Thursday, November 24, 2011

Merry Turkey Day!


Happy Thanksgiving!

It seems as if we mostly only hear gloom and doom in our daily life.  The cable news networks seem to enjoy breaking our hearts with daily stories of rapes, murders and worse.  I'm not sure why bad news is such a draw over happier, uplifting stories.  Could it be that we are that jaded?  Or is our daily life so devoid of joy, that we really can only bear to see people worse off than us?

Hmmm…….what I think is really going on, is that big horrid occurrences DO draw in the viewers, but the day to day updates on a missing person or murder trials seems more like a reality show.  We turn in to see what's up with the hunt for the missing human, or to see how the prosecution is doing against the lawyers for the defense, and somehow thru the medium of the tv, it looses its 'realness' and becomes little different than "Big Brother" or "Survivor".  Both are similar really, they both have their 'villains' their 'heroes' and of course a winner that we hash over days after that current cycle of the show ends.  But, today I'm doing a happy story, a true story, a story that needs a wider audience, because this man is a shining star indeed.

Jimmy Creech was a United Methodist minister, yes past tense, he is an unsung hero of the trenches of fighting hand to hand for marriage rights for all Americans, and for his unrepentant fight he was defrocked.  Jimmy felt the pull to be a pastor, he loved nothing more than holding his parishioners hands and hearts in their time of need, spreading the God he knew, which was a God of love and of peace.  This is a man who lives the word of God, no shilly shalling about, he believes what he preaches.

Like most people who don't realize they know LGBTQ humans, Jimmy was typical in his blindness to their daily struggles to live a 'normal' life.  While in his office one fine morning one of his flock came into his office saying how he was finished with the Methodist church.  How Adam refused to support or attend a church that hated him.  Jimmy calmed him down and pulled the reason out of him.  This is what drove 'Adam' from his church of birth;

"The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and consider this practice incompatible with Christian teaching. We affirm that God’s grace is available to all. We will seek to live together in Christian community, welcoming, forgiving, and loving one another, as Christ has loved and accepted us.  We implore families and churches not to reject or condemn lesbian and gay members and friends. We commit ourselves to be in ministry for and with all persons." (1)

Adam's grief and anger ripped the blinders from Jimmy's eyes, and he began a spiritual quest to seek the answers.  This is a quest that began in 1984 and still continues to this day.  At one of his church trials, this is what Jimmy had to say about how he felt that God, the bible and his faith intersect;
"It is my belief that the position taken by The United Methodist Church regarding same-gender unions, as well as that regarding "the practice" of homosexuality, is wrong, unjust, discriminatory and inconsistent with the spirit of Christ and our Wesleyan and Methodist traditions…"

"Sexual orientation is not a moral issue; it is morally neutral.  Sexual ethics are simple: sexual relationships should be mutual, non-exploitative, nurturing and loving.  What is immoral are unequal, exploitative, abusive and unloving sexual acts toward another person.  This is true regardless of the orientation of the persons involved.  I believe that sexual activity which is considered moral when practiced by two people of different genders, is no less moral when practiced by two people of the same gender.  The crucial test is whether the activity is mutual, non exploitative, nurturing and loving.

I believe that the sin of heterosexism is no less a sin than that of racism.  While some of the dynamics may be different, they are fundamentally identical in nature as an expression of a dominate culture over another.

Just as it was the church in the South that perpetuated racism so that slavery and white supremacy could have legitimacy, the Christian church has been responsible, more than any other institution, for perpetuating the sin of heterosexism as a form of control over what is feared within all of us: the mystery of human sexuality and intimacy (sexual or non-sexual) with persons of the same gender.

Because of the heterosexism taught and practiced by the institution of the Christian church, countless young people have committed suicide, adults have lived lifetimes of lies, families have been destroyed, gay men and lesbians have been cruelly treated and murdered, the spirit and lives of millions of gay people have been crippled, and they have been told that the love of God is denied to them because of who they are, and will continue to be unless they become other than who they are.."

