Danse Macabre (July 4th, 2016)

We are waltzing in this Danse Macabre,
spinning thru the fogs of night
while day is faltering in light
and our feet cannot stop or halt
but bloodytapping tripping faults
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See the fog dense, packed with fear
the terrifying new terrain is here
and each one drinking bloody cups
raised heedlessly and lifted up
against the screaming skies…
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We are now there.
You must not
look away…
Dixie Land
is our Promised
Land…alas!
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What is happening here at home?
In “America the Great”?  We roam
the “Homeland” in this late
hour dolorous and dangerous
we have been washed away by hate.

What has happened to
“The American Soul”
What the fuck is that, anyway?
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Dancing maniac-ally
at the cliff’s precipitous edge
and the fall is long deadly
but we have no recourse.
We have no recourse

because the only cure
has at long last become a curse
disparaged in our danse macabre
and mocked by all our ringing words
writ long ago as cover for

the drinking cup, the bloody cup
we lifted up in “Freedom”‘s name
and filled with slaveblood’s cursed stain
and now here in this hour dark?

Reason bleeds to death before our eyes.
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midst the fiddling of the powerful
and bodies littering the floors
of offices and restaurants
airports, clubs and nursery schools
and still we dance the Danse of Fools

How many families will be shattered
and offered up unholy terrors
on the altars of our dark god
foolishness?  And how we lecture

constantly wrapped in our privilege
disguised as Amendment Number Two
(it’s number two alright)
and truth dies screaming in the night
morality and reason run
in terrified time and treason comes
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to exterminate the drunken dancers
dead on feet dead to the horror
of the screaming suffering beings
that they dance upon and call it
streets of gold…welcome to hell.

Welcome to Hell.
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When I Look at Jameis Winston…

…I see a young O.J. Simpson in the making.

Will he continue to drift on currents to the same reefs, or will some storm arise and blow him to safety?  A Severe Mercy would be a mercy indeed.

But the truly tragic thing is the fate of those people who wait along the way, unknowing, unwitting, that they are seen as mere objects to be used or conquered.

Winston has said in statements that there is nothing worse than being accused of rape when one is innocent.

Really?

I know the pain of being falsely accused, but there is a fate far worse:  being raped and violated and no one believing that it happened, and then falsely accusing the victim of having brought it on herself thus deserving what happened to her.

Somehow in this twisted logic, Winston was the righteous one in doling out the just desserts of a deserving object who isn’t even a person, and Winston is the victim because we all have not glorified him for his righteous act, but have instead named him as a selfish animal who dehumanizes people and is drunk on self-aggrandizement and will go to any length to further defile a human being he already violated all the while touting himself as the innocent who is persecuted because everyone else is just jealous of his greatness.

Will it take bloody gloves and slow moving Broncos and a kangaroo court before we see true justice?

May that spirit that drove OJ Simpson to the ramparts of hell die with him, and find no purchase anywhere else…may the storm take Jameis Winston to an island lonely and stark, where he can be stripped of illusion and learn to love truth.tumblr_n0uxs56gh51qifn2ao1_500

The Only Thing Unusual About Ray And Janay Rice Is That Anyone Noticed

The Only Thing Unusual About Ray And Janay Rice Is That Anyone Noticed.

Good Morning Constance…if you would, please check out this link and read the article it goes to.  It is the smartest and most context-giving thing I have read in the latest uproar-media-storm about a high profile case…on something that has been going on so long and so much that probably most of you are not even aware that things like this and worse are happening right under your noses in your very own communities.

It is important to attempt to get a grasp of the scope of this issue…so that you, Constance, can begin to consider and weigh how you yourself think!  It is mindblowing, really, when you consider how language and the way you think affect your position on issues, your understanding of them…at least, that is what happens with me, so I assume that it is the same for others.

When you are done reading the article, take it a step further…the rate of the abuse and attack of transgender women as a subset of women happens at a rate so much higher per thousand, that in order to maintain the same ratio of attacks on women compared to attacks on trans-women there would need to be over 2 million assaults on biological women annually that ended up in serious hospitalization and/or death!

Trans-women of color are even at greater risk.

Constance, everyday I am out further and further.  I am having wonderful experiences and meeting so many great people…but I actually consider the wisdom of places and events before I go…and avoid places that I am likely to be assaulted!!  ME!!!  Charissa, the one that is dedicated to Grace and kindness!  Why?  Because there will be men there, intoxicated, and they will resent me for becoming myself and shunning male roles and all the privileges accorded them for the subservient place and role that women are consigned to…or, they may find themselves attracted to me in some way (though I dress very modest and am quite unassuming in the presence of strangers), and they attraction is likely to be accompanied by feelings of self-loathing, as they will assume that it implies they are gay

(which is foolish on so many levels and indicative of how our binary has stigmatized all orientations but male/female/hetero, and sadly the church has given its seal of approval on this approach and empowered this hate by not realizing the bible’s most basic teaching regarding sexuality is character teaching in areas of fidelity and faithfulness and the true loving and serving of one another).

