Friday, February 27, 2015

The Furious Flower

So far, (and I'm knocking on every single wooden surface I can find so I don't put a hex on the whole year), 2015 is looking fabulous for our resident genius, DJ.  She, along with some of her peers,  has been selected out of over 400 NASA community college scholars to go to a NASA facility where they test rockets.  Excuse the pun, but we are all OVER THE MOON about this.  OK, not all of us-we can't track Bulldog down at work so he still doesn't know yet.

Goodwrench, (who deserves a different moniker now that he has left that line of work and works in a lab now-yeah Goodwrench!!) and Romeo are thrilled for their sister.  Flying Pig is bragging on Facebook.  Mimi is tickled pink.  Bean is so proud.

DJ is typically modest about all this.  As I read Flying Pig's Facebook post denoting her "freakishly smart, genius niece," DJ just shook her head and said, "I don't think of myself that way."  I replied, "I know you don't and that's part of what makes you so lovable."

I don't know if she'd ever have gotten this far as JD.  All that emotional, intellectual and creative effort would have been channeled into keeping up the facade of JD; JD quite possibly might never have achieved all "he" could living the false identity "he" was living.  No sooner did DJ come out as her true self than she started to blossom-and furiously!!!  

#Proud mama!  If only we could reach Bulldog!! Ten bucks says he gets all choked up on the phone… 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Never too old or too young to come out

It appears more people in the public eye know, love, or possibly are, transgendered folk.  As a rule, I'm not a Hollywood follower.  I rarely watch TV anymore, only go to the movies a few times a year and never watch the awards shows, but I do take note of magazine covers when I'm standing in line at the grocery store. Granted, the magazines at the grocery store are not scholarly or peer-reviewed, but there are some whose headlines I may consider true-ish.

Bruce Jenner's transition has been in the "gossip" papers for some time.  While Jenner's look is certainly changing, far be it for me to assume that a transition it taking place, despite the appearance of it. Yet, when People magazine featured his story, I began to believe it might be true.

http://www.people.com/article/bruce-jenner-transition-whats-next

What I like about the article is that it attempts to educate in an appropriate fashion; the article explains what the term "transgender" means, to a fair enough degree.  While most of us are sheep and tend to readily accept whatever famous people do as "normal,"in this instance, it is a good thing!  Certainly, when Jenner's kin elect to broadcast the details of their personal lives on TV, they simultaneously become laughingstocks, and, to some, role models.  I shudder to think that DJ would ever engage in some of the public ridiculousness that is being Kardashian, but…well, some people simply insist on engaging in idiocy.  However, there are instances when publicity can help "normalize" others who are otherwise and inappropriately viewed as "abnormal," and are thus marginalized.

When celebrities use their status to inform, to educate, to foster equity and acceptance, not merely tolerance, they have used their privileged status well.  Kudos to Brangelina for publicly sharing their support of their child who currently seems to be living as a young boy with XX chromosomes.  Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have shared her story of her battle with cancer in an effort to educate, but also to share their story of supporting John, their oldest biological child. I hesitate to refer to John's gender, while it may seem obvious, because until John's parents can share the gender identity John professes, far be it for me to suggest anything.  Not my place.  Nonetheless, the fact that John's birth certificate identified John as a natal female and Brangelina "permit" John to, one, be called John rather than the name they gave John, which was Shiloh, and further purchase clothing that John desires, rather than what society might dictate, all the while very much in the public eye, denotes their obvious love and acceptance of their child.  Given societal propensities to accept as gospel that which comes from the rich, famous and beautiful, it seems the Pitt/Jolie family heads have made good use of their prominent positions, while I doubt that was their goal.  Their goal was likely to simply be good parents to their kid.

http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/2014/12/20/brad-pitt-and-angelina-jolie-support-their-kid-wearing-suits

It's interesting that the two individuals I mention as being possibly transgender are of such disparate ages and both appear to be embracing their true selves, and in the public eye.  I can only wonder at what it's like for Jenner as the "male" Jenner face and identity has been well-known in America for decades.  So many of us thought that winning the decathlon would be Jenner's crowning victory, when actually, coming out may be.  John's "male" name and style of dress seem to indicate John is already  out of, and perhaps was never in, the closet.  How very different experiences they are.

