Sunday, November 21, 2010

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2010

I'm on vacation in Fort Lauderdale before Thanksgiving and decided to catch the Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil here. It was a small crowd of about 50 people, but it was a very caring and lovely presentation. Charlotte and myself both participated in the reading of the thirty names of transgender or gender diverse people that have been killed over the past year.

Each person would walk to the microphone, read the name and their story, and then extinguish one of the thirty candles they represented. After all the names were read, each candle was relit, which I found to be very unique. I suppose it represents our honoring of them and how each of us can keep their memory alive.

After that, ceremony facilitator Jacqui addressed the audience with her speech entitled "Hate". Although the name insinuates something else, her speech was really great and to the point. Afterward, Charlotte and myself spoke briefly with Jacqui about the very honorable vigil for DOR. The whole event lasted about an hour, which was the perfect length for us, and it did not have a heavy religious theme, which was more to my liking.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting Parents to Let Go

Before I start this post, I wanted to mention how ironic it is that the one woman most impersonated by gay men has a daughter that became a man. The irony just eclipses this total gender binary.

OK, so Cher was on Letterman last night, and the two talked about her son, Chaz, for a while. (I didn't catch the episode, but you can catch the interview here.) Now, I've never met Cher, but I have had the opportunity to chat with Chaz for a while, and he seems like a really nice guy.

I watched the interview and it's this total mash-up of improper pronouns and sexual orientations...even calling Chaz a lesbian. Dave tried to stay on track with the pronouns, sexual orientations, and providing a glimpse of the female past along with the male present, but Cher can't seem to let go.

I suppose that's one of the hardest parts for a parent...saying good-bye to the child you raised and then welcoming in a new member of the family that you feel you don't even know.

She's not a bad parent...she's still there for Chaz, but I get a strong sense that not everything is keen for Cher. What I thought was awesome, though, was the audience's applause when Cher said that Chaz was brave. I think if more parents saw that society is more impressed with parents being there for their children no matter what, than the parents being embarrassed because they think they'll be thought of differently and blamed for something their child did, there would be a lot fewer homeless transgender children.

I also cringed when Cher kept messing up the pronouns and then said that Chaz didn't care about her using the wrong pronouns. Yeah, right...he's probably just tired of always correcting your ass. OK, that's not what Chaz's just what I think. That would drive me crazy if my parents did that, and I really hope that's not how they talk about me when I'm not there.

At least they won't be on Letterman anytime soon, so that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Is Tranny a Bad Word?

It's back. Yup, the T-word...and it just happens to correspond once again with Trannyfest.

I've seen a number of people head to my post from two years ago which concerned the word "Tranny", and I have noticed the response from two TV programs the past week...both dealing with transgender women, so I kinda put two and two together.

People still want to know if 'tranny' is a bad word.

Well, is it?

Last week I caught Glee's Rocky Horror-themed episode and heard the lines that are causing a stir. I also thought the song "Sweet Transvestite" sounded different...and it did, with the decision to replace "transsexual" with "sensational". I've never actually seen Rocky Horror (I know, gasp, right?) all the way through so I wasn't quite sure that they changed some of the lyrics. I thought it was pretty groundbreaking to use what they did, but I was disappointed with all the stuff going on behind the scenes...such as removing the word "trannsexual" from the song. When one of the characters said their parents wouldn't let them play the tranny part (I'm paraphrasing, of course), it's not the greatest situation. It tends to make people think that being a "tranny" is horrible or degrading. The episode used the characters decision to further enhance the battle of doing the play in the first place and was simply a mechanism for further plot development, but the way they did it was purely without class.

So, to recap the Glee episode, they used the word 'tranny' a number of times...mostly in ways that made it sound horrible to be one, and they were prevented from using the word 'transsexual' in the lyrics of a classic Rocky Horror Picture Show song.

Via a transgender forum a few days ago, I also caught some of the issues with the Jersey Shores crew. It's no fun to be mocked with "If you have to think about it...."

GLAAD tackled both issues, and MTV has since apologized for the episode. Glee is one of the most LGB friendly shows on TV right now, but I think the jury is still out on if they are LGBT friendly.

