more like a boy, sometimes he feels like he’s right in the middle and sometimes he goes from boy to girl and back again several times throughout the day.

My son didn’t participate in the survey because he wasn’t old enough.  He’s only seven.  From the time he was able to, he has described himself as a boy who only likes girl stuff and who wants to be treated like a girl.  During the last two years he has taken to using the term gender nonconforming to describe himself.  He has also learned to keep his gender identity private when he doesn’t feel safe sharing it.

Sometimes he dulls his sparkle because others don’t know what to make of it.  He’s had people hurl homophobic slurs at him.  He’s had peers in the school bathroom try to see if he has a penis or vagina.  He’s had adults tell him to stop being a sissy and to “man up.”  Today, he was told to “go jump off of the Tyler Clementi Memorial Bridge.”  All because my seven-year-old boy likes pink more than blue, dolls more than trucks, skirts more than pants.

It’s scary raising a child; it’s even scarier raising a gender nonconforming child.

Like the youth from HRC’s survey, my son has a complex view of gender.  He doesn’t fit into a neat and tidy gender box.  He’s not all boy and not all girl.  He’s okay with that; but the world around him isn’t.

Imagine raising a child who — according to the survey – will feel less happy than their peers; is more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol; views their life goals as unachievable; believes they have to leave home in order to be accepted; feels unsafe at school; and finds religion to be unloving.

Today, I asked my son a question from the survey.

“C.J., do you feel happy or very happy?”

“I feel very, very, very happy,” he replied.

Only four percent of gender expansive youth feel “very happy” and they have the highest rates of being “very unhappy.”  Less than half reported having an adult in their family to turn to when feeling worried or sad.  Less than one third feel like they are accepted at school – a place where they report being excluded and verbally and physically harassed.

I imagined being one of the youth from the survey and feeling unhappy, alone, rejected and unsafe.  A healthy adult wouldn’t tolerate those living conditions, but children do every single day because they have no choice.

“You’re very brave,” I said to my son seemingly out of nowhere.  He shrugged his shoulders as if to say “I know” or “I have to be” or “What are my options?”

He may be very, very, very happy now, but according to HRC’s survey, over the course of the next six years that has a high likelihood of changing drastically and dramatically.  That is not okay.

We can do better — we have to do better — for these kids.  Learn about gender; have an open heart and open mind; operate from a place of kindness and empathy, not hate and judgment; be thoughtful, not thoughtless; and care for children the way an adult should.

Please, read the survey results as found in HRC and Gender Spectrum’s report, “Supporting and Caring for Our Gender Expansive Youth,” and let’s do better, be better.