Truthfully, I'm thankful for those who share their stories in the public eye.  It takes enormous courage.  I'm thankful for anyone who has the courage to be themselves, because they too are in the public eye in their own worlds.  For those parents whose kids are coming out, this world is far different than it was even five years ago when conducting a search for "transgender" support led to few places.  I'm not purporting to say you have it easier, only that I'm thankful there are more faces to see that happiness for your child is possible, and to know that there are more resources available.

For my part, as I've not posted anything new regarding resources, I will do some searching and see if I can't update the links on this blog.  If anyone cares to share what they know, please do. Either enter a comment or shoot me an email. My email is openarms2lgbt@gmail.com 



Peace to you all.




DJ has a new sister

Congrats to Romeo and Juliet!!! They are recently engaged to be married.  Juliet already told DJ that they're sisters now and that, of course, DJ will be a bridesmaid.  I think DJ is tickled pink at their happiness and the promise of the sister she never had.  Good stuff :)


Friday, February 6, 2015

Mission: The STARS!

Boo-Yah!!! DJ has been accepted as a transfer student into the four year college she wanted. She'll be a physics major.  Our girl has set her sights, figuratively and literally, on the stars.  She's decided she hopes to be an astronaut someday. She's off to a great start as she completes the final stages of  her design for a Mars Rover for a NASA- sponsored study program.

Her brain is….well, it's out there.  I've said it before and I'll say it again: I have no idea where she came from 'cause there ain't nothin' in the DNA on either side of the family that will explain her brilliance! And she loves learning. She gets all giggly and talks fast and gestures…it's adorable and inspiring.

Another best part: DJ wrote a letter to the Dean of her community college thanking them for the NASA opportunity. In return, the community college published a piece on DJ in their newsletter. That led to a faculty person contacting DJ to see if she'd be interested in speaking to girls in middle school about going into the sciences.

I'm thinking back on the tough years and will readily admit, I had difficulty envisioning my child being happy. Not because she is a transgender person, but because the world can make life difficult for transgender persons.  I hoped for this kind of opportunity for her in any part of her life she chose.  Seeing it come to fruition is sublime…..astronomically sublime.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

ZERO is the goal

It's 9:40 in the evening and I just finished my homework. I'm finally finishing my Bachelor's degree, just in time for my 50th birthday in May.  I'm a masochist because I'm taking accelerated, 8-week classes, four at a time, to finish quickly.  I cannot wait for this 8-week session to end.  The courses that I thought would be so interesting are just plain making me mad, mad, mad.

One is on sociology and another is on ethics in management. Both topics are zeroing in on discrimination and all its forms: gender, age, orientation, race, ethnicity…ad infinitum.  Any attempt to have a real discussion among my online peers is met with the sound of crickets chirping.  Oh, lest I forget-one person did respond to my post about sexism to say that it was some people's "perspective."  As if pay disparity is up for interpretation: "You say Po-tay-toe, I say Po-tah-toe."

Another guy actually wrote that "racism isn't as much of a problem anymore." Any people of color who care to chime in on this?  Any female people of color care to chime in?  Or, how about the triple whammy: any transgender female people of color care to comment?  The fact of the matter is that a person's "perspective" tends to be skewed by which end of the racism, sexism, or any other "ism" specter one is on.  I would be surprised to hear a natal white man say of black people, "Hey, it ain't so bad for you people anymore. It's not like people are burning crosses in your yard nowadays."  True, but black kids are getting shot, without real provocation, nearly exclusively as a race, by figures of authority who are almost exclusively white.