This is a man who loved being a pastor, who loved ministering to his flock, and worked hard at his job, who took a pay decrease when times were tough at his church.  Even though he lost one church due to his stance on believing, no strike that, he knew that God and Jesus loved all of his children, gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual and transgender, that Jesus would have welcomed all into his church, and allowing all to marry.  After getting a chance at a new church, Jimmy didn't blanch or hedge his bets, he carried on, trying to make the new church more inclusive, more open to lgbt humans, causing the church to split in two factions, the group that grew to understanding that God loved all humans no matter of their sexuality, and the group that lives in the past with hate and bigotry. 

Jimmy's work caused him to lose this new church, and later be defrocked, which for a man who believes in God and his church was wrenching, but once he stepped off the curb and marched in his first gay pride parade, carrying a banner saying that God loved all his children, he never looked back, never wavered, never changed his stance, his tone, his belief.

If you 'know' me, you'll pick up quite quickly that I'm not a religious person.  I was raised going to church on Sundays, summer bible school and the whole 9 yards.  Even as a small person however, I saw the hypocrisy in singing, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the bible tells me so" and then listening to the 'pastor's' hate filled preaching, at that point in time, the hate was spewed towards the blacks.  This was the time period of the race riots, freedom marches and the beginning of desegregation of schools.

I lived in an apartment complex that primarily served military families, I was the only kid in our square whose daddy wasn't in the military.  I had friends who were black, who were half asian, latino, heck it didnt matter to me what color they were, still doesn't.  We were a rainbow, and got along great with each other.  From making mud pies, to playing pick up games of football, racing around on our bikes, and sharing lunches, and following the mail man every single day all of us talking to him at once, I knew these kids were no different from me.  The flyleaf of my children's bible was Jesus surrounded by children, and they were from all over the world.  I remember laying on the floor one sweltering hot summer day, (this is when only the rich had air conditioning!) and looking at my bible, and remembering the 'message' from the previous Sunday, and I couldn't get what I knew to be true, and what a man of "God" said about blacks. 

So began my quest for answers.  No one was safe from my questioning, and I never did receive an answer that satisfied me.  And as the young and innocent will often do, I came to my own conclusions, I was right, the adults were wrong, God did love us all, even the stupid.

Give Jimmy's book a try, and see if he doesn't make you feel just a wee bit better that not every christian in the whole world hates the lgbt humans, and gives you hope that times are a changing.

"Adam's Gift: A Memoir of a Pastor's Calling to Defy the Church's Persecution of Lesbians and Gays"
376 pages
Publisher: Duke University Press books (March 14, 2011)

Hardcover from is 19.77
Kindle version from Amazon is 16.47

(1) United Methodist Church doctrine
(2) Adam's Gift by Jimmy Creech  (i'm sorry i cant give you the page number, my copy is a kindle book)

It's all about love, yeah?
                                        Hope your thanksgiving was a happy day filled with laughter and hugs.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beyond the binary

An incident occurred while I was at the Trans conference that I've never written about.  Why?  Well, I was totally overwhelmed at the conference, without a doubt it was an entire weekend of overloaded circuits, and I wanted to make sure that there was process time between the occurrence and the writing about.  While I finally had it all worked out in my mind ages ago, I didn't feel the need to write about until now, but something R.J. said in her comment to my last post, sparked the need to talk about it.

I have been discriminated against by a couple of T girls for not having transitioned and I never understood it. by R.J.

Fledging me was sitting at one of the dinners at the conference, chatting happily with the people sitting at my table.  Dinner was over and there was a great deal of table hopping going on.  The two ladies next to me, took their purses and disappeared into the mix.  The lady on the other side asked me to save her seat, as she need to use the restroom.   I'm sitting all happy as a puppy, sipping the last of my beer, when this lady I didn't know, but had seen here and there around plopped down next to me. 

Working on the confidence I'd gained over the past couple of days, I greeted her first, with a happy welcoming smile on my face.  Not the reserved one that I usually wear.  And then, the other shoe fell hard on my neck.  This is the gist of our "conversation".  Conversation is in quotes, because really it was an interrogation. 

Her:  So, we have all been wondering about you.  Just what do you think you are?

Me:  Umm, what do you mean?

Her:  WHAT do you THINK you are? 

Me: ……………..

Her: (very condescendingly) Are you a guy or a girl?

Me:  Oh!  I'm a guy. Why?

Her:  Well, you have earrings on, nail polish and boobs.  You were confusing us.