As for Trannyfest, I attended Saturday's showing when Marty's film, Gillian, was presented. I helped Martin and Lisa brainstorm after we received the film requirement, and came up with the idea of having a woman with a sprained MCL fall in love with her physical therapist. Sound familiar? Although I love writing, Marty wrote the script since I was too busy with work and sports.

I pulled the idea from my own experience from around two and a half years ago when I sprained my MCL. I had a physical therapist who I thought was a lesbian, but she was just a cute short-haired girl who drove a jeep and had a dog, but also had a boyfriend. And, of course, I never hit on her or anything. In our story, though, I figured we could use the knee brace as a metaphor for her loser boyfriend. Ahh...metaphors.

Anyway, there were a number of trans-themed films shown both Friday and Saturday. Some were great, some were good, and some weren't...but that's the thing with independent get a good mix of things and just appreciate the art factor.

As for if 'tranny' is a bad word, it all depends on the situation. If you are not trans, 99% of the time the word is going to be considered offensive.

There are a lot of trans people that still use the word, and there are a lot of non-trans people that hear them use the word, but they often times aren't aware of the situation. There are a lot of reasons that trans-people use the word...from using it in an artful manner such as Trannyfest or Tranny Roadshow to trying to reclaim it as their own, similiar to the N-word used by African Americans. There are many black people that are offended by people using it, though, no matter what color of their skin. The same can be said for many trans-people...they don't like anyone using the word, even within the T-world.

There are other options to the word 'tranny', though...such as trans-woman, trans-girl, trans-man, trans-guy, trans, and my favorite, 'T'.

So, if you really want to use the word 'tranny', you should have been at Trannyfest this past weekend where you could have said it as much as you wanted and no one would have cared.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Permission to be Feminine

Recently, I had a day off to participate in a few speaking gigs, and with a little bit of time between two of the sessions, I decided to do a little shopping. My work wardrobe needed a little pick me up with the cooler weather approaching and it's always fun to stop by the sports store to see what they have. I've been really bad in sports stores lately, significantly upgrading my sports and running attire to the tune of way too much money.

As I was shopping, though, I ran across a Halloween store. "What fun," I thought, and stopped in to see what they had. I looked through all of the female adult costumes and picked out the ones that looked nice, while also covering the bicep. My arms just seem too big, and thus, I have a bit of an issue with anyone seeing them. I found five outfits that I liked: a superhero costume, a vampire costume, two fantasy costumes, and one schoolgirl costume.

I eventually ended up trying on a few of the costumes last weekend, but walked away with none of them. They just don't quite seem to look like they do on the front of the package, nor do they fit me as well as they do the model who is wearing it.

I previously showed my selection to a few friends, though, and many of them were gaga for the superhero costume and the naughty schoolgirl one. I was hesitant to get the schoolgirl costume for one was too cliche for transgender women.

There are a number of stereotypes of transgender women. We're tall, we're hookers, we're out to deceive straight men, and we all dress a little bit too feminine. (There are a few other stereotypes such as wearing clothes a few sizes too small or a few years outside our generation.)

I'm not tall, I've never been paid to have sex, and all of my sex partners have known of my status...but sometimes I do have trouble dressing feminine because of that damn stereotype that we all dress too feminine.

And I hate that.

Sometimes I hate dressing like I'm some vegan lesbian living in a Berkeley co-op (not that there's anything wrong with that), but I tend to feel comfortable wearing long sleeve stylish layers with my North Face sleeveless jacket. It would be nice to just let go and dress like some slutty woman who's looking to score with a guy from the bar, though.

The problem is, most of the slutty little outfits that I see would not fit me the way they fit most girls. I have bigger arms and a bigger chest, not to mention the lack of a super tiny waist. And so, I feel like I would be judged as a "man in a dress".

One of the muscular butch girls on my team once told me she doesn't wear dresses or makeup because she says she looks like a tranny if she does. I suppose there is this perception that if you appear masculine, and you wear anything feminine, you're almost instantly tagged as a transgender person, and I'll admit, it definitely affects my attire.