For instance…my baby and I want to go to our city and attend the Octoberfest celebration…drink a few beers together, share a sausage or two, wallow in bad oompa music, and then walk along the waterfront holding hands and laughing…and if we do?  And if there is a drunken belligerent there?  And if he decides to “grace me” with his attentions, and then decides to force me into his world view…or worse?  No thanks.

Or, Constance…what if you and I were out one night as friends, having dinner, say at a sports pub or someplace where there was nightlife…and we had a grand time and were walking happily back to our car, when 4 or 5 drunks appear who had noticed us…and started to verbally batter us, insult us, sully us…and then worse…

No.

In the same way that I exhort you cis-gender readers to make a way, Abraham Lincoln style for we trans-gender human beings, I am exhorting you men to do the same for women.  Flat out fact:  until you men cease from viewing we women as “the weaker vessel” and that meaning anything other than finer, more intricate, delicately formed and less robust in the same way that a computer is more delicate than a sawhorse, you will yourself remain an oppressor of women and not even realize it!

Gentleman Reader:  when you first read of me being transgender…and leaving the shipwreck of manhood (for me it is just that) for the homeland of womanhood, did you recoil inside?  Think it odd?  Strange?  Feel a sense of derision or something similar?  And casting the net broader…have you ever teased or ribbed a male friend or associate by telling him he is “acting like a girl”?  Or “you are such a chick!” (use of the word chick, and then even deeper why is that insulting to a man).

These things dehumanize women!  They undercut the very love and commitment you profess to wives and daughters!  They reveal that at the core, you see us as less than, and thus will without thought manifest ownership and objectify us…your own wives and daughters!

There is a bible verse that says that a good wife is a crown to her husband, and a crown is something that confers royalty, authority, regalness.  A crown separates royalty from commonness and is worn on the head…higher than the head!

Well…I once had a dream (when I was still forcing myself to adhere to the role I was consigned to and blind to my own soul) and in the dream I saw a bunch of men from my church dressed in overcoats…they looked like flashers…and they were furtive and surreptitious…in a group like a bunch of adolescents gathered round a porn mag…and then, when I got close enough I could hear the conversation “…Hey, check out the crown I own!”  and “Hey, ya wanna see my crown?  It’s amazing…” and they would pull open their overcoats and “flash” one another with this crown they had attached to their body and dangling off like a careless canteen half full of water.  It was sickening, actually, because they imagined that this was honoring to their crown!

Of course, the symbolism here is men who subjugate women and then call it protection, or covering, or shielding…instead of having the confidence and faith to actually place women in that place that a crown belongs!

I woke up, and that verse was ringing in my ears, and I could see it against the darkened ceiling in flaming letters…and I began to cry…and my baby woke up and asked what was wrong, and I told her…and lamented all the times I had unwittingly done that…she graciously assured me this was not one of my flaws (thank god!), but that she experienced this sort of treatment so regularly it was shocking to her to have this view of the phenomenon!

We have a long way to go, Constance…

I have friends who have loving spouses who are so blind to this that they see my friends as extensions of themself, and thus will not allow them to do or be anything that is threatening to them! Oh, they are blind to it, and that is all the more tragic, it is that deep.

Anyway…read the article…and then, think about it…your language (what you say if you are male, and how you just take it if you are female), your assumptions…the next time you want to compliment a woman and she is “a wonderful little lady” (instead of an intelligent human being) “…such a sweet thing” (rather than committed to servant-living).

This is Charissa…and I want to actually be!

Kind
Generous
Committed
Courageous
Strong
Vulnerable
Visible
Articulate
Tender
Full of grace and mercy
Devoted

May Lady Grace grant it be so, to Their glory forever and the benefit of Their world, Amen.

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A Year Later, “Nothing” Has Changed Since Transgender Woman Islan Nettles Was Killed

A Year Later, “Nothing” Has Changed Since Transgender Woman Islan Nettles Was Killed.

*tears*

Constance…I really need your support…we human beings who are transgender need your support.  This link documents how we transgendered people are considered essentially sub-human, when we are considered at all.

It can only change as your identification of us as human is made an absolute axiomatic given.

I have sought here, at Grace Notes, to be an educator, a dialogue starter, an exhorter, an encourager…it is my hope that as you read here, listening to my words and feeling my heart, you can get in touch with the life, and verve, and passion, and hurt, and joy, and highs and lows (in other words, the human experience we share in common).

