Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Korean tv takes a brave step forward into equality

So, yeah this is another post about a Korean tv drama, this one is "Coffee Prince".

                  WAIT!

Come back!  This one has a great story, but its how delicately they treated the main theme that is blowing me away.
 Choi Han-Gyul is the only one without a vest.  Go Eun-Chan is the sitting on the table.

When the drama begins it seems like just another typical poor girl working insanely hard to put food on the table, who struggles against overwhelming odds daily, but still manages to be cheerful and happy.  However, this drama quickly tosses all those cookie cutter plots in the trash, and heads for untrammeled pastures.

Korean society, as most Asian countries, has a vast pay inequality based on gender.  Needing to help support her mum and younger sister, Go Eun-Chan who has boyish looks and shape, lets everyone believe she is a guy to receive jobs only open to men and a higher paycheck, and plays on that by only wearing male clothing.  She meets a fella who is being pushed by his Grandmother to go on blind dates with marriage in his near future.  He's not ready to settle down and pays Eun-Chan to go to his blind dates and act as his gay lover.  Grandmother realizes to what great lengths he is willing to go to chase potential brides away and drops the blind dating to Han-Gyul's great relief.

Choi Han-Gyul later offers her a job at his new coffee shop, and slowly falls in love with her, believing the entire time that she is a guy.  Once he realizes that he is falling in love with her, he tries hugging a girl he used to have a huge crush on whose now a friend, and then Eun-Chan hoping that it will "fix" his confusing attraction he is feeling for a "guy", it doesn't.

He talks to a psychiatrist hoping the doctor could help him get rid of these same sex attraction feelings.  The good doctor asks him how long he has wanted to wear make-up and act like a woman.  The writers are making fun of the elderly doctor's out dated views on homosexuality in a way that hopefully allows views to see that one can't change their sexual orientation through psychiatry.

Things come to a head one night on the beach.  At the end of the clip, he says he just can't be with "him' as he knows Eun-Chan wants.



 It's all to much for Han-Gyul and he fires Eun-Chan, but she refuses to quit, so he stops coming into work and pretty much trashes his house.  Han-Gyul is so torn as to what he wants, being angry with himself for having those feelings, confusion and anger at liking a guy, missing Eun-Chan and hating that he misses "him".

Han-Gyul is in an emotional trap.  Here is a straight guy, who believes he is in love with another man, and wants to be with him, but can't let himself.  After days and days he comes back to work and is surly and nasty and angry with everyone, but especially Eun-Chan.  Driving home from work, he's crying and trying to decide what to do, and begins to remember the fun they have had, and "him" calling Han-Gyul brother, until finally he turns the car around and heads back to the shop where he knows Eun-Chan is alone.

Han-Gyul walks up to Eun-Chan and says, "Just once....I'll say it just once I like you, I don't care if you're a man or an alien".  Han-Gyul tells "him" that he will be with "him" and doesn't care what happens.  Sorry I couldn't find one with english subs with just this section.  But I wanted you to see the conflict he is struggling with even as he is kissing "him", but he knows he can't live without "him".







What I found amazing about this show is they never took the easy way, nor did they gloss over Han-Gyul's emotional torment and confusion.  They let the emotions flow from treating "him" as a good friend, to treating "him" as a younger brother, to despair at being in love with another man.  The writers never once made light of being gay.  Several of the other coffee shop workers voiced their acceptance of having a supposedly gay co-worker.  One of whom said, "What difference is it anyway who someone loves?"

Yes, it would have been better if Eun-Chan actually was a man, but I still think this is a huge step for a traditional society like Korea.  I can see conservatives throwing a fit about this show if it aired on national tv here in America. Yelling that they knew it was all a lifestyle choice, and how dare they air  such a show where children could see it!

Ok, I can see how one could view it as a choice for Han-Gyul, because he does choose to be with a man.  But I see it as someone willing to throw anything and possibly everything away for love.  A love he didn't seek, and a love he didn't honestly want, but a love he couldn't resist, and chose to follow his heart.  Which is what we LGBT folks keep saying, "its about love".