I've found that I tend to only wear a dress on special occasions, and it's almost as though I need permission to do so. I hardly ever wear a dress or skirt to work mainly because I'm cautious as to how they fit and I don't want the extra attention by wearing them. And yet, I want to, and I'm jealous of the women who can and do wear a dress or skirt to work, or even out into public for a night out, for that matter.

It probably doesn't help that most of my friends are lesbians, although some of them do tend toward the feminine side of things. It's probably the lesbian environment combined with my own anxiety over the muscular build that stops me from dressing super-femme.

At least I won't have to buy new clothes if I decide to go vegetarian in the future.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Childhood memories

I visited my parents' place over Mother's Day weekend earlier this spring. I normally stay in a room on the second floor, but since my dad moved some of his office stuff into that room, I stayed in another. And, thus, I saw something that I hadn't seen in a very long time.

In the twilight of time between then and tomorrow, the small stool caught the soft hue of nearby light. The legs, four pillars of foundation, still stood willing and ready for the weight of a young child's imagination. I knelt down, knowing that while it may not hold my physical weight, it would still support the dreams and aspirations of a lost adolescent. I cried.

My childhood name was written across the top of that stool.

I don't know if it was the emotion of seeing something I cherished from my half bottled-up youth, or if it was a nod to the time spent alone as a kid while sitting on that stool pondering the reasons why my body didn't match who I thought I was. While I remember many of the toys and items I had as a child, I have realized I cherished the ones where gender didn't matter.

My sister had the Barbies and stuffed animals, along with makeup and a small toy house. I had the Matchbox cars, the Shogun Warriors, and a number of other boy items. We both had sporting equipment, along with watercolor posters made by our mom that had our names and other things that started with the same letter. Mine was K, her's was L.

We both had kites that we flew when the wind was swift enough to keep our dreams afloat. In the winter, we had sleds that let us slide along on journeys we'd never taken. And when we could, we both rode our bikes wherever our little legs could take us.

My sister and I had Christmas stockings with our names labeled across the top. We both received similar ornaments from our grandmother, mine often resembling a boy's toy, but not always.

My sister and I shared a collection of 45's that we played on our little record player. We both loved the song "YMCA".

And my sister and I both had stools with our names on them. I remember her's breaking at some point, which we fixed, but if I'm not mistaken, mine weathered the years quite well. Sure, it still shows its age, but it has remained sturdy throughout the years.

I've broken down crying while writing this entry amazing four months shear awe of the power of emotion I felt that night. And I'm not sure if the tears are good or bad, whether I'm crying from the memories of a happy, yet unfulfilled childhood, or if it's the sight of something dear to my heart that interlaced that childhood with the power to keep that little girl inside me alive.

Perhaps this weekend I shall fly a kite and see.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Pride(s) and Frameline 2010

I meant to write this entry shortly after SF Pride, but I was super busy in the weeks following then. Since today was Oakland Pride, I figured I would finally finish it.

I was a little sick the week prior to and including SF Pride, the same time that the Frameline Film Fest was running. This year I decided to take in as movies as I could, along with a wide variety of topics and languages.

As with most independent films, it can be tough to find a movie that has great acting, a great script, great editing, and great directing. Typically, though, you get a couple of items, but never all of them.

Bi Request - Friday, June 18th

This was a collection of shorts set around a bisexual theme that I saw with a number of friends. One section featured portions of the web series, Rose by Any Other Name with a lesbian who starts dating a straight guy. It was mainly about their friends reactions to the two starting to date. It has pretty good acting and writing, but the story ended too soon as it's part of a series that was too long to showcase in a "shorts" series, but too short to be featured by itself.

Curious Thing was a nice little documentary with interesting voice-overs combined with a visual side story. In Between a Kiss was interesting as a girl gets caught by her boyfriend as she slips in to see her girlfriend.

There were a few other shorts, but nothing really worth mentioning. One had a French boyfriend sleeping around on his girlfriend with a guy, another was about a female porn performer, and the last was a stoner short about Wayne and Garth in San Francisco.