I am incredibly blessed…I am rich beyond compare when I consider my plethora of talents and gifts that have been bestowed on me…and I have a voice here through my writing, an opportunity to speak for those who have no voice, or have no way to express what they feel so all they can d is howl in despair and rage and pain.

But without you, we are nothing, and we count for nothing, and we can do nothing…because we do not have access to the power and privilege that you do.

Please…go read…and remember that each one of those precious souls was created in God’s Image, loved infinitely by God, and is just like you in their hopes, dreams, longings, fears.  They might have made different life choices, and we all know that life choices have consequences…but that doesn’t mitigate their worth, value, and significance.

I have been soo incredibly honored by so many of you with your trust, and rewarded beyond belief when someone will comment “my friend Charissa”…thank you!

I would be honored even deeper if you would begin to watch for an opportunity to befriend someone in your area, someone whom They would lead you to…there are a lot of “Charissas” out there…your kindness just might make the different between life and death.

Soo much grateful love…soo much earnest exhortation!

Charissa

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When enforcing gender norms turns violent | PBS NewsHour

When enforcing gender norms turns violent | PBS NewsHour.

Constance…re-posting this for your consideration.  I also encourage you to peruse the comment section.  This is rarely a good idea to do with online articles…but this time it is illustrative of the very subject of the article.

Be sure you put on your suit of armour though, and spray yourself with hate/ignorance/harassment repellant, as it is there in quantities of mass-pollution.

One of the hugest eye-openers to me was that of how the privilege I had been socialized into by virtue of being born in a biological male body and forced into that role by all powers from my parents to the church…that very privilege blinded me to the ways that I myself oppressed non-privileged human beings, even in my very attempts to help them!

My desires to help people, to show them the wonders of Divine Love, to assist them into higher ways of being…nearly always this was me policing the behaviour of others without actually entering into their world, bearing their burdens and identifying with them in their station…in other words, I was more a Pharisee than I was a Follower…

In prayers for the opening of the eyes of our hearts,

Charissa Grace

PS:  I do think that there is a way for a trans-person to live with grace and mercy, and assist the clumsy, the ignorant, the rude and the invasive…it takes courage first of all, then self-control, benign indifference to wounds that are minor, refusal to take offense over wrongs small or great, and a genuine welcoming heart for those who genuinely want to approach and reach out, but lack even the beginning tools to know how to put this desire into action.

In these last months, I have found that when I notice others who are uncomfortable or bound up around me, but sense that they wish to interact, if I simply tell them that I am newly transitioning, and I share in their awkwardness myself when I look in the mirror, it brings them a relief and freedom, and births genuine dialogue…they will give me permission to educate them, and actually leave glad, empowered to be kind, and an ally.

Hey…this is the very grace that we can, each and every one of us, extend to one another in all things, all ways and all times…it’s simple, really…but not easy.

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Transmisogyny a special flavor of hate from hell

This was written on a blog that I read that is about the specialized form of misogyny that transgender women face…transmisogyny.  I post it here to hopefully give you pause for thought.  While I am not in the dating market (thank God!), I still face the same kind of reaction from random people if I am not extremely careful.  This will continue until all of us women, cis and trans, stand together and say enough!  It is not acceptable that the baseline is we feel lucky if we aren’t assaulted and/or killed.

“When I mentioned that there were ways in which transmisogyny causes trans women to be more oppressed than cis women in certain areas, a lot of people got defensive. I’m against defining any kind of universal experience of womanhood, whether specific to trans or cis experiences. It will not be universally true, but transmisogyny can cause a higher degree of discrimination, hostility, and violence to come upon a trans woman.

Of course, many of the people who had defensive comments probably came from TERF sites or are otherwise hecklers, but I thought I’d make one point, regardless:

If you don’t think being perceived as a “fake sex object” (read: fake woman from a patriarchal lens) could be worse than being perceived as a “genuine sex object,” I would propose a little experiment. I do not recommend actually trying this experiment, but rather keeping it as a thought experiment due to the potential for physical danger:

If you don’t think you can come into a higher level of physical danger or otherwise be more oppressed by being perceived as a trans woman, cis women can try going to a bar (one that caters to a hetero crowd, at least) and wait for a man to approach them showing interest. Don’t tell them right away so as to scare them off, but after a few minutes of talking to a man who’s interested in you, just try telling them you’re trans. You never know when they’ll scream at you and call you an ugly freak (in spite of being really attracted to you ten seconds ago), or maybe they’ll follow you to your car and attack you. Maybe they’ll start to value your agency even less and assume you must be “easier” because you would have a “male sexuality.” Or just assume you’re a “freak” so you must “like to get freaky.”

You don’t know how they’ll react, do you? Neither do we. But one thing that can be considered a reliable conclusion is that they will not treat you with as much respect after disclosing trans status. And because there’s literally no universal difference between trans women and cis women, a cis woman could tell a man she’s trans and be treated the same way.

