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Reality TV?

I know…yuck. But, I am a social media professional and what better way to promote myself than through the one avenue I haven’t touched yet…TV!? So vote for me here if you’d like to see me on a show about remarkable people who happen to be TG.

http://www.realitywanted.com/calls/allapplicants/25097

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Hey guys…please read!

So, I’ve been blogging for the Upper Delaware GLBT Center as part of my internship and unfortunately today I had to blog about something very disconcerting regarding one of our trans-members. I strongly urge all my followers to read the article in the link provided and commit to holding Daniel Tosh accountable for this transphobic episode. 

http://udglbtcenter.blogspot.com/2013/02/where-is-love.html

Why Mitt Romney Bothers Me…A Transgendered Perspective

There are a lot of reasons why I find Mitt Romney’s participation in the 2012 Presidential Election thoroughly disturbing; mostly because in this day and age I find it revolting to see fear-mongers such as himself rise to such powerful positions, and teeter on the edge of turning our beautiful country into a white-washed wasteland, reflective of his own distorted societal views.

This is a man who makes big promises and pretends to be what you want him to be (fine, like every politician you’re saying and, to a certain extent, you’re right), BUT this is also a man who bullied his classmates on the suspicion that they were gay and forcibly attacked a suspected gay classmate with a pair of scissors, shearing off his hair because he found its length inappropriate. What his supporters, especially the ones sympathetic to LGBT causes for whatever reason, fail to see is that he wants to project that same juvenile attitude onto all LGBT families on a much wider scale. He wants to cut us out of his vision. A vision that sounds fine enough if you’re a straight, non-minority with a lot of money and an undeserved superiority complex. That I’m not so offended by, because quite frankly, I wouldn’t be a part of this man’s anything if he paid me by the million. The part that offends me is that he’s taking that skewed thinking even further and wants to cut us off from our fundamental human rights. This is a man who actively supports measures that would strip LGBT folk of marriage equality, and anti-discrimination policies in the workplace. This is a man who was too afraid to attach his name to an anti-bullying pamphlet because it contained the words ‘bisexual’ and ‘transgender.’This is a man who “threatened to shut down the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth and vetoed a $158,000 budget item meant to counsel violence victims in the LGBT community.” This is a man who believes there is a “gay agenda.” What exactly is it, pray tell Mr. Romney? Requesting help to recover from the life-long trauma that bullies like you have caused us throughout our crucial formative years? Trying to heal the suicidal near-misses because a lot of us have been so put off by the kind of hate you and your kind engender that we would rather end our lives than continue dealing with you? No sir…if anyone has an agenda, it’s you and your camp. The “gay agenda” if you can call it that, is a cry for equal human rights and the same life, liberty and pursuit of happiness you have. It’s not a “gay agenda,” it’s a “human agenda.” Because like it or not, Mr. Romney, we are human beings…just like you, some of us just happen to be gay or transgen- oops, I forgot…that word’s scary for you.

That being said…I must admit, I’ve never been the most politically active person in the world. I always tried to stay away from ‘stuff like that,’ deeming it too frustrating and too complicated to deal with. Additionally, having to deal with the intricacies of my own transition all these years left me little time to involve myself. Until I realized that all of that thinking is horse-puckey. ‘Stuff like that’ is what effects every American person’s life and we should all take an active stake in seeing that things continue to evolve by not allowing them to decay. I don’t typically vote (mostly becuase my mother always told me once I registered they’d be able to make me do jury duty…don’t believe it, they got me long before I ever registered anyway), and I know a lot of LGBT people who are either politically apathetic or Log Cabin Republicans, but please…for all our sakes, stop Romney! Stop him because he doesn’t want you to be a part of anything he does. Stop him because he wouldn’t have supported you in high school and he won’t support you now! Stop him because he doesn’t see you and he never will. If you can’t recognize another person’s human rights, you essentially fail to recognize them as human. I can’t wait until November to show Mr. Mitt Romney how very human I am by voting for Obama and making my voice count, just like you hopefuly will, even if you don’t usually…so that you can show him how human you are too.