Elvis & Madona (imdb link) - Saturday, June 19th

In this Portuguese film, Madona has a run in with her previous pimp, but in the process meets Elvis, the girl of her dreams. Madona comes across as somewhere between Drag Queen and Male to Female transsexual, but however she identifies, she falls for pizza delivery girl, Elvis, who in turn falls for Madona. The two lovebirds make their way through a number of difficult times, culminating with Madona's show. There was such a diverse setting of scenes...everything from a campy drag show (that went on even after a shooting) to the series side of the two visiting Elvis' parents. Overall, I liked it, although it had a little more camp in it than I would have preferred.

A Marine Story (imdb link) (website) - Saturday, June 19th

Just a few hours after Elvis & Madona, I caught what I would consider to be the best film of the film fest, A Marine Story. This stars the same actress and director/writer from The Gymnast (which I never saw), which is supposed to be a fairly good film, as well. A Marine Story had good acting and a good story, and it made for a good movie. I was worried a little at the beginning that it was going to come off a little too Red State-ish for me, but it turned out well. At some point, I'm hoping I can get my parents to watch it.

It is the story of a marine that is kicked out of the service for being a lesbian. She returns to the town where she grew up and slowly starts to come out to the people she associates with. In the process, she also inherits a local female youth who needs to be polished into shape before she's semi-forced to join the military. The movie takes a few expected turns (a la Hollywood), but overall it made for an enjoyable experience.

Paulista (imdb link) - Sunday, June 20th

In this Portuguese story, a young woman named Marina leaves the countryside and runs off to the big city of Sao Paulo in order to earn work as an actress. She stays with a woman named Suzana who is just starting a relationship with a man she knows from work. Marina seems to fall for a punk rocker, while Suzana grows closer and closer to her new boyfriend. The main draw for me was the Suzana character, a post-op male to female transsexual. Her character went through many of the situations that MTF's go through once past transition. I loved the story, acting, and the settings, but the editing between scenes and the story's ending really brought this film down for me. I was left there at the end going "NOOOOOO!!!!!!". I was really hoping they had more resolution, and it almost made me wonder if the writer either didn't know how to end it or they ran out of time filming it.

Plan B (imdb link) - Monday, June 21st

In my third film to watch with subtitles, I went in thinking it was going to be a romantic comedy, but it ended up being a little more series and way more artsy that I expected. (I'm not sure if the distant reference to Plan 9 From Outer Space influenced my thoughts or not.) The Spanish film had a great story and some fantastic acting, but the writing had a lot of gaps, and the editing was poor. This film probably could have been half the length just from all the super slow times. I actually fell asleep near the end of the film due to so many lulls in action and dialogue, but woke up before the superb ending.

Elena Undone (imdb link) (website) - Friday, June 25th

I was expecting a lot from this film since it had two fairly attractive women playing lesbians in love with one another. Even the movie "poster" has the two of them basically naked, but not showing anything significant. I'm not sure if my higher expectations lead me to be disappointed in this film or if me not feeling well also contributed. I was also in a bad mood from earlier in the day, but still, the story was horrible and they focused way too much on the two women being wrapped up in one another. It's sorta like making a trans-movie and totally dwelling on the trans-people (which can be boring), instead of focusing on how their journey affects those around them. They set up some supporting characters with potential for great conflict, yet all of that was dealt with in such short order and far less degree of difficulty. Also, the director has us believe that the very obvious gay narrator is, in fact, actually straight. I actually fell asleep in this one, too, and was utterly bored trying to finish it. The ending was also pretty corny, as well. Like I said, though, I wasn't in the best of moods, so perhaps that clouded my judgment on this film.

Lost in the Crowd
(imdb link) (website) - Saturday, June 26

This was a fantastic documentary about trans and queer youth living on the streets of New York City. The filmmaker initially intended to film a different subject matter, but stumbled upon the story of a number of at risk youth. The youth include gay men and a number of trans women who find varying degrees of success with the cards they have been dealt. The documentary was filmed over a number of years, and unfortunately, the filmmaker was unable to reach several of the youth she had filmed in previous years. I wish this film were slightly longer than the 75 minute running time listed, but it was definitely worth seeing. I even had one of my teammates and her girlfriend decide to watch it with me at the spur of the moment, and even they liked it and found it deeply touching.