Me:  My earrings are guys, and if you'd look around, you'd see most of the transmen wearing earrings.  I have on polish sure, but its black and left over from the decades dance.  I was a rocker and forgot to purchase the special remover this polish requires, So I left it.  And yeah I have boobs, my body is female.

Her:  You should bind and not wear earrings and polish so not to confuse us.

At this point I was beyond speechless.  Heretofore I didn't realize this event was policed by the styling mafia.  Did I mention her ill fitting wig?  Or the poorly applied makeup?  I did not.  Why?  It wasn't any of my damned business.

One sweet transguy asked to sit with me, said he wanted to talk to me.  This was after the interrogation, and I was leery to say the least.  But he was sweet, and kind and we really hit it off.  At the end he asked me if he could use me as an example to his therapist.  It seems the therapist has a very narrow view of what it means to be male, and an even narrower world view of what being a trans person should be.  He actually said, "You've given me hope that I don't have to cookie cutter myself to be trans.  I want to model myself on you."

Well, knock me over with a feather!  I was surprised to say the least.  At this time I still hadn't dove deep into the trans pool and both of those responses took me by surprise.

And this is what I was talking about in the last post, of trans people policing their fellow trans so very closely.  What do the transmen think?  I'm not really sure actually, as a whole they are very quiet.  This is a really representative view of what a great deal of transsexual women feel. 

Transgender is a term created by a transvestite to rename her kind to a more acceptable sounding word. Virginia Prince so named herself and others of her kind such in the late 1970s. Since that time the LGBT political mongers have included everyone who is gender variant under that term. It is predominantly Gay Males who want us included in their psycho-sexual world. This gives them some sort of vindication that they are the same as us. Not even close.
A transsexual person is dealing with a congenital birth defect. This is a medical fact. Therefore there is no possible way we are the same thing. Ours is medical theirs is sexual and political.
What occurred with the ENDA mess has verified just how bad this word is to us. We are grouped with the TGs and that is part of the problem. This effects us in work, housing, and every other part of our lives and being associated with them is damaging us politically. While we may all have differences within ourselves in so far as our sexual orientation we who are transsexuals all have the common bond of the medical issue. Ours is gender identity and not sexual orientation.


But really, this is what a great deal of the rhetoric I hear around the blogworld when I hang out in the transsexual spaces.  I heard much much hate towards the cross dressers.  And how they screw up their ability to gain civil rights due to their outrages actions, and the fact they only dress as women now and then, so no one will believe them.  Sound familiar?  How many times have I heard guys complain about the flamers in their wee spangled thongs at pride fest, and how it makes the rest of the "normal" gay world look bad?

I do have to agree that cross dressers do seem to cause a chilling effect on the trans world in winning civil rights.  Makes it seem more of a "game" than a "real" problem.  However, its the "haves" that are causing the ripples in the trans pool, we are just silly enough to allow those ripples to cause class war within the trans ranks.

Most of the transgender people I've been lucky enough to meet, either in the flesh, or in the virtual world all say, they knew they were different from a very early age.  They don't quite fit comfortably within the body they were given.  They don't have the extreme form of needing surgery to feel whole, they are more of a blend than a mono-gendered person.  And after a struggle session, have come to terms with who they are a beautiful blend of male and female, or they realize they have no gender.  I think this song from the Disney movie Mulan is quite apt as to what most of us feel at one time or another.

Truthfully I've more or less decided not to attend the trans conference this winter.  But I will go back, perhaps next year when I have more a concrete platform nailed down.  And when I do come back, it will be to host a program, of which I already have a name for, "There is more than one way to be Trans, and all of them are right."

My response to the militant transsexuals?  Is this quote, The true civilization is where every man gives to every other every right that he claims for himself. --Robert Ingersol

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Barrier Method

When society closes its doors of privilege to certain people the stress it causes the shut-outs is immense.  So immense that just being a member of this shut-out group lowers life expectancy, and increases substance abuse, and in some groups lowers the age of sexual activity.  What I find fascinating is how each and every marginalized group goes through the exact same steps, no matter who the group is or when the marginalization occurs.

There are quite often physical signs telling the group they are not allowed, as with both the Irish and the Blacks.  Then their are the hidden signs but they are clear nevertheless, as in Jewish people not being allowed to join country clubs or professional societies.  Or the unspoken, unwritten rules regarding LGBT's in the work force.