Transitioning With Dignity

Alright. First off, I hate judging ANYONE, really I do. But I’m a human being, so I do it anyway. That being said, I’m really irritated about certain high-profile people in the TG community who shall remain nameless but who’ve been in the spotlight recently. I don’t want to come across as closed-minded, because I don’t feel that I am…but I am offended. Offended by some girls who think that what they’re doing, either in the adult film industry or as “burlesque” performers (i.e., strippers), is helping the community out. Despite your delusions, girls, having men view you as a sex object for your plastic parts is not doing me any favors, I’ll tell you that right now. Some of these girls even go so far as to insinuate that they’re helping to garner respect for all trans people everywhere through these public appearances. May I ask how? How can you garner respect when you’re devoid of respect for yourself…and when this utter lack of respect becomes painfully apparent through the choices you make in your everyday life, from what venues you decide to attend to what clothes you wear? Still, a lot of these girls are too caught up in the whirl of admiration they get for their “work,” that they really do think they’re, dare I say, positive role models. Many of them do have their own positive attributes, beauty or some less savory skill…but a pretty face alone does not a role model make.

A quote from Candy Darling comes to mind, said to a co-star during one of her first Warhol collaborations, “Why don’t you try developing your brain instead of your bust?” Intellect is the sexiest thing around. And intellect dictates, by virtue of common sense, that if you want to be viewed as a role model, you set a good example…primarily through your interactions with whatever target group you’re hoping to influence…not with rooms full of sex-starved fetishists looking for a good time and a glimpse of your under-bits. It’s not only in poor taste, it’s offensive to me. Personally offensive. I try to keep an open mind about certain people’s circumstances, but, I really feel there’s little justification for engaging in such a lifestyle in today’s day and age. My family wasn’t wealthy by any means, and as far as trans-girls go, I’m pretty damned cute…still I was never tempted to make “easy money” by exploiting that and debasing myself. How can you presume to call such money easily gained when it comes at the price of your very dignity?

Dignity. That’s what it SHOULD be about. Our journey to ourselves is a beautiful thing. We follow our paths, compelled by one of the strongest forms of loyalty a human being is capable of possessing…that undying, unflinching pledge to our very own souls that we will be what we were meant to be. Why cheapen such a beautiful experience? To “get there first” by coming up with money for surgeries? That’s all well and good…but then where are you? Where is it that you ‘got to?’ And what did you truly become? It is true that in many cases, desperation drives us, but ignorance should not. We should always be mindful of what we’re willing to sacrifice and what we’re hoping to gain, ensuring ourselves that one does not outweigh the other and that we can live with such choices after the fact.

Part of what I hope to do, both by studying at school and by going to different government agencies to discuss my past, is to put a very real, very human face on what science has labelled an aberration, under the heading of “transgendered.” I’m someone who’s done a lot of growing up, just like you…or you…or you. And it’s been hard, but I struggled through and did it right. Now, I want to give back to the youngsters by helping those who help them understand better what struggles they go through…and who knows, maybe I’ll eventually go back for my MSW and help these kids directly as a social worker. Either way, I help. Even now and as someone who helps, goddammit, I have a right to be upset…our kids deserve better and so do you girls, yourselves! Respect yourselves…it’s daunting to trudge this path with honor and self-respect, but it certainly is not impossible…and don’t let anyone lead you to believe otherwise.

Angel…a little boy’s inspiration

Just a little blurb I wrote about Shelley Hack on Tumblr, submitted for your perusal my dear WordPress chums ^_^

So…in case anyone was wondering…why all the sudden Charlie’s Angels-related posts? It’s not just because I’m super-psyched about the September boxed set release of the entire series, though believe you me, I AM!! There’s something more. Allow me to explain.

When I was 17 and I began questioning my gender identity and exploring my own inherent femaleness more deeply than I’d ever been allowed to before, I took some time off to just meet myself for the first time. While living this life of leisure, my daily ritual included some Wai Lana Yoga at the crack of dawn. One day, after finishing my yoga session, I flipped through the channels and saw that a Charlie’s Angels re-run was playing on…TNT I think it was, or maybe TV Land. Either way, I’d always been intrigued by the show, having heard from my mother, aunt and grandma how much they enjoyed it during its original run in the seventies. My very first episode was a season 4 Shelley Hack episode, I can’t remember which but I know she wore a stunning wine red jumpsuit which made her jump out at me. It was my first taste of seventies fashion which would eventually come to influence a lot of my own looks.