I'm glad I had the opportunity to see seven of this year's films, but I really wish I hadn't been sick the week of the film fest. I watched about half of the films by myself, but later found out I knew a number of other people at the films who were watching them by themselves, too. It can be so hit-or-miss at these independent films, though, but at least a few turned out to be really great and very touching.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Duty Free

I made it back from China about a week and a half ago. It's kinda interesting...we took off around 1pm on Friday and landed at 8am the same day, which made it a very long 39 hour "day".

My boss went, too, and a few days before we were scheduled to fly back, he had a little stomach trouble. Another of my coworkers suggested that I just take Immodium AD the entire time so that I wouldn't have to deal with any stomach issues, but I figured I would take it as needed. On the flight back, I felt my stomach start to rumble, and for a few days after arriving home, I, unfortunately, didn't feel so great.

Things have since cleared up and I'm feeling fairly well, but what made me feel quite uneasy while I was there was the almost constant staring, especially when I was by myself.

Sure, I realize that China (and a lot of Asian countries) has less diversity than the US, especially San Francisco (which is probably one of the most diverse cities in the US), but I know they are used to seeing foreigners to some degree.

When I was out with my boss and some of our vendors (who were American, but living in China), I didn't notice as many stares, but we were often waved down in order to attract our attention to their business when we were in smaller shopping districts.

When I was out running in the morning, there were not many people out and about, and those that were out seemed to be quite older and performing their exercises. I often got stares from people in buses during my runs, or sometimes from the sparse people I did see on the sidewalks.

When I went walking on my own, that's when I noticed quite a bit of staring, again, mainly from people on buses or in cars, and only sometimes from people on the sidewalk. Inside one of the shopping malls, though, things seemed rather nice and there were far fewer stares.

I'm sure they were harmless stares, but either way, I felt a bit uneasy, mainly because almost all of the women are dainty and very feminine. I almost felt out of place to a degree, due to my lack of uber feminine stature and my semi-infatuation with lesbian gear. I tried wrapping my head around the illegality of being gay or lesbian in China, and couldn't imagine how awful it would be to live there and be attracted to the same sex.

It was nice to see, though, that a majority of people just went about their business and focused on where they needed to go, because I have to admit, their traffic methods are utterly insane. If you're not watching where you're going in China, you're probably not going to last long there.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I'm flying out to Asia this afternoon on my first trip out of the US since transitioning six and a half years ago. I have my passport and visa in order, so there shouldn't be an issue...but still, in the back of my head there is always that cautious part of me that worries about the worst things that can happen.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Leggy dreams

I was going to do this whole countdown to turning 40 by doing a blog a day for the 40 days before my birthday. Since I turn 40 in just over a month, that idea just didn't pan out since my schedule hasn't allowed it, and to be honest, I'd probably run out of good ideas to write about less than halfway there.

In the meantime, though, I do hope to get in a few more entries since we're on the verge of San Francisco Pride and I have a few interesting things to write about...including a weird dream I had last night.

Sometime over the past year, I caught a Jerry Springer clip about a transwoman named Sandra with Body Integrity Identity Disorder. While this subject matter has appeared on Nip/Tuck in the past and some researchers have debated if GID is somehow related to BIID, I hope that people see that while the two may have very distant similarities, both are theorized to have different causes. BIID is thought to originate from a body mapping disfunction while GID is thought to be a gender development issue of the brain based on exposures to different hormones. So, that being said, let me also preface this next paragraph by stating that I have absolutely NO desire to cut off my own arms or legs.

Anyway, in my dream last night, I was missing my left leg below the knee. I have no idea how I lost it, but at one point I was in the hospital...then going through rehab...then I had on a prosthetic leg. What I found interesting was that I didn't seem phased by the situation either due to realizing it was a dream or that I realized it was more important to be alive than worry about missing part of my leg. I love my legs...and my feet, and everything included with them...even my ugly unpainted toenails. I love being able to walk and run everywhere. In the past, people often asked me why I ran...and I told them 'because I could'. I just found it kinda weird that I wasn't freaked out because, if that really happened, I'd probably be an incredible wreck.