Now, I know you're wondering why Eun-Chan didn't tell Han-Gyul that she is indeed a girl.  At one point he tells her that he likes her better than any girl, he has so much fun with her, and she's afraid if she tells him he wont have anything to do with her, and having some of him is better than none.

She does eventually tell him, and yes he is angry with her, but hey its a Korean Drama, and there is ALWAYS a happy ending.








Monday, March 16, 2015

Free Range Biki

So, I've been out and about and snapping some photos of the world around me.

Before I left Alaska after Christmas, I snapped a photo of my favorite bridge.
And arrived to this sight for light deprived eyes.  My apartment complex's water feature.














Then a trip to Tempe to load up on tasty tamales! Downtown Tempe is quirky and fun and as any area surrounding college campuses, full of art and bars.  The best of both worlds, yeah?

First the art, sidewalk style.



Then the bar that grabbed my attention.  Is it just my very dirty mind, or at first glance does the ladder look a bit like jism running down his mouth?



















Seen outside of Whole Foods while I was manning a table for the library at a neighborhood celebration.  She's quite tame, or so the fella says, and is 21 years old, and has the projected life span of nearly 90 years!



















A delightful evening spent playing '80's arcade games.  This one was my favorite, I used to play this one all the time at a bar with TH.
And a trip to an aquarium with my friends.
Weird looking fish, like peeking into an sci-fi movie, or a cartoon.  It was a pretty cool aquarium but it was geared to children, so many of the fish tanks were down on there physical level.  Yes, I had to lean down!  Geesh!  I'm not that short!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

MIA Biki



Yes, I've been gone due to grief.

No, no, everyone is still healthy and hearty.  Added a new grandchild to the family rosters actually, a wee girl.  That brings the total of grands up to three, two wee adorable girls and a wee lad of a boy.

I'm having major gender issues to the point where I don't know who I am.  Male?  Female?  Neuter?  Both?

Remember me telling you about the tummy flu?  And then I caught a cold.  After getting back to Cactus Land I caught the chest flu that was going around at work.  While I'm not 100% sure exactly that this is the cause/effect but for the first time in my life I'm healthy.  I forgot a knife in the dishpan the other day and cut myself jolly well and good.  Three days later, its nearly gone.  The kink in my ear canal that has been there since around 5 years when my allergy to calcium made my ear canals grow nearly closed, is nearly gone!  My hair is suddenly thicker to the point when I had my hair cut the stylist mentioned it.  The only thing I can think of is that 2 years of eating nothing I shouldn't has allowed me to heal and repair.  And catching viruses reminded my body of what it is supposed to do, fight invaders, not myself.


But along with the feeling better, and becoming more active, I'm losing weight and toning up and becoming more girl shaped, and its tossed me for a loop-de-loop yet again.

I know I'm a guy, but can't touch or see him and he's totally invisible to everyone.

Since my return in January, I've come out to several more people that I work with.  All of them have been accepting, one even asking what pronouns I wanted used.

And while I'm no longer alone in this journey, I'm still invisible.


Been re-thinking the whole clothing thing again, but that wont let people see a boy, only a butch lesbian.  Nothing against lesbians, butch or otherwise, but that isn't who I am, or want to be seen as.

I'm a man, a gay man, trapped for all eternity within the body of a girl with no way out, unless I'm willing to loose TH.  Which is unthinkable, totally completely unthinkable.

For a teenager who didn't believe in love, but only lust, this love thingy sure did hook me.

And now you know why I've been gone.  I hate being sad.  

Oh, just to calm your worries, I'm totally not suicidal this time, not even a tiny bit.  Just sad, and blue and depressed.











Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

When I'm searching the stacks doing pull/holds for patrons for the library, I'll admit to doing wee bit of shopping for my own reading pleasure.  Quite often looking for someones requested book takes me to sections of the Dewy that I don't visit when looking for something to new to read.

Such was the case last week when I came across this delightful book.

