Sunday, December 21, 2014

Not off to a great start

Had a great flight, it was SO nice to get a zillion hugs from TH!  He was missing me badly enough to let down enough in public to give me a two armed bear hug!!!

To say I was shocked when I came in the door, would be putting it mildly.  TH moved us into a smaller cheaper apartment, and told me that he put the furniture (what we didnt store) into place, dropped the boxes and bags and whatnots where ever there was room and quit.  I thought he as joking, turns out he wasn't. 


Tuesday morning he took his sister to her doctors appointment, she has been having trouble walking and standing.  When the doctor saw her weakened condition, off to the emergency room!  Where after a load of x-rays and yet another MRI and an IV with some steroids, was given the bad news.  They had to operate on her ASAP or she could be in a wheel chair for the rest of her life. 

This is where living in a state with a very low population has extreme drawbacks.  There is only one surgeon in the entire state who can do this tricky neurosurgery, and he was on vacation.  So, to the tune of $180,000 dollars they medevaced her to Seattle.  She is scheduled for surgery on Tuesday, and has been spending her time since with yet more MRI's, more x-rays and a procedure to install a marker for her surgery.

Wednesday feeling a big overwhelmed by what is occurring with his sister, it was a pure pleasure to have grandson come and spend the day.  He was a mite fussypants, but still a joy to be around. 

By 3:30 my insides didnt feel so well, I had caught some sort of intestinal flu thingy.  Today, I'm on the mend, finally!  But TH came home from work feeling puny, and the poor dear he now is suffering.

Hopefully the rest of our time together will be better!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas in Arizona

It rarely snows in the great Phoenix area, yeah that shocked ya back a bit didn't it!  Last year we did have a brief snowstorm, but it was in late January, not around Christmas.  Every year the Tempe Marketplace Mall has a snowstorm from daily from 7-8 pm. The kids run around trying to catch the flakes, it really is festive.  Its really amazing, to watch it snow at 60F!  I tried to capture a picture of it, but some how I just couldnt get the snow to show up with the camera in my iphone, so here's a snap I found on the webby.
These next two are my photos, snapped at the Tempe Marketplace on a Meetup movie night.
There are festive Christmas lights everywhere, but the malls really go all out with their decorations.  So, even if it doesn't have that Christmas card look of glistening snow laying around and about, it does lift ones spirits.

Tomorrow, the 15th, I fly back to Alaska for 2 weeks to celebrate with the family.  Without a doubt I am going to die of cold.  Today while doing laundry, which is on the patio, the cold was biting into me quite firmly.  Convinced that the temps had to be hovering around freezing, I did a quick check on my phone to find out it was all of 53......sigh.  I have turned into a weather wimp!  The high today at my Alaskan home was 7. 










This will be me on the way to the grocery store!  Gotta watch out for those polar bears, dontcha know.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Book Review: Two views of Military life under DADT

I have a tendency to binge on one topic, and I some how got off on the lives of men in the military under DADT.  Most likely it was a suggestion from Amazon based upon the topics I enjoy reading. 

While these two books are an enjoyable read, they come at the topic of how DADT affected their lives from two totally different directions.  The main focus of the books aren't from the same vantage point either, something that I found interesting and really rounded out the experience of serving under this stupid policy.

Brett Jones 
PRIDE:The Story Of The First Openly Gay Navy Seal




                                                                            PROLOGUE
                                                                                In Danger

"I hung up the payphone with my head hanging towards the ground.  "Fuck. Fuck, Fuck! How could they possibly have found out that I am gay?  I am always so careful.  I am always really careful.  Somebody must have informed on me...but who?  Who do I know that would do such a thing?  Take a breath, Brett, and just breathe.  Just. Breathe. Dammit."  I thought to myself while exhaling deeply.  I looked over to the gate and saw that my flight had already started boarding."

This is how his book begins and it takes the majority of the book to cycle back around to this point in time.  What fills the rest of his book is his journey to become a Seal.  And while I knew it was an arduous ordeal where most of the men who start the training wash out, I literally had no idea just how grueling the training actually is.  He is open and candid about his flaws and his weaknesses. 