I think I realized I was dreaming, though, as I had woken up shortly before the dream, but had gone back to sleep. As the sun starts to creep into my bedroom around 6am, I typically wake up, groan, and then go back to sleep, sorta entering a little twilight sleep period. Also, one of my teammates recently suffered a season-ending...and possibly a sport-ending...injury to her knee, so I'm not sure if this was a little bit of survivor guilt manifesting in a dream or not. I had offered to taxi her around this weekend since she's unable to drive in her current situation, but she never called.

OK, it's to bed...hopefully without any amputee dreams.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


The weather has been a little unusual lately. Typically, once May arrives, there is little rain in the Bay until Novemberish. While the rain is good for our reservoirs, it's not so great for practices at night.

We've had some nasty practices in the rain this year. At one practice, my hands were so cold I couldn't take off my shoes and simply drove home wearing all of my wet clothes with the heater on full blast.

Thus, when the rain came again this week, one of my teammates shows up with water-proof pants pulled up to her knees.

"Those kinda look like old school basketball shorts," says one of my teammates.

"What?" I ask.

"Well, for you, they aren't so old school," she says in reference to my rapidly approaching 40th birthday.

I laughed...well, sorta.

We then somehow got on the subject of the sportswear of the past.

"It was horrible in the 80's...shorts were way too tight," I state.

"What do you mean?" asks one of my many lesbian teammates.

"You could see everything."


At this point I realize I am talking about men's fashion...not women's fashion. The male past blows in on a gust of wind. I try to recover.

"You could see their was just gross. Women's fashion was just fine...well, except for the collared shirts and the poofy hair."

Hopefully my little stray into men's fashion didn't trigger any suspicion, but simply makes her think I was more into boys in my past.


My coworker and I were both headed downstairs to the receiving dock. As we approached, he, like many others I have seen, pressed the handicap button that opens the double doors leading into the area.

"Why do so many people have to press that button when they could easily open the door themselves?" I asked.

"I like having doors magically open for me."

"I have doors opened for me all of the time."

"Yeah, but that's because you have breasts. It's no fair."

A little crude, but I still laughed...and, of course, then we briefly discussed the fairness of it all.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Boxers or Briefs

So, a number of my teammates love to wear boxers. I'm not exactly sure why, but they love them. Of course, a number of lesbian women also love to wear boxers, and since a good proportion of my teammates are lesbians, it figures that a healthy number of them would prefer boxers.

After a few of us had brunch in the Castro, we walked along Market on our way to another destination. Somehow we got on the conversation of underwear, and my teammate walking closest to me says she wears boxers. I ask her why so many of our teammates wear boxers. What does it do for them? Men wear them because it is supposedly healthier for sperm, but what does it do for girls?

She said she just liked wearing them and that she found comfort in them. She said her mother didn't quite understand but just kinda accepted it.

"I'm not one of those transgender, I just like wearing boxers," she said, reinforcing her diverse gender expression. "I mean, I like wearing masculine clothes, and I love my bra. I just love my boobies."

"'re a cross-dresser," I said jokingly.

"Haha! Yeah, I guess I am."

San Francisco Student Survey Report

A few months ago, I caught an article about a survey on San Francisco LGBT students. This survey basically asked students about their sexual orientation and gender identity, along with a number of questions concerning their social interactions.

The report is quite eye-opening, and I'm surprised that it didn't receive more national recognition. It reports, based on student surveys, that approximately 12% of students have seriously considered suicide while more than twice (27%) of the lesbian, gay, or bi students have. Double that percentage again (54%), and you get the number of transgender students that have seriously considered suicide. That number is just astounding, and shows just how hard transgender students can have it...and we're talking just San Francisco schools...not somewhere out in the middle of a red state. This is about San Francisco students!

When I talk on LGBT panels, I usually quote the fact that queer youth have basically double the suicide rate of non-queer youth, and that trans-youth have a higher percentage than the queer youth. This number is amazing, though, that basically half of transgender youth have seriously considered suicide. Now, while no one can confirm suicide rates for trans and queer youth simply because often times we don't know why people kill themselves, this report gives solid numbers to something many have been saying for a long time. It's not easy being queer or trans, and most of time the pressure comes from their peers or family.