While the majority really gives little if any thought to the hated "group du jour", the outsiders give massive amounts of thought to living within the restrictive confines allotted to them.  Which is why when each and every hated group begins to demand their civil rights, the majorities response is usually the same to each group. 
"We've done so much for them!  They need to be grateful for all we have given them!"

"Well!  They need to know their place! And stop flaunting themselves around."

"I have nothing against ____.  In fact I have a friend that's ____."

"Let's go slumming and hang out at the _____club.  They are such a fun 'people'."

"The bible says ….."

Within group du jour life is often arbitrary and conflicting.  Some members are picked out by the majority society and are considered "better" than the rest of the shut-outs, which quite often starts a chasm within that group, that is often unable to ever be repaired.  And because of this arbitrary mark of being allowed certain access to the majority of society, the shut-outs often fall into inter-group bickering about which members of the group is more deserving of the largess of society. 

When only scraps of the pie are given to marginalized people, what's left over is quite often fought over without any thought to sharing.  And this is where I feel the LGBT is today, especially the T.  Each letter of our rainbow has a certain faction that feels some level of hatred towards members of their own letter, and dissatisfaction towards the inclusion of certain other of the letters to the rainbow.  All of the infighting stems from the 'haves' of society cherry picking which members of the shut-outs are less objectionable to them. 

And so we have gay men often looking down on the femme more flamboyant gay men, the men who really can't hide who they are.  However, if you think about it, its the flamboyant men who were first accepted into certain areas of the 'haves' lives, fashion, decorating, and theater for example.  Now if a femme wanted to teach school? Heavens above, like that would ever fly!  So, we have the more blend-able men being able to do most any job, and the femme guys regulated to only certain areas of society.  But the blend-able men also suffer, and mightily so, in order to keep their wee corners of ledge they had to hide and lie about who they were.  The femms were free to be 'out' but only in certain situations, and so are curtailed on their own ledge.

In the transgender group, t women who can 'pass' consider themselves better, much better.  Lately an interesting new chasm has arisen with the trans group, that is of transsexuals not wanting to be grouped in with the transgendered, in any way whatsoever.  Reading many of the transsexual's posts one gets the feeling t girls feel superior to the transgendered members.  Cutting the group into ever finer slices transsexuals who have had SSR feel they are more authentic women than those who are still intact and are tucking.  All of this infighting has lead many transgendered folks away from the T and to the Q.  Many of them call themselves genderqueer because there is much less binary thinking within the Q than within the T.  If you want to see a conservative group, just look within the T's.  Many of them rigidly hold on to the binary gender rules, and woe to anyone who doesn't want to fit into their neat box, or who can't.

Many people in the LGBTQ feel that the T or the Q for that matter, don't belong within their rainbow, say its not the same thing at all.  Well, yes it is the same thing, but you have to be willing to see the larger picture, and not the narrow one.  Many T's at one point in their journey are considered to be either gay or lesbian. M2F's who are attracted to men start out as gay, but when they transition they are now straight.  Some M2F's start out as straight, but after transition are now seen to be lesbian.  Interestingly enough, some people after transitioning, change the sex they are attracted to, which needless to say is very confusing to them.  The transsexuals who are bi to start with have all the marbles, yes?  But even looking past this position of transsexuals being two letters of our rainbow, there is yet another view point, that of to many 'haves'  view gays and lesbians as flaunting gender rules.  Think of the stupid question many gay men and women get when they are with a partner long term, "so, which one of you is the girl/guy?"  They can't imagine that two women or two men can live as spouses and not have one of them act the part of the opposite gender.  So while gays and lesbians don't see themselves are gender warriors, the 'haves' do.

Within the lesbian circle there is a group of radical feminists who look down on any woman who has been married to a man, or who enjoys penetrative sex.  Yes, you read that right, they look down on those women for enjoying a good fuck. They consider penetrative sex as "rape", sigh.  Umm, without any woman being penetrated there would be no children, am I right?  Of course the butch lesbians don't blend in real well, and suffer more discrimination than the femme's do.  Many lesbians have extreme anger at m2f's, and feel they are attempting to take over womyn's spaces with their male prerogative.  They feel that f2m's are poor deluded women, seduced by the lure of male prerogative who would butcher their bodies to get that golden ring.  And of course many lesbians plain out hate all men, so they see no reason to bind their L to the G or B and never! the T.