When his parents found out he was gay, they had his older brother drive him to a cheap hotel, gave him $300 and told him never return.  He was a senior in High School, yup a good "christian" woman and his Air Force father thought it was acceptable to toss out their son.  He finished school and at some point between his being tossed out and joining the Navy his parents let him move back home. 

The primary focus of this book is Brett's fight to excel in the Navy and become the end all and be all to him, a Seal.  His relationship with the man which caused him to be released from the Navy is only touched on.  He is open about being gay and different hookups but this portion of who he is really takes a back seat to Brett Jones, Seal.  He has an epilogue letting you know how his life after the Seals has been.

This book was a page turner for me.  I was engrossed from the the first paragraph to the last word.  I will admit that I wish he would have included more about the relationship with the fella he was living with while a Seal, but then again, maybe he didnt want to invade his privacy. 


Stephan Snyder-Hill  
Soldier of Change: From the Closet to the Forefront of the Gay Rights Movement
Forward by George Takei

You might remember this video from the Republican Debate September 22, 2011, where a serving soldier on active duty in Iraq was booed by the audience.



                                                 1 A Leap of Faith

"We boarded the plane.  I sat down and closed by eyes.  I looked down at my watch, December 4, 2010, 22:16.  Could this be happening again?  My mind was like a film projector, flickering backa nd forthe between thought - my first deployment to Iraq twenty years ago for Desert Storm, my boyfriend Josh, my parents, my brother, my pets- then back to Josh.  We had been dating only a few months, but I knew this ws the person I wanted to spend my life with.  We'd had to say goodbye underneath an escalator, where no one could see us.  Knowing I was leaving for war,  knowing I might not ever see him again, I held him tighter than I'd ever held anyone.  All around us husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, hugged and kissed each other in plain sight, without sexrecy, without shame.  Josh and I wiped our tear dry and left our hideout in opposite directions so people didn't notice.  This is the real fact of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Stephan's book while talking a great deal about his life in the Army focuses more upon how restrictive his life was while serving under DADT.  How he would race around to remove photos of him and his boyfriend.  How he made sure never to be overheard on the phone while talking with Josh.  The whole game of changing Josh's gender by using feminine pronouns when talking about his love life.  How he hated having to field questions about why he isnt married, or has pictures of his "girlfriend", until he finally had a female friend pose for pictures with him to hush up the whispers.

The last part of the book was talking about his lawsuit and the advocacy work him and his husband Josh have been a part of.

There were times I felt this book lagged a bit, but was a solid read.  When the book was finished, you know who Stephan Synder-Hill is, and he is a very likeable chap.  What I found the most interesting how life under DADT was miles worse than before it took effect.  After DADT it became a witch hunt for gays and lesbians in the military, and people were prying constantly for personal information,  checking for facts that didn't match up with previous telling of the same story.  It was hard for Stephan to come out, and he wasn't planning on showing his face on camera, even after DADT was repealed.  How his company reacted to his coming out was a very strong portion of the story, and at times surprising to me as a reader.
 

Monday, December 1, 2014

World AIDS Day


Today over at Joemygod's blog, I had a very interesting conversation and thought I'd share it here.

Jim: "Perhaps my biggest disappointment with gay culture is how many men have continued to play Russian roulette with their health despite the virtual fool-proof insurance of simply using a condom. I haven't had "unprotected sex" in almost there decades but frankly couldn't imagine a more fantastic carnal history. And it's included a lot of positive men - the same ones so many others want nothing to do with once they turn positive. In fact I'm turned-off by anyone who demonstrates such open contempt for themselves and their partners by not using a condom. They can otherwise be the hottest conquest I've ever contemplated, but if they want to sell me some BS about how I should take their calculated risk... forget it. Because just like someone who wasn't wearing a seat belt when they had a life-changing car accident, I've never met a HIV positive man who thinks the partner who gave him HIV was somehow worth it in the end. (pun intended) There are plenty of incredible men who hold themselves - and YOU - in higher regard. The rest are selling themselves - and YOU - something so much less. Get with the program already."