Or on my asking a D.C. firefighter, who was trying to recruit new hires, what it's like being a female firefighter in D.C., to have him reply that they have "this one" who is great and they "let her" hang with them.

So yes, President Obama mentioned transgender people and yes, it was glorious.  But clearly, that has not laid LGBT discrimination to rest-it has served only as a wake-up call.

I'm a paramedic/firefighter and I tend to equate many things to paramedic analogies.  If you find that is annoying, read no further.  I teach new EMTs and paramedics too and I've found a common mistake among such folk is thinking that persons having a heart attack who are experiencing little pain, or an improvement in pain need no further intervention in the form of medication administration.  That is WRONG.  It's wrong as wrong can be, actually. If a person has chest pain equal to a 3 on a scale of 10, or her pain is down to a 4 from a 6, that does not mean we stop treating the chest pain, because ANY pain means the problem is still ongoing.  It's just seems like it's gotten better.  The goal is ZERO pain and we keep plugging away at reducing the pain as long as the patient can tolerate it, until we reach ZERO. Nada. Zilch.

The same is true for "isms."  Yes, improvement is desirable; it's encouraging and gives us incentive to keep fighting the good fight.  But it does not mean the "danger" has passed, because it has not.  It's just masquerading as being a "lesser" problem, which is even more dangerous, if you ask me.

So, we don't rest on our laurels. (What are laurels, anyway?  Shouldn't an author know the meaning of the words she uses?  Isn't that a rule somewhere?) We rejoice in the important step forward, and then say, "Nope, not good enough." That's right-we stay dissatisfied until the world is equally satisfying to those who are getting ripped off from enjoying what other people get to enjoy simply because their chromosomes and their brains don't agree.

There will be a backlash, and likely more than one.  But that can't stop progress.  You moms and dads out there who are helping your kids in being who they truly are- you folks have to be the warriors for your kids.  As if I'm telling you something you don't already know!! And you adults who have bravely lived hidden, and equally bravely refuse to hide anymore, you too are entitled to all of it.  The whole shebang- acceptance, love, marriage, child-rearing, work, education, safety, physical health and emotional wellness, by God-happiness, even. So yes, keep pushing that envelope. Any level of discrimination, exclusivity and hate above a zero means the problem is still threatening, and is therefore unacceptable. Keep fighting the good fight :)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

We shall overcome

It is absolutely glorious that President Obama spoke the "T" word in his State of the Union address, two short days after Martin Luther King, Jr. day.  Glorious!!

Click on the link below for the part of President Obama's speech that mentions treating gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons with dignity.

http://time.com/3676881/state-of-the-union-2015-barack-obama-transgender/

As the mom of my lovely daughter, DJ, and a sister to Bean, I am grateful and happy that this president, who has been much maligned since he took office, had the gonads to finally say what needs to be said!!!  Here's the kicker:  I watched a video that had real-time polling taking place among Democrats, Republicans and Independent voters. The Democrats approval stayed in the 90th percentile during this portion of his speech, and while the Republican's dropped into the 80th percentile, they were still overwhelmingly positive.  THIS from our conservatives!! That's absolutely wonderful.

So happy for you all, and happy for all of us.

XOXO-The Author

Click on the YouTube video for the entire speech.



Sunday, October 12, 2014

The HAZARDS of Facebook

I just sat down with my morning coffee, and checked my email to note that another friend from another part of the world had noticed that DJ had deleted her Facebook (FB) account.  Juliet and I had just brought that up with DJ the night before.

Interestingly, a mom of a transgender son, with whom I correspond, also wrote about FB this week sharing how a "friend" had posted some mean-spirited and exclusive drudgery that applied to this woman's son, but indirectly.

I, too, have been struggling with the negative drag that FB often causes....