I just thought she was spectacular…such a model of grace and sophistication. So, I kept watching and became enthralled by the series and later on in life, once Wikipedia had become a “thing,” I read a lot about the Angels, especially my favorite and was surprised to find Shelley Hack was as unpopular as she was. I couldn’t understand why, I thought she was very talented and in my opinion, lovelier than the other two (though of course they were also stunning). Anyway after reading more Charlie’s Angels-related material than I care to admit, I learned that it was all just a very poorly-handled business tactic; Hollywood ever in need of the proverbial scapegoat. Having always been something of an underdog myself…this only made my admiration for Shelley Hack and her character of “Tiffany Welles” that much stronger. She was someone I could identify with and strove to be like. Then I learned about all the fabulous causes Ms. Hack’s been a part of throughout her life, about how she strives to aid war-torn nations by utilizing media as a way to introduce impartial democracy to them, about her part in aiding numerous women’s organizations, and her advocacy of higher education above all. Coupling that with the winning smile, sumptuous seventies fashions she wore in her hey-day, her fondness for the Supremes, apple pies and the fact that she portrayed a transgendered housewife in an episode of Tales From The Crypt…well, if there was ever any doubt in any detractors’ minds…Shelley Hack IS an Angel, in more ways than one.

Family Ties

Family is a wonderful thing. And I don’t mean exclusively blood-related family, but that sense of community and “you can count on me” that you get from a group you consider yourself to be a part of, be it comprised of relatives, friends or any other type of person.

But, as transpeople, can we always count on our families to be there? The harsh reality is that we can’t. Many of us live in fear of our families. Still others, like myself, have faced disappointing attitudes despite being from tightly-knit families that otherwise have had no significant problems.

When I first began my transition, my grandmother wanted to have me visited by a pastor because she thought I was insane and her antiquated solution was to drive that insanity from me through spiritual warfare, which to me, seemed much crazier than anything I was doing. The real obstacle was a lack of understanding and dialogue. But sometimes, despite numerous attempts at fostering that kind of open dialogue, there will be people who are unwilling to or are not yet ready to listen. That kind of stone-cold silence can breed a resentment in both parties that ofttimes isn’t easy to shake. People don’t remember words or actions, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel. Still, it’s important to let go of resentment eventually. It’s fine to be angry, and in our situations we need to allow ourselves the benefit of being mad, but it’s equally important to not stay angry the rest of our lives. For me, my anger was channelled through isolation and self-improvement. I’d read, do exercise, watch old films, study how-to videos. My only ally in those days was my mother. As is so often the case, family can be a double-edged sword. Some members will protect you through thick and thin, while others can’t wait to cut you down.

I am blessed to say that I had the benefit of a truly loving mother, whose compassion and empathy saw me through those days of isolation. Some might say that isolation was self-imposed, and in a sense, it was, though it’s also true that I was driven to it. From my own experiences, I can say that isolating yourself is one of the best things you can do in these situations. Walking away gives both parties time to reflect and examine their own biases. It always helps to have friends who understand, but not everyone has that luxury. And during a transition one really needs to rediscover oneself as one’s own BEST friend. Whatever you do, don’t let your anger drive you to self-destruction. So often in our community, we resort to drugs and alcohol and other vices that will only hinder our chances at a successful transition and mar us forever.

During my transition I recall another family member’s attitude. How she told me she didn’t want me to come over her house dressed as a female because I ran the risk of confusing her two year old regarding gender identity. So I stopped going to her house, there was no compromise. And I think it’s important, that we as transfolk, establish not only a firm identity as our true selves, but also a firm sense of what we are and are not willing to compromise. Understanding is great, but only when it’s reciprocal. Sometimes, this will entail conflict and accusations of being selfish. Guess what? That’s okay. It’s alright to be selfish. This is something that’s taken me years to realize, sacrificing yourself doesn’t gain you anything, it doesn’t make you noble, it makes you a puppet, controlled by the whims of others. As a transperson, you’re your own ally and advocate. Fight for your right to exist, without apology and without excuse. The people who truly love you just may come around eventually. But they may not. And learning to live without them is a harsh reality that one just may have to accept.

In my own case, they did luckily “come around,” but I realize it’s not so simple for other transpeople and my heart goes out to you. It’s never easy, but know that you are worth it. There’s only one life and its yours! Whether family ties are meant to be double-knotted or unravel themselves completely, depends not upon you, but on them and the place they’re in emotionally. The inherent urge for freedom is never an illness and it shouldn’t be treated as such…but hatred, bigotry, fear…those are very real illnesses and we shouldn’t let them infect, control or hold us back from achieving our own dreams and strengthening the most important tie we have…to our souls and to our selves.