Biki: "Wonderful! You hit the nail on the head, perfectly. I often wonder if some of the refusal to use condoms is having to grow up hidden and believing there is something wrong and vile about being lgbt? If we can ever normalize sex across the board as an act that as innate as breathing and as important, no matter what gender(s) your partner(s) are, then maybe at that time we will learn to care more about ourselves and others?"

Jim: "You bet I think it's a manifestation of self loathing, and/or a belief their life won't be worth much when they get older anyway. Why else would someone live like they're that worthless. It's acting-out exactly what the haters and homophobes have been selling all along. Now that I'm past my 50s, I realize more than ever how much my healthy survival is perhaps the wisest personal decision I've ever made, and the greatest triumph against those who'd rather see me sick or dead. And all I had to do was follow a simple protocol that took NOTHING of any real consequence away from an amazingly rich and fulfilling sex life - that continues today. Don't buy into the hate. Take care of yourself. You really ARE worth it after all."

If I had unlimited funds I would blanket this country with bill boards quoting Jim's words.


Don't buy into the hate. Take care of yourself. You really ARE worth it after all.


Words I think we all need to embed deeply within ourselves and believe.   It doesn't matter if we are LGBT or straight, which gender if any, skin color,  or if we are gifted or disabled.  We are all worth it.
All of us.



Friday, November 28, 2014

TH Comes to Visit

 TH was here in Arizona for 10 lovely days.  Sigh.....it was the best 10 days since I left Alaska.

Which meant a trip to the airport,  eeek!  I've been in quite a few airports, but the traffic lanes at Skyharbor are beyond silly.  And I always end up in trouble, in the wrong lane, missing the terminal completely, and having to leave the airport to circle around for a new try, sigh.  However, this time was different!  They have finished the light rail connection to the airport.  Triple dog score!  I drove to the free park and ride lot, left wee George and boarded the train for Skyharbor.  Its totally amazing, after leaving the light rail, you ride up an escalator to a beautifully designed moving sidewalk hallway, then a light rail trip to the airport, and if need be a shuttle bus ride to the correct terminal.

      details of the floor design

 the glassed in skywalk over the terminal roads
 looking thru the doorway at the tracks with a window wall bisecting.  a wee bit of trompe l'oeil camera work

 It was the best trip ever to pick up someone from the airport.  I arrived in plenty of time, was cool, calm and relaxed.  TH liked the trip on the light rail as well.  Oh, and the price was right.  $6.00 for the both of us! 


We had some great talks about our future and how long he should work, it looks like June is the new retirement date.  But that could change, and its ok if it does. 

On Friday, we packed George up with suitcases and a cooler full of drinks and headed out to Tombstone and Bisbee, which we never managed to see, we fell in love with Tombstone.  We decided to drive state roads as much as possible to really see more of small town Arizona.  One thing we learned is just how much cotton is grown here!  Its truly amazing to see cotton as far as the eye can see.

Early afternoon we pulled into the hotel, dropped off our bags and headed out to see Tombstone.  The old main street is off limits to car traffic, something we both really enjoyed.  Most of the "downtown" area is original to the 1880's era.  While most of the bars and business buildings are all converted into gift shops the buildings themselves are mostly untouched.  There are a few that have retained their unchanged identity.  The Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper building and the Bird Cage Theater.  The cool thing about the Bird Cage is that when the silver mines went bust, in 1889 the owners, just locked the doors and walked away!  With thousands of dollars of mirrors, a grand piano and other furnishings.  The building remained sealed until new owners bought it in 1934 and found it mostly untouched!  I didnt take any pictures inside of this amazing building, because your gentle blogger followed the rules about no photography within the theater.  However, not all is lost as there are others who aren't as rule following as I.

The red curtained areas are the "bird cages" for the soiled doves to ply their trade.  The area that used to seat the audience is now housing artifacts from the Tombstone area.  Many interesting wee items, but it was the building and the original fittings that fascinated us.