Ah, the lot of the B's.  They seem to be dismissed on all sides.  Unbelieved by all to be actually bisexual.  Yes, there are some men who stop at the way station between straight and gay at bi.  Why?  Because it has that wonderful aroma of possibly being straight, of being just a touch gay, so no worries.  While many men use the bi station to rest up before the next stop, it clouds the reality of life as bi.  There are many ways to operate as bi, and they are all completely and totally valid ways of being. 

And while how the society views these different groups varies, life outside is a cold and unwelcoming place, and warming ourselves over the fires of other shut-outs is beyond the pale wrong.  The  more we bicker among ourselves the better off the 'haves' are.  Remember the old saw from school, "divide and conquer"?  The 'haves' are doing a fantastic job of throwing scraps to us to keep us divided and no threat to their status quo.  If we want equality, throwing some of under the bus to get there, isn't a good thing at all.  When the 'haves' keep some of us under foot, and elevates other's it causes this nasty bit of infighting and the forming of micro groups, and this has to stop.  And not just for the achieving of civil rights, but why alienate those who understand what your world is actually like?

Each group seems to go through a period of worrying about loosing their culture if they are assimilated into the 'haves' of society.  The Jewish leaders say the easy acceptance in America is leading to the eroding of their culture.  Deaf people are fighting against cochlear implants, because they see it as the end of their culture, and many parents who chose cochlear implants for their young children are shut out of the deaf culture.  It is so bad that it has divided entire families! 

A few weeks ago Rachel Maddow was talking about how marriage equality would disintegrate gay and lesbian culture.  At first I understood what she was attempting to say, and then slowly what occurred to me wasn't the loss of gay culture, but the loss of how we lived as a hidden culture.  During the dark days surrounding the build up to WW2, many people who were on Hitler's list of hated people, learned to submarine who they were in order to live.  They lived a shadow life, a life filled with fear of being discovered that was so great many of them refused pain medications afraid they would blab who they really were.  Is that what we want to keep as our culture a remembrance of life as a 'shut-out'?

We need to understand that many of us don't want to get married, and thats perfectly fine and dandy.  We also need to understand the grief many of us feel about not being able to marry our beloved partners, never being able to mark the box as married.  While I don't think that marriage equality is the end all and the be all for LGBTQ people, we do need to be on equal footing across the board with the 'haves' with civil rights. 

But on our march to equality we need to remember our weaker members, the young and the elders.  Since many shelters are ran by religious groups they refuse access to gender variant teens, or outwardly gay kids, leaving these vulnerable members out on the street and prey for the wicked. Why the police don't prosecute the parents who throw their children out into the wild, is beyond my ability to understand.  If they don't want the child back, that's perfectly fine, but make them pay for housing these kids in a more welcoming and hopefully loving situation.  Ideally what would be the best of all possible worlds if the child cant be with loving parents, would be to have group homes ran by LGBTQ.  But where would the money come from?  At the present all of our funds seem to go toward fighting marriage equality, state by slow slog state.

The elderly have an entirely different concern, the death of a spouse and the loss of their pension can mean the loss of their home, the inability to afford medical care.  There are living centers for elders that allow spouses to share a space, this option is usually not offered to gay or lesbian couples. 

Again due to the fact we are marginalized in all facets of our lives, its the weakest members who suffer the most.  The members who have no lifeline from the 'haves' to grab hold on until things get better.  So, what's the answer?  Not to get involved with the back stabbing, to not get drawn into bitch sessions about other parts of our rainbow, to truly find ways to stand together, firm on what is right, what is morally important.  We need to start yelling louder at our LGBTQ groups to find ways to protect our more at risk members.  More importantly we need to consolidate our civil rights groups into fewer, which I know to be a complete pipe dream, but at the least have them operate in tandem pushing together will accomplish much more than fighting separately.

Come on, lets join hands and hearts and win this fight, yeah?