The book begins on March 30, 2005 with the drawing for the $84 million Powerball drawing.  Unbelievably 110 people picked the winning numbers.  Even stranger was that these were all hand picked numbers, not a single one of the winners were computer generated.

And so the digging begins with each winner being carefully questioned, to find out why the winners picked these numbers, only to discover they all used the lucky numbers from their fortune cookie.  No, this is not a spoiler, its mentioned on the cover in the front flap.

As Jennifer criss crosses first our country, and later spins her web of curiosity around the world, looking for the beginnings of fortune cookies.  Looking into the snakeheads, who for exorbitant fees, smuggle Chinese people to other countries, predominantly to the USA.  Why no matter what part of the country you live in, Chinese restaurants always have Chinese as waiters, kitchen staff and bus boys, and finally why so very few of them speak English.  Soy sauce wars both within our own country and abroad.  And finally answers where in the world is the best Chinese restaurant!

Jennifer has a light touch with her writing, keeping the reader glued to the book, flipping pages to see where it all ends up.  This book never lags or stumbles, but keeps you riveted on her various red herrings side trips on her quest to answer who invented fortune cookies.

What I found so fasinating was how widely adopted and adapted Chinese food is around the world.  One of her interesting findings is that in India, Chinese food is the second most popular cuisine eaten, with an Indian twist of course.

Chinese food has become so deeply ingrained in the American food culture that during the Iraq Invasion in 2003 two Chinese restaurants bloomed in the Baghdad Green Zone!  We think our our country's foodscape as little more than McDonald's, Burger King's and KFC's.  From sea to shining sea one long boring run of burgers and fried chicken. But like so much of common knowledge, its wrong.  We have more Chinese restaurants than we have of the big three chains added together!  Who knew that Chinese food was more popular than our iconic burger and fries?

EDIT!  I forgot to include the Powerball numbers: 28, 39, 22, 32, 33 and 42

And this  about Jennifer from wikipedia:
Lee was born on March 15, 1976 in New York City, to immigrants from Kinmen, an island off the coast of China's Fujian province.[7][8] Lee was not given a middle name at birth so she chose "8." when she was a teenager.[9][10][11] In Chinese culture, the number eight symbolizes prosperity and good luck. She graduated from Hunter College High School in Manhattan in 1994. She graduated from Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1999 with a degree in applied mathematics and economics


 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Home Run!

As someone who grew up with biscuits or cornbread at nearly every single supper, going without has been tough.  After a while, I finally gave up on biscuits but kept dogging for a cornbread that tasted like corn bread, and didnt go weird tasting within 24 hours.

Thanks to the wonderous product The Vegg I have finally climbed the hill that was Mount Impossible and turned out some kick ass corn bread!!! 

Finding 'store bought' crackers that I'm able to eat is nearly impossible.  One of the brands that I thought was safe, has turned out not to be, sigh.  So, today I made my first batch of crackers!  They are a wee bit to salty, and if they are not evenly rolled out the thinner ones burn before the thicker ones are done.  They are seriously tasty, and will work on perfecting them! 

See?  Don't they look good?  Imagine a cross between a Ritz cracker and pie dough baked blind. crispy, crunchy and just a tad buttery. 
Oh, and yeah, the quest for biscuits hasn't ended, I just had to give it a break due to sorta loosing my temper when ever they would turn out like lead weights and hard as a rock.  I used to crank out biscuits by the pan full, light and fluffy, sigh. 



Ok, ok that was a mite over the top, but hey!  Give a guy a break, I have moments of being dramatic!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

All The Little Things by Panti Bliss

We need more LGBT activists speaking out in this manner.  My only quibble?  Is when he said, "Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals" and left out the trans folks.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

...and so it goes, and so it goes





Reality is beginning to sink into even the thickest heads that the battle to stop equal marriage is lost.  Yes, we will still have to suffer from more nonsense lawsuits, and the rhetoric won't die down for awhile, but its really all over but the waiting for SCOTUS to get off their wrinkled behinds and rule that denying anyone the ability to marry any adult is unconstitutional.