A long horn steer at Big Nose Kate's Saloon, where we had great burgers.  They had a fun thing where you can don a duster, handkerchief and stetson and they toss a sign around your neck, along with a noose, to hang the "town drunk".  And your loved ones can snap a photo.  I wanted TH to be hanged, but he declined.



 These are the lovely horses that pulled the stagecoach around the main part of town.  The man on the seat is Tom and he narrated the history of Tombstone as we slowly rode for 15 minutes.  The company is owned by a 4th generation native of the town, his family came into the area a few years before the town was established.  Tom was a fountain of information, so much so that I wanted to ride again just to listen to it all again.
We fell in love with Tombstone, and if it had a bigger population, I'd move there in a heart beat.  Its considered mid-level at 4,540 feet, and so the weather is much milder than in the lowlands around Phoenix.  The wind smells sweet and fresh and there was just something about the light and the air and the scenery that tugged me to live there.  We even went to look at a house, that is just our style, surrounded by ranch land and mountains.
After checking out of our hotel we took a long, convoluted path home, going through many towns, and dipping within a few miles of the Mexican border.  The really odd thing was about 20 miles from the border was a border crossing.




Complete with sniffing dogs and very serious looking boarder patrol men.  I didnt know if they would allow me to snap a picture closer in, so I took one where they couldnt see me.  I actually got yelled at entering Canada for attempting to snap a pic of the crossing where the guards could see me!

We slipped into Tucson in time for lunch, and yes we timed it so we would be full on hungry for our favorite restaurant in all of Arizona, The Tucson Tamale Company.
The food is AMAZING!  The guacamole is so good, I just want to eat it with a spoon, the hell with chips!  Next time, I'll do just that!





And then, it was time for TH to head home again. 








Monday, October 20, 2014

L G S M !

This is a movie that shouldnt be missed.  My meetup group saw this Saturday night, and it was fantastic.  It draws one right in, and never lets up until the triumphant end.

Its a story about the Mining Strike in the UK. 

And the LGBT being targets for violence, from citizens and the police, and sadly, parents. 

Stir in the beginning horror of the AIDS crises.

But what this film is truly about is finding the common ground that exists between us all, no matter how divergent the groups seem to be.

Love,  this film has acres of love, in all its wondrous corners, and where its least expected.



Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hallelujah!!!!!

Alaskans are free at last!  Monday morning equal marriage licenses will be available and a quick three day wait and then

M A R R I A G E!






Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sweetness and Hate! Now! in one very Convenient Package!


Saturday night i had a meetup, the plan of attack was to meet in front of a local cupcake store in downtown Tempe, choose our treats and walk to Starbucks and buy liquids and sit and eat and visit.  Six people, including myself were on tap to come.
Well, one of the meetup members, Trica is celiac like me, however she isnt the least bit careful and does cheat a goodly bit.  And she is also allergic to soy.  The cupcake place does offer GF cupcakes, but they say their could be cross contact due to them being made within the same kitchen.  However, their good works dont help me as they use dairy and eggs, so none for me.  The store only used to offer the GF cakes once a week, but they must have expanded their GF offerings as they had two flavors that night.

Not knowing if there would be any treats for her, she was excited that i was going to make cupcakes for the two of us.  When i grocery shopped I made sure to by soy free vegan butter, and to read the cake mix to be sure its soy free.

  ok!  all set! 
 
Saturday came, i heated up mr. oven and set to work!  Just as i shut the oven with the cakes nestled within their paper liners, I said a very filthy word, I had used soy milk. 
 