Another section talks about how safe the students feel at school. Seven percent of hetero-students have skipped school because they felt unsafe. The number jumps up to 11 percent for LGB students and an amazing 56 percent for transgender students that say they have stayed away from school because of fears for their safety.

One of the biggest things I have seen recently is the push for people not to use "That's so gay", which can and does affect queer and trans-youth. I've seen all types of people use that phrase, and in many situations, it is harmful to queer and trans-youth because it encourages verbal bullying. The hardest part is that people say this without even realizing the harm they are creating...and it's basically spread as a socially accepted phrase in our society.

When I talk on the panels (and if there is time), I like to discuss how best to be a queer or trans ally. One of the best ways, I tell them, is to just create conversation and dialogue about the panel discussion.

I would say, "Go home and tell your parents, family, or friends about the interesting people and topics that we discussed tonight. And be there with open arms should anyone ever need to talk about anything. Tell them you'll be there to listen and not judge."

One at a time, we can make a huge difference in this world.

The full San Francisco Unified School District report

Thursday, April 01, 2010

The End (April Fools)

After much thought and deliberation, I've decided to discontinue the blog and remove all content. I figure it's time for me to move on with whatever else there is in life and let the next generation blog about their experiences. May the future treat them well!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Low expectations

Ever since I started confronting my gender issues in the early 2000's, I have had a keen eye on all things transgender. I don't think I was as aware before transition, especially while the internet was still developing.

One thing I have noticed is that whenever a transgender person makes something of themselves and enters the public eye, they end up getting slapped with the trans label. Instead of being the female golfer, or the female mountain biker, or the female appointed to the Commerce Department by President Obama, they end up being labeled as the transgender golfer, the transgender mountain biker, or the transgender woman appointed to the Commerce Department. And, of course, I'm using the more polite adjectives.

It's almost as though we're not expected to do anything with our lives, and then when we do, they label us as though to say that we either don't belong there or to remind people that we should be thrown back to the gutter.

This made me wonder if one could be famous without the whole T thing coming out? And if so, how famous could one be without it being an issue? Sure, there is the super stealth scenario, but someone somewhere likely still knows.

And is that fear of being outed a hindrance for transgender people? Are we afraid to be too good simply because all of the attention might out us? Do we fear going in front of TV cameras or appearing in newspapers for fear that someone might see us and go, "Hey, there's that girl who used to be a boy."

Or are we afraid of our own "community"?

A former teammate of mine transitioned, and when we met in a bar a number of months after his transition, he approached me and asked if I was MTF. He'd found out via some sort of grapevine...a grapevine probably throughout the T community.

Are we our own worst enemies? Will we out one another to our friends, family, or coworkers just to say, "Hey, I know her...she's a transsexual, too" just to provide justification to the success transgender people can obtain. Or are we just too fragile to believe that it's OK for other transgender people to know there are others out there who can make a name for themselves and be highly successful at what they do?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Posted from my iPhone

Things have been busy lately. The commute was eating up at least 2 hours of my day so I finally moved this past weekend. Sports, working out, driving all over, cooking, and everything else has kept me from writing much...but it hasn't kept me from experiencing life. I have a number of topics lined up, I just need to find some "me time" to sit down and write.

I did catch the Dr. Oz show a week or two back. To be cliche, it was short and sweet. They never put the segment up on their site (which I was waiting for in order to link the episode), but the TYFA site has the YouTube link. I'm afraid the age at which a person can make a decision about their own transgender medical options will be a growing topic over the next few years, especially as more and more trans youth come out. Hopefully the medical professionals can collect some good data showing positive results for those deciding to pursue transition before 18.

Monday, February 15, 2010

TYFA on Dr. Oz this Thursday

Kim Pearson from TYFA (Transgender Youth Family Allies) wants to remind everyone that Dr. Oz will have a transgender youth episode this Thursday. There is a preview up on the Dr. Oz website. Kim says, "This will be the best 15 minutes on transkids and their families that you have ever seen on national television," so, set your recorder!!!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


One of the big headlines of today is the announcement from the IRS that transition related surgeries are now tax deductible. Yay! I'm also glad that Rhiannon's battle has finally come to a close. Her fight has cleared the way for so many of us to officially get a tax break on some of the financial burden of transition.