And so the culture wars are already shifting into their next phase.  Trying to pass laws legalizing discrimination for religious reasons, and thankfully so far, none of these has managed to pass.  The only way I can see these hideous laws stopped for good is yet another ruling from SCOTUS.  But as slow as they move on anything, this will be years and years if not decades into the future.

So, what minority will next wear the mantle of hate and bigotry? Why none other than my trans sisters and brothers.  The haters have found a whipping child in the sad tale of Leelah.  I read this article today, and was moved between tears of anguish and anger. 

Read it and weep.

Exploiting tragedy: Transgender teen’s suicide poses parenting puzzles


Hell hath no fury like a 17-year-old with a political cause: If the outcome weren’t so tragic, we might draw that conclusion from Ohio teen Leelah Alcorn’s suicide note.

Born a boy and named Joshua, Alcorn had come to identify as female — and been frustrated by her parents’ response when she came out to them as transgendered. Before walking into traffic on Sunday morning, she left this message on her Tumblr blog:

“The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights.”
There’s more: “Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say ‘that’s f - - ked up’ and fix it. Fix society.”
According to Alcorn, her parents reacted “extremely negatively” when she broke the news. She wrote that her mother told her that it was just a phase and “God doesn’t make mistakes.”

Alcorn’s parents are Christians; they initially banned their son from social-networking sites and decided to homeschool him, in order, they said, to help him get over his inclinations. They sent him to Christian therapists who tried to talk him out of his transgender feelings.

Yet they later relented and let Leelah go back to school and allowed access to social media.

Alcorn’s mother told CNN that her son was on medication for depression and that, while she and her husband didn’t support his choice to be a girl, “We told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy.”

The Alcorns have suffered a tremendous loss, but sex columnist Dan Savage thinks they have only themselves to blame. He wants them prosecuted for child abuse.

He tweeted: “We know that parental hostility rejection doubles a queer kid’s already quadrupled risk of suicide — rejecting your queer kid is abuse.”

He added, “Leelah Alcorn’s parents . . . should be ashamed — but 1st they need to be shamed. Charges should be brought.”
Dan Savage         @fakedansavage
We know that parental hostility & rejection doubles a queer kid's already quadrupled risk of suicide—rejecting your queer kid is abuse.

Dan Savage         @fakedansavage
's parents threw her in front of that truck. They should be ashamed—but 1st they need to be shamed. Charges should be brought.
Others agree. A Change.org petition demanding that the headstone say “Leelah,” not “Joshua,” has 55,000 signatures.

The Princeton, NJ-based Transgender Human Rights Institute is pushing Leelah’s Law, a federal ban on “conversion therapy” of all kinds.

This is outrageous. First off, Carla Alcorn wasn’t wrong on the merits: For many transgender kids, it is a just a phase.

As Paul McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, recently wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “When children who reported transgender feelings were tracked without medical or surgical treatment at both Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic, 70 percent-80 percent of them spontaneously lost those feelings.”

McHugh warns against the sex-reassignment surgery that Leelah demanded from her parents for just that reason. (After all, it’s no trivial step — the full course takes years, and key parts are irreversible.)

Second, as McHugh explains, just because you think you were born into the wrong body doesn’t mean that’s actually your medical diagnosis.

We don’t tell anorexics that they’re right about feeling they’re too fat, and need to work to get thinner.
But back to the Alcorns. Are parents now required to embrace everything their teens decide is part of their identity or be accused of child abuse?

What of all the 16-year-olds who think they’ve found love and want to consummate the relationship as often as possible?

Is this what Savage’s “It Gets Better” movement is really about? It was supposed to inspire young people who were being “bullied” or “harassed” to know that there are people out there who love and support them.

Yet the parental behavior Leelah Alcorn described doesn’t constitute abuse. They just didn’t accept her announcement with open arms.

Perhaps her suicide was a reaction to a recent conversation with her parents. Perhaps it was the result of a lot of emotional issues.

After all, she wrote, “I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy.”

To judge by her final note, though, Leelah Alcorn saw her suicide as a political act. “Gender needs to be taught in school”; we need to “fix society”; transgender people need “human rights.”