 blast and damnation!
Quick quick I ran into the living room fired up the computer, and started looking for a cup cake recipe that i had all the ingredients for.  Oh this one sounded good, and I had all the ingredients!  As i blended the flour the thought hit me, i only have soy milk!   I need to go to the store after all!
Oh!
Wait!
Last week I accidentally purchased chocolate almond milk instead of soy, and it was NASTY to drink.  Totally the wrong texture, way to thin and odd tasting.  But what the hell, it will be entombed within a cupcake, so no worries!  Added that in, slipped them into the oven and hoped.
My timer on my phone jingled jangled and sure enough, they were done!  Whoopie!
After they were cool enough to taste, I bravely took a bite and
OH MY HEAVENS!   
these were the best cupcakes ever!!!  like seriously ever!
While they were cooling awaiting their crowning glory of frosting, and no, I dont go in for miles high frosting, just an old fashioned amount, thank you very much!  I left a comment on her blog telling her how much i adored the cupcakes.  Thanked her a zillion times.  Trica liked the cupcakes, heck so did everyone else that tried them.  She bought one even though they couldnt promise there wasnt soy in them???  Yeah I dont get Trica at all. 
Yesterday while doing my once around the web, I thought I'd go back and see if she left a comment to me.  And you know what?  She deleted my comment! 
gone!  
nada!
el disappear-e-o!
Then I looked at her profile, god and jebus is mentioned a zillion times.  Ahhh so she was offended that a transman liked her treats.  Wow, how christian is that of her?
Oh well, I suppose not everyone can live according to that big book they admire.

 FACE PALM!! 

oh my!  Thats just what she was doing, yeah?  Learned her hate from that book quite well i'd say.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Is it just me?

I'm an addict of Bigfish games.  Why?  They are fun and non-violent, puzzles to solve and quite often well crafted story lines, coupled with fantastic graphics.  So, yesterday I'm playing along and a puzzle opens up, but all I can see is something large and hard in his pants.  Or is it just me?


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Howdy!

Well, 'tis been quite the while yeah?  A month, at least it wasn't a month of Sunday's, yeah?  So, what have I been up to in that month? 

Last year when TH's medical odyssey began he told them he had pains running down his legs, and that his foot at times would go numb.  However, his neck was in such a shape, the docs all ignored the leg issue and went to work on his neck.  Now that his neck is AOK, he's feeling the pain in his legs quite a bit more.  A trip to the doctor, an MRI later and yup, he has the same issue in his lower back that he did in his neck, only thankfully not as extreme.  And so he will be back in Arizona with me this winter, around November-ish for a new pony ride on the surgery circuit.

Which brought up the whole retirement discussion.  He retired once already and he was a very unhappy fella, which made the rest of us very unhappy as well.  TH turned walking into a job, if he didnt get out of the house right on the dot of 9 am he would shout at who ever made him late.  Thats when 2nd son and I sat him down and gave him a choice of getting a job or swimming with the fishes.  He got a job.  But now its 7 years later, and hes wondering if he could retire again and this time be happy.

Because we are still paying off the previous two surgeries we decided to pack everything we want into a storage unit, junk off the rest and not renew the lease and be out by December 1st.  We got rid of an entire truck full of stuff, and really should have weeded better, but after a while it becomes overwhelming to go thru all of ones belongings and decide "keep, donate or trash?" And just have the apartment in Arizona while he heals.  If he decides to return to work, he'll get a new apartment then.  This will save us an enormous amount of money.  Hopefully with the cheap living expenses down here, we can get the old surgeries and the new paid off.  And????  Because one of the surgeries was in this calendar year, most of this one should be paid for by the insurance!  w00t!!!!

Third son and his wife had a beautiful baby boy this summer.  What does he look like?  Think Gerber baby with coal black hair and blue eyes.  Hes a perfect blend of both mommy and daddy, they are the prettiest couple ever.  Yes, I am a mite on biased side.  Three days before I was supposed to fly back to Arizona, my phone rang and it was the son and his wife.  She was going back after being off for maternity leave and her babysitter was in the hospital.  This poor girl managed to slam her thumb in the car door, and within 3 days the thumb had gone septic!  After an involved surgery, getting a dose of MRSA, and a week in the hospital she was ready to come home, whew!  But her poor hand wasnt up to the task of caring for a 10 lbs infant, so I took up the slack and stayed on for another week to help out.

Oh my!  It was wonderful to get to know this new wee soul!  He is sure a treasure, and that week was worth all the gold, ever mined!  But, it did make us sad.  TH and I are welcomed into his life, whereas we werent really welcomed into our granddaughters life.  It honestly feels like this is our first grandchild.

