Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2008

This Thursday is Transgender Day of Remembrance. It's an annual event every November 20th where we honor those that have been killed over the past year due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.

Gwen Smith used to run the primary vigil in San Francisco, but her activity has declined over the past few years. Worldwide activity still continues though, as evidenced at transgenderdor.org.

A friend of mine sent me a note about Stanford activites being planned for this Thursday. I know that Oakland and San Jose both have activities planned for this Thursday, while San Francisco is planning a Friday service. The Stanford activities work better for myself, so I'll be heading there to honor those that have fallen victim the past year.

Below are the Stanford activities:

I wanted to invite you to a "Year Ten" Day of Remembrance vigil we're organizing on the Stanford Campus. The vigil is scheduled to take place at the Papa New Guinea Sculpture Garden on campus on Thursday 730p, and there will be a mostly-student discussion taking place at the LGBT-CRC right before at 6p. We'll then walk over after the discussion (across the street) for the vigil.

The LGBT-CRC is on the Stanford Campus, and is on the second floor of the Firetruck house (433 Santa Teresa, Stanford, CA 94305).

This email is the first in a weeklong series to raise awareness about trans issues and the trans community. If you are interested in learning more, please come to our informal dinner discussion this Thursday 6pm at the LGBT center.

Since Thursday is Transgender Remembrance Day, as well as the 10th anniversary of Rita Hester, we will be having a vigil at 7:30 meeting at the LGBT center (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=36027283177)

Please forward widely to help us raise awareness and create a more understanding and safe space at Stanford for trans members of our community.

This campaign was organized with help from the Emma Goldman Society for Queer Liberation.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


There is something serene about driving across a bay bridge at 2 in the morning. The roads and bridges, built more for the heavy daytime traffic, become darkened dance floors lit by the spare sparkle of a passing headlight.

The cities of the bay exist in a luminescent line around the horizon, reflecting present day technology against the eternal waves below and the effervescent sky above. These roads, where solar navigation requires concentration, and aggravation and congestion run rampant, turn crowded chaos into perches of a beautiful, tranquil distant canvas.

And with light music playing, I almost didn't want the drive home to end, less the tired feeling of my eyes, of course.

I've always felt this internal peace at night. I don't know what it is. Perhaps I don't feel as alone when the sun is down. Sure, there are fewer people awake at that hour, but, of the people that are awake, I know there can be this common desolation that keeps us from being entirely alone.

Since the acceptance of my own path, I, and numerous others of the same heritage, share an ability to see beyond what others may see. In the past three and a half years I have been playing women's sports...ever since I recovered from SRS...I have met a number of women who push the gender boundary of male and female. I've met a few that often times are seen as men, even though they are still quite female. Are they still going through their own acceptance, or is this state between the genders who they are, or who they prefer to be? I don't know.

But, I now know that some of my inclinations are true.

I met one woman a few years ago. We played a few games together and I saw her a few times over the years. When I saw her Saturday night at an almost exclusively female event, she was no longer she.

His face was more masculine. Gone was the slight female hair cut. The proud straggles of hair growing from his chin were enough to announce his manhood to me. As I recognized him, I told him he was looking rather buff as I squeezed his bicep.

I still wasn't sure what his status was, but after he left our little smattering of teammates, I asked a friend. She said he was now going by a new name and that he was now going by "him" instead of "her".

I quickly caught up with him and gave him the affirmation that a lot of T's look for from friends.

It was kinda cute...he said he had to be himself. I so just wanted to pick him up and give him a big hug, but doing so probably would have hurt my back considering how buffed he is now.

But, really, I know I would have liked people to just affirm my situation and then basically go on with their lives. No big special deal, right? Just use the right name and pronouns, and be understanding.

Some might say I should tell him my own journey, but, in this case, does it really matter?

Most of our common friends and teammates seemed OK with all of it, although some might have hidden the news for a while...which is understandable in a way since it's really none of our business what he does in his life.

I ate brunch with a few of my teammates on Sunday, and we briefly talked about him. They all seemed OK with it, and, to be honest, I'm sure a few of them kinda saw the same thing I saw in him. It almost makes me debate whether or not to come out to my own teammates. I wonder how many of them would ever suspect my own prior journey.

I also wonder if I should come out to them as a courtesy and respect as teammates, and most importantly, as their friend. I have talked at numerous colleges now, and often times, people would want to know the past of their friends that have transitioned, mainly because they feel as friends, it would be something friends would share. The part I worry about are the students that don't raise their hands as to if they would want to know or not. I wonder if it bothers them, or if they just aren't paying attention in class.

I'm talking at a high school tomorrow morning, and now that Prop 8 likely won't be dominating the conversation, perhaps I'll be able to delve further into the mind of the non-trans to see what they are thinking.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I had such hope

I had the beginning of a really incredible blog entry started last night as I watched the election results come in showing Obama's overwhelming win. Tears started to well up in my eyes.

I watched Senator John McCain's very classy, very graceful concession speech. I watched Fox News somehow jump on the Obama bandwagon and go from being the Conservative Right, to healing somewhere in the middle. They saw America speak and they recognized the change ahead. I then watched Obama give basically an acceptance speech to the thousands of people that already knew the outcome before the day had started. Change was at hand.

And then.

Well, and then, I saw the results starting to pour in for Proposition 8...the Proposition that legislates hate...making gay people second class citizens. When I first saw the numbers, Proposition 8 was passing 53-47. I stayed up way too late last night watching the percentage of precincts increase up to nearly 50%.

I've been sick the past two days, and although I should have been at home getting some rest, I've been at work because of my heavily weighted portion of the project's schedule. And, perhaps because I am a little out of it, the fire within me feels...well, it feels like shit.

I thought we stood not on the verge of change, but that we saw the sun set on a time of segregation...of separatism...of inequality. And, yet, we haven't.

Proposition 8 passed 52% - 48% (95% of precincts are reporting). And if you look at the breakdown of the exit polls, it wasn't the white people, or Asian people, nor most of the Latino people that voted for Proposition 8. What percentage of people voted in favor of Proposition 8?

Black people.

I thought they had a dream. I thought we all had a dream. I thought, they, out of all the colors of our skins, would understand this election more than any other.

I was wrong.

I won't be cliche and say that I'm not a racist...but I believe in equality for all, no matter the color of our skins, the inabilities we face, the sexual orientations we have, the genders we are, or any other item that makes each of us unique.

I voted for Obama, not because he is Black, not because he is from Illinois, nor because he is married and has children. I voted for him because I thought he was the right candidate to be in office.

California had the chance to not only lead the way of change, but stand proud and say, "We are all equal. We can all have a dream."

But we didn't. We said that it is ok to discriminate based on sexual orientation. That separate, but equal, is still OK.

And it wasn't just California, it was Arizona, Arkansas, and Florida, not to mention the numerous states that have already legislated against gay people and gay people seeking to adopt children or have children via either artificial means.

The one sliver of hope I have, though, is in the youth of our nation. Those under 30 were overwhelmingly against Proposition 8...the only age bracket with a majority of people against the proposition. And they are the ones that can finally take this nation forward.

So, today, we may still live in a land of separatism, but we stand strong with the hope that one day, all of our dreams may come true.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Plausible Acceptance

It seems like every year when I get a flu shot and the nurse prepares to stick me with a needle, I get the usual line:

"You must work out."


There's no denying it, I do work out. Probably not as much as they may think, but the muscles are bigger than most women. That's just the way it is.

Plausible acceptance is what I call it now...saying "yes" to whatever their assumption is, unless that assumption isn't true, of course.