She even wanted her possessions donated to a transgender “civil rights” group.

These are the words of a teen who thinks her own death is going to contribute to a cause.

If you think that finding a “community” online is always going to produce a positive outcome, think again.

Emotionally unstable teens may get some loving notes of support on their Facebook pages, but they may also absorb the rants of activists like Dan Savage.

And those impressionable teens may be inclined to believe that they’re engaged in some kind of larger struggle — one for which they should make the ultimate sacrifice.

*http://nypost.com/2015/01/05/exploiting-tragedy-transgender-teens-suicide-poses-parenting-puzzles/

If you are wondering about how valid the 80% is.  Here is an snippet of an article.
At last year’s Gender Odyssey conference, where families with kids like mine gather from all corners of the country, I attended a talk given by Dr. Johanna Olson. She works with transgender kids in Los Angeles. She’s a smart and outspoken advocate for these children, and she’s been featured on national TV talking about her work.
Here’s what she said: “The ‘80 percent’ statistic is based on a flawed 2008 study done in the Netherlands.” She then described the study, explaining that the researchers looked at young children who were initially identified as transgender. It then checked back on them after a year or so. But it lost track of a bunch of those kids. For some reason, these kids didn’t come back for the follow-up research. So the researchers made the assumption that these kids had reverted back to their original gender. These kids were simply assumed to be not transgender, and these kids created the “80 percent.”

Like all the stupid crap throughout the years written about lesbians, gays and bisexuals, the stupid is afoot in the hater world dealing with the transgender folk.

And then there is this, appropriately enough on Fox err Faux News.
Heyer also cited a Dutch study that said 61 percent of individuals who desire a gender change are found to have secondary psychiatric disorders, such as depression or dissociative disorder, which he suffered from.
Other critics asked whether Tommy’s same-sex parents may be unknowingly influencing his questions about his gender.
“Undue influence on the child simply has to be ruled out,” said psychiatrist Keith Ablow, a Fox News contributor. “It's the psychologically correct thing to do, the ethical thing to do and the moral thing to do."
"Obviously, when two females adopt a male child, then assert that the child is not actually male, but is, instead, actually a female -- like both of them. Everyone in the family should be psychologically evaluated in a comprehensive way before a step like gender reassignment is considered,” said Ablow.

This time, its blame the parents.  And these are such easy targets for the hater baters, two lesbians who of course must have confused their child into thinking men are an unwanted species and so their wee laddie decided that it would be better to be a girl.

What this article skirts around is that yes, trans children of all ages have issues with secondary psychiatric disorders, ie depression, and why would that be?  Hmm, could it be the fact that who they are isnt reflected in a mirror? 

Like usual, Faux Newz takes a dash of actual statistics and stirs it well into their "articles" so that the unwary think they are getting an actual hard news piece.  Yes, yes, they are watching/reading Faux Newz, but those who dont have their minds already closed to transgender children and adults how many would still have an open mind on this issue after finishing this article?  Few to none I would imagine.

In 1973 the APA declassified being homosexual as a mental disorder, which helped immensely to win civil rights.  That's what needs to happen for transgender/transsexuals now. 


DSM-IV and DSM-IV-TR

Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescents and Adults replaced the term transsexualism. In the DSM-IV-TR, GID is placed in the category of Sexual Disorders, with the subcategory of Gender Identity Disorders. The names were changed in DSM-IV to "Gender Identity Disorder in Children", "Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescents or Adults", and "Gender Identity Disorder Not Otherwise Specified".
As long as we are listed in a mental health guide book, we will be painted as mentally ill.  While I do think its important for people to talk things through with an therapist before having reassignment surgery, I think its utter hogwash to make those wanting to transition to see a therapist before starting hormones. 

The straw man arguments about men in dresses raping ladies and children in the bathrooms.  The teenaged boys in school who just want to peek at naked girls and possibly sexually molest them in locker rooms and bathrooms canard.  It all boils down to the same damned worn out shit that gay men have been painted with for years and years.....