Friday, November 4, 2011

5 on the fifth

Howdy y'all!  It's photo share time of the month again.  After looking at mine, stop on over to Stephen's blog and see all the great photos! 

The theme this month is movement, and it took me awhile to come up with some ideas.  Enjoy my typically twisted view of the world.

 The Chena River flowing slowly thru town. 

 My car moves me, yeah?

 Escaping from the tedious day to day.

I've moved to the moon!  Well, no not really, tis only the snow on my mailboxes.

An action shot!  Snow doing what it does best, fall!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I tend to work on TH's last nerve, or thats what he likes to tell people, but I know the truth, he loves it when I tweak him.  A few years ago, before he went back to work, cause I dont care what people say, 50 is way to young to retire, TH turned into a real bear to live with.  He was grumpy, short tempered, and all the fun had drained out of him.  There were many, many days where it was all i could do, not to murder-ize him. 

So one day after a partically trying day, I decided to tweak him, and the assault began.  I carefully laid a sheet of newspaper between the bed and the bottom sheet.  He got into bed, and it kept crinkling every time he moved.  He leaped up and ripped the bed apart with a roar.  At this point I was thinking, "hmm did I go a bit to far?"  Then TH began to laugh so hard tears ran down his face.  The next day saw a much more pleasant TH to be with. 

Since that night I've put the oddest things on his side of the bed, cheerios, metal washers, pennies, etc.  And oddments in his shoes, coat pockets, hats, fingers of his gloves.  Adding things to the inside of his gloves didnt go over well, the pennies got stuck in the fingers and he was almost late to his appointment!  So, that's a no-go-zone!

Then about 2 years ago he got a job at the local goldmine as a night warehouseman.  At first he was happy to head out to a job he loved, then last summer he was worried to leave me alone for 14 hours at a stretch.  And while the suicidal thoughts have for the most part fled, he still worries.  Years ago one of us ordered something or other, and this wee red dragon came with.  Last summer began the hiding of the dragon in unexpected places, it gave me something else to think about, and him a surprise. 

We take turns hiding our dragon around where the other will find it.  He's been on top of the shower stall with my toothbrush wedged along his back.  After a bath, he hid in the ice maker waiting for TH to fill his water bottle for work.  He was hanging from the switch on the bedside lamp yesterday for me to find.  Today he perched on TH's door handle waiting for him to leave for work.  Each time we hid or find our wee dragon, it makes us grin, yes we are really that easy.

TH and I have this running argument about locking my hatch on my car.  When he drives my car, the first thing he does is lock it.  Then because I'm not expecting it to be locked because I NEVER lock it, I go to open it and about rip my fingers off.   GRR!  The last time that happened, I told him, "Look!  It's my car and a cheap one at that, why would anyone want to steal it?  So. Leave. The. Hatch. UNLOCKED!" 

Now, I own this pair of pants I dearly love...except for the republican pockets.  Why do I call 'em that?  Cause they are good for nothing!   But really, they have to be the most useless pockets I've seen in a long time.  I forgot and put my iphone in the front pocket, and off I go to get my kona coffee for the morning cuppa.  Somewhere along the way, I felt my phone evacuate my pocket, sigh.  After pulling into my parking spot, I started looking for the phone, to find it wedged under the passenger seat.  I put my keys in my pocket, and get into the back seat, and after much wiggling around finally managed to lever my phone out.  I locked the doors, and went in to get my coffee.  On the way to the car....I realized my keys weren't in my pocket.  Ok, no reason to panic, I have loads of pockets.  Search, search, search...oh fuck.  Hoping that I was the last one to drive the car, I walk around the back and tried the latch.... success!!!  It only took me a few moments to work my way into the back seat, to find my keys laying on the floor. 

When I woke TH up to go to work, I said to sleepy him, "Well, I just won the argument."

"Huh?  We were having an argument?"

"Yup!  We were, and I won."

"Baby, I just woke up, what ARE you talking about?"

So, I put the poor dear out of his misery and told him the whole story. Which proves his point, that with it unlocked my car is easily gotten into.  But today, it saved my butt, cause we dont have a phone in our bedroom, I would have had to call a taxi to get me home....but then no way in, and you cant hear the doorbell from our bedroom.... so yeah. 

Oh yeah, hopefully I've learned my lesson about putting things in those front pockets!