AGAIN: I DO NOT RECOMMEND TRYING THIS AT HOME – This is a thought experiment for cis women. If you try this, you WILL be in serious danger! However, that serious danger is what we’re EXPECTED to subject ourselves to every single time we interact with someone we’re interested in.

This is one reason why I wrote the statement, “Wait until you’re seen as…” because the way transmisogyny manifests in society is through perception, just like misogyny. Cis women CAN experience the same kinds of transmisogyny, all people need to think is that you were born trans, and that doesn’t require you to look, act, feel, think, etc…. any differently. You as a person won’t change in any way, but you will be seen a LOT differently, and that is definitively sexist.”

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Set her on fire…AFTER Killing her FIRST!

Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash

Constance…

I have been sitting on any comment on this murder and mutilation of a human being.  One of God’s Creatures, made in Their Image, and loved with unending love.

She was born into this world that we are all in…black, poor, and transgender.

I think the thing that just wracks my guts the most, that pours sorrow over my soul in Niagara-like forces, is that it seems so common in the murder of transgender women that there is post-death mutilation as well.  There is a rage, a wallowing in destruction as if the perp wants to baptize himself (and yes, I will say him…the incidence of transgender women being murdered by cis-gendered women is so small as to be nearly non-existent, and statistically doesn’t exist at all) in the suffering and dehumanization of his chosen victim…dare I say even to feed on her?

I waited, hoping that there would be some outrage, some stirring of effort, some valuing of her as unique and precious…but no…the response has been tepid at best, and at worst, well the usual tropes and defenses of the ruling paradigm beat her life and history into its stereotype.

This essay, posted in its entirety, does a good job of articulating outrage over this horrific act.  While my vernacular might have taken a wee bit different form, my emotions over this run no less high.

What would you think if a child’s body was discovered behind a dumpster, having first been murdered and then set on fire after she was dead?  Or a teen-age youth group president and cheer queen?

Yeah…I thought so.

Until we feel the same sense of justice on behalf of the least, we will never have the eyes and ears we so desperately need to become true Children of God.

In sorrow and tears, with no joy…Charissa Grace

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

Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash

Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash

In horrific news out of Fort Myers, Florida, a trans woman of color has been murdered, and her body set on fire, then dumped in a garbage bin. I just can’t right now, I just can’t even.

According to a local media outlet, the victim was identified as Yazmin or Yaz’min Shancez, which was the woman’s preferred name according to her family, although the police reported that her documents had not yet been changed to reflect this. The same report quoted Fort Myers Police Lt. Jay Rodriguez as saying the police have not determined a cause of death, and are not investigating the homicide as a hate crime.

We have no indication at this time to say this was specifically done because it was a male living as a female or anything like that. If you really think about it, a hate crime is killing someone for a specific reason, being black, Hispanic, gay. We’re investigating as we would any other homicide.

…I’m sorry, Officer Rodriguez, but are you trying to suggest here that killing someone because they’re transgender isn’t a specific enough reason? Or maybe that the reason doesn’t count because it’s not on your official “hate crime” cheat sheet? If I really think about it? Jesus fucking Christ, sir, I think about it constantly. Do you typically see non-hate crime related homicides that end with burning the already dead body and then dumping it like worthless refuse in a garbage bin? Is this a pattern in Fort Myers which makes it like “every other homicide?”

Her father, identified as Harvey Loggins, said that he and his family left balloons and stuffed animals in the small private drive in an industrial area of the city where the garbage bin was located.

With the exception of her father (who continued to use male pronouns, despite his daughter’s identity), the majority of her family appears to have accepted her decision to live as a woman, which she apparently began to do in 2004. Her aunt, Beatrice Loggins, spoke lovingly of Shancez, citing her uniqueness as a person.

Nobody deserves that. Straight, gay, purple, pink, white, black. Nobody…There will never be another T, you couldn’t clone her, couldn’t mold her.

Cousin Jasmine Weaver seemed at a loss to understand the crime (you and me, both, Jasmine, you and me both).

We don’t know of any person who would do something like that to T. It’s mind-boggling. You’d never think that would happen to your family.

Mind-boggling? Horrific. Abhorrent. And an altogether too common reality for transgender people, especially trans women of color. I’d love to shout from the rooftops that this is so horrible because it is incredibly rare. Well, it’s not. It happens all the goddamned time.

And if this story could get any worse, if that’s at all possible when dealing with such a terrible crime, this is a second heartbreak for the family. They have already lost one child, as Shancez’s 15-year-old little sister was also murdered, gunned down in a drive-by shooting almost exactly two years before.

I hate everything right now.

Image via NBC-2 Broadcast.

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