DJ, Juliet and I have all been struggling recently with the nastiness that FB now regularly includes. People actually spend their precious time looking for obscure "data" that supports their (usually exclusive) agenda, create a meme and then post it, inviting others to "share."  What a terrible misuse of the word "share," now that I think of it. I just don't get it.  Spreading the word of injustice is important but that isn't what's occurring here.  What is occurring?  We all know what it is-complaining, whining, bitching, pissing, moaning.  That's ok-I can piss and moan with the best of 'em.  The issue is that they do it at someone else's expense!!!

The other aspect of FB that I think is alienating is the "social" aspect-especially when people don't make efforts to be "social"-or choose to be "social" to a few people and disregard others.  It's like being in grade school, and seeing that nearly everyone in class has received an invitation to a birthday party, except you, and a handful of others.  Being excluded is hard enough; when it becomes public, it's just plain humiliating. No one denies a person's right to "like", or "share" or "comment" or even invite whomever she wishes-but is it necessary to make it public?  Do people not care about the impressions they leave?

If I were at a party, and I made a point of talking to nearly everyone except a friend who was certainly within earshot  multiple times through the night, and I didn't even make eye contact with her, that would certainly send a message to her. We hide behind the impersonal nature of FB, while pretending to be personal, and it allows us to be rude and hurtful, anonymously.  While we think we're being social, we're actually being socially lazy. We pretend that by clicking the "like" button we're actually doing something meaningful.  And maybe that simple acknowledgement is meaningful, sometimes.  But it's not like we're going to raise money for cancer treatment by clicking the "like" button.  The "like" button can really only go so far in maintaining a "friendship."

But maybe we don't want to really maintain friendships so much as give the appearance of doing so so that our "friends list" is really impressive looking.....hmmm.  That's worth pondering.

Bulldog said something to me many years ago that has been replaying in my head recently.  I'd just come out of a rough bout of drama with a friend of mine, who despite promising to cater my wedding, dropped out at the last minute when I wouldn't lend her $7000, despite the fact that I'd already lent her $1000 and paid her kid's tuition to a private school.  Needless to say, she is no longer my "friend" and perhaps never was in the way that I had thought.  But that's another, probably boring, story!!  Bulldog and I had just gotten married, moved thirty miles away to a new town, into a new house and he said to me, "We have a new start and I think we should surround ourselves with people that we deserve to be around."  Or something to that effect....

So, I took a hard look at my FB "friends" and realized that I needed to clean house.  I didn't want to delete them and give the appearance of rudely snubbing them, I just didn't want to see their regularly occurring alarmist, unfounded, often mean-spirited, and exclusive posts.  So, I blocked them and I feel better.

The other issue with FB is there is quite a bit that's disingenuous.  People are staging their lives to appear interesting for FB.  People are missing out on the here and now so they can take the time to upload their photos of their fabulous lives to FB.  Don't get me wrong, some photos and comments make my day.  When my sister posted a photo of one of her daughters with her second and third fingers in both of her nostrils, I laughed out loud and re-viewed that photo multiple times throughout the day.  But the disingenuous nature is obvious to some of us and bothersome.  All the more reason to consider blocking those "friends" too.

DJ didn't go into detail as to why she deleted her FB account but confirmed her reasons were related to what I've shared here.  Juliet and I sympathized with her.  DJ is way ahead of her mother on this issue.  She doesn't "need" FB like many of us do.  We can pretend we don't "need" it, but giving it up is like going without your morning cup of coffee, or your glass of wine in the evening when your kid is throwing the fifth temper tantrum of the day.

Put it this way-if your dog had a run-in with a skunk and smelled of skunk, would you let him in your living room?  No.  You wouldn't get rid of your dog, but you might have him live in the garage, or the basement, until you can get the smell out of his fur.  So, I've put a bunch of FB friends in the garage.  I know where they are; (for all I know, I might be in someone's garage, as well!!); I can still send a message if I choose.  I can let them back into the living room whenever I want....or not. In the meantime, my house doesn't stink.