Speaking of taxes, now that my W-2's have come in and I've plugged them into TurboTax, it says I owe both the government and the state of California quite a bit of money. Not so yay!!! Of course, I knew this was going to happen. Most of this is due to the large severance payment I received when I was laid off last year, having to cash out my stock options since I no longer worked for the company, and the 3 months I claimed unemployment checks but had no taxes taken out of them. I'm going to owe a few thousand dollars in total...but most surprising is that I owe more to California than the federal government...go figure.

The new job has been going well, although the commute kinda sucks. I've been through almost all of the training and have been working my way into the ranks of actually doing something. Now that my current 3 month lease is coming to a close (I signed a 3 month lease since I was unsure of the job situation 3 months ago), I've found a new place to move into that is closer to work. It also means I'm leaving behind the area I have called home for the past 8 years. I'm going to miss this part of the Bay Area. Sure, I'm going to relish the 2 hours per day of my life that I will be getting get back by not having a long ass commute, but I will still miss my familiar scenary.

I am only considering the area I am moving to as a temporary stay until I can hopefully find a place to buy. Yes, buy. It's hella expensive here, but I need to finally look at buying a place considering the low interest rates and the fact that I'm not getting any younger. With a 30 year mortgage, I wouldn't finish paying it off until I am 70 years old. Sheesh...I'm getting old. The hard part is figuring out how to keep myself marketable for the next 30 years and hold on to a decent job.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Breaking News

According to an email I just received, the TGSF 2010 Cotillion has been cancelled. I wasn't there for the committee's decision, but there are a number of reasons for the cancellation. One...there were no contestants. Two...the economy still sucks. I'll have to find out what pushed them to the final decision.

The lack of contestants is something we have been discussing for a while now. It's actually been mentioned jokingly that I would have to continue on as Ms. TGSF since there would not be anyone to take over that role.

I had actually been planning to mention much of this in my farewell message before ending my reign, so I may have to write it out simply for posting here. I was thinking about using a "Ghost of Cotillion ______" theme, but hadn't finalized it since the Cotillion theme dealt with 2010: A Trans Odyssey.

Anyway, I'll write more when I find out the details, but I wanted to mention it. I know some friends went shopping for their gowns already. I looked last weekend, but couldn't find anything I liked. Now, I'm kinda glad I sucked at shopping.

Posted from my iPhone.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


So, I'm just sitting in my cube working on a little data collection project a few days ago. Work has been going OK and I'm finally starting to work on some projects. Up until the past week or so, though, it's mainly been training sessions and whatever else I can find to stay busy...especially during the holidays.

I ran into one guy my first week who used to work at my old company, but we didn't really know one another...he just looked familiar, but I don't think he recognized who I was when I was introduced.

I ran into another guy in the hallway who was on his cellphone and we both kinda did a doubletake at one another. After chatting, we realized that we both worked in the same building at my old company. I think he was actually there when I transitioned, but I'm not exactly sure.

I also got an internal call from a woman who I networked with prior to getting my current job. She was at my old company when I was hired on and was there through my transition until leaving a few years ago. I listed her name as having referred me for the position, and hopefully she received a nice little monetary award for doing so.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, sitting at my cube. All of a sudden, I hear:

"Hello Ms. Flynn."

Out from the side of my cube appears R...the same R I went out with about this time last year...the same guy I came out to on the 3rd date.

My jaw literally dropped. It was his first day on the job and he had moved into a cube three cubes down from myself. I have to admit, I know that my industry is very interconnected, but this...come on now...this is a bit extreme.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Safe spaces

I made a mistake this New Years that hurt someone. It wasn't a physical hurt, but more of a trustful hurt.

We all make mistakes. If I could take it back, I a heartbeat. If I could have changed how things unfolded, I would have. I wish things would have been different...but they aren't.

And now I have hurt the trust built between the two of us.

I have a hard time lying. Always have. And, in this case, I thought we were in a safe space. I was wrong.

We transsexuals can be so fragile. Our securities are not held at banks or in trusts...we wear them like paper hats and expect them to keep the rain off of us. Most importantly, though, we never expect our friends to pull our hats off.