The Lady-In-Waiting Video Blog…Season 2!! Coming shortly…

Pride – A Poem

A sea of primaries
Swells the city-streets
Narrow canals – blazing blue, roaring red, yelping yellow

Streamers and floats
Too proud not to gloat
And today at least, that’s okay

Flaunting and flouncing
Bouncing higher than sky-bound balloons

I march and I step
Pound the black pavement
On three-inch heels
Fanning myself in fawning frenzy
Dainty as a Chinese maid
As the road we traverse
Simmers and the sunbeams burst
Overhead
My fanning picks up steam
I’m a monsoon now,
Riding a wave under the pyramidal slopes
Of my scarlet paper parasol

United under this umbrella
Vivid with verve,
Livid with nerve
Shielded from the reverb
Of those who don’t quite ‘get’
Us fancy-folk,
Folk who bleed rainbows
Folk who weep wonder

Bear becomes brethren,
Trans becomes trooper,
Nudist becomes neighbor,
Pride becomes all…

Together we walk, over and under,
The brightest umbrella
On a day without rain

Current plans/reflections

Gosh…it’s 3:36 in the friggin’ morning right now and I just finished cleaning up all the crap I’ve been trying on for the past two hours in preparation for my very first gay pride march. My final answer? A peacock-print tunic which I’m opting to wear as a dress by excluding any pants. I’m usually pretty prude about dress-length, but for the Gay Pride Parade where too high isn’t high enough, what with all the naked lesbians and whatnot, I think it’s okay to bend the rules, no? It’s only a few inches above my knee, but my grandmother still thinks it’s too short. Am I crazy for asking my bible-thumping grandma for advice on how to dress for the gay pride parade in NYC? I mean really, I feel like I’m the only transgendered twenty-something woman in this exact situation…but in a way I’m also pretty damn lucky to be in this exact situation. Anyway, word of advice for next year…don’t ask your grandmother for advice on what to wear. She says ‘no’ to everything and makes you feel fat about yourself.

Moving on randomly…I’m working on a short story/epic novel…yeah somehow it’s a happy medium between the two. It’s I guess, what you’d call a fantasy-type story centered around a powerful Eunuch who lives in a realm where magic is commonplace and who essentially has to fight to regain her homeland, etc. etc. I’m pretty optimistic about it. A few months ago I started working on the concept of a trans-heroine that trans-teens might become trans-fixed by (ok enough with the trans, I promise). Someone who has action-packed adventures like…I dunno, Xena Warrior Princess (am I dating myself? I feel like I am). In any case, I’m thinking of putting it out as a free e-book when I’m finally finished with it, but I’d like to gauge interest levels, so…anyone? Anyone at all? … Bueller?

In other early morning randomness, I’ve been watching Dream Of The Red Chamber on the YouTube lately. I’ve also started reading the David Hawkes translation (entitled Story Of The Stone) which is pretty awesome, I must say. Don’t ask me why I found myself so suddenly immersed in this story…I’m not Chinese and I honestly can’t remember what specifically piqued my interest in this tale other than my life-long fascination with Asian cultures…but for whatever reason, fate wanted me to know of its existence. I must say, the thing that I find the loveliest about this story, specifically its television adaptation where you can really see it, is the sheer liveliness of the characters. The simple joys of touring the gardens with friends, gazing upon exotic flowers and birds in flight, sipping wine and composing poetry on the kang. All in 18th Century China…before the internet, before television, before people relinquished their zest for just living and decided instead to live vicariously through technology. Not that I’m knocking the world of technology, after all it’s the reason I’m able to write this entry, I just admire the simplicity of the times and that ability to be stimulated by such things. I feel like so many of us are just plain jaded in this day and age, myself included. It would be nice to step into Bao-yu’s world for a while. But only a short while…after all…I’m a spoiled American who melts in 80 degree weather without any air conditioning.

Siiiigh…well, that’s all for now, dear readers. I might post a video tomorrow or right before the Pride Parade. Then again, I might not. It all depends on how lazy I’m feeling. But either way, I’ll let you know how it goes…so wish me luck! ^_^