And speaking of eldest, somehow he slipped up and they are expecting again, sigh.  And even worse?  She wants a divorce ASAP and is making son's life a living hell.  What bothers me however is what it is doing to their daughter.  She was a bubbling wee slip of a girl, but is very subdued now.  Son is super unhappy, so much so that his walk is unhappy sounding, rather a plod than a walk.  He's afraid the courts will side with her and he'll never get to see her again.  I dont believe it, anyone who knows them, knows that Son does most of the caring for his daughter ever since her birth. 

I came back to Arizona early this year because TH is planning on spending all of his weekends out hunting and camping.  Leaving me alone, and very lonely.  As it is during his work week, I see him at the most 1.5 hours a day, thats when he's slept well, on a bad day, its 40 minutes.  So, why stick around for 4 hours?  He can call me from hunting camp like usual, the only difference is I'm not in Alaska.

Monday I start back with Table Talk and on Wednesday at the library proper doing pull holds and discharging materials.  My calendar is already filling up with lunches and outings and dinners with friends, it feels nice to be missed!

Oh!  And while wandering around the Seattle airport I came across this sign, and it is a sign of the times!

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Timeline of the Alaskan Battle for LGBT Rights

                     Legalizing Love: The struggle for gay rights in Alaska continues
    By Scott Christiansen and Matt Caprioli
                                            Originally printed in the Anchorage Press

Since the 1970s the struggle for LGBT equality in Alaska has taken on a one-step-forward/two-steps-back quality. Whenever gains are made, either politically or in the courts, a backlash follows. We’ve tracked some of those gains on a timeline along with some of the backlash. We’ve attempted to include those milestones when the courts, legislators or voters weighed-in and actual law was passed or repealed, and in some cases struck down or blocked or vetoed. Some lesser milestones we chose because they seem to illustrate cultural or political shift, if not an actual change in law.


The exercise seems timely because of the new court case, Hamby v. Parnell, in which five same-sex couples are suing in federal court to have Alaska’s gay marriage ban overturned. It’s not the first time this issue has been in court in Alaska. In fact, the definition of marriage in our state constitution was itself a backlash that followed gay rights gains made in court. But the current lawsuit is part of a trend that has included recent victories for gay marriage in courts across the nation. That’s not the only trend. American attitudes are changing, too. This month a Gallup poll showed that 55 percent of Americans think marriages between same-sex couples should be on equal footing with traditional marriage. It was 27 percent in 1996. Alaska isn’t likely far behind in the progress toward social acceptance.
But Alaska has lagged when it comes to legal acceptance. It was the first state to ban same-sex marriage through an amendment in its constitution in 1998, beating Nebraska by two years and Arizona by a decade. The current lawsuit tests Alaska’s marriage amendment against the U.S. Constitution and could render the Alaska law moot. Our freelancer, Matt Caprioli, caught up with the five plaintiff couples to ask them why a legal marriage in Alaska was so important they were willing to sue for it.That the five couples are brave is self-evident. That’s a required trait when someone is called upon to fight a powerful political arm of society. But in contrast to the political arena, we didn’t hear chest thumping or saber rattling from the plaintiffs. Each of them talked about personal slights and times when those two-steps-back in Alaska law hurt.


They also talked about loving each other and about commitment and caring within their relationships. And that last part is what they all had in common. What they want recognized is simple. It’s a commitment spawned of love. For those of us who now find ourselves among the majority in America, it’s baffling that anyone would want to deny their commitments exist or diminish them in any way.

The Struggle for Marriage - Article about Hamby et al. v. Parnell et al.


Gay rights milestones
1972
 The Imperial Court of All Alaska was founded. The group now claims to be the first LGBT association to incorporate as a nonprofit in Alaska. Imperial Courts operate in a fashion similar to fraternal organizations or sororities. The ICOAA grants scholarships, raises money for charity, recognizes community members with annual awards and hosts the Gay Alaska pageant each year in June.

August 10, 1974 
Peter Dispirito, a gay man, owner of a hair salon and founding member of the IOCAA, was stabbed and killed in his home. Dispirito’s killer, Gary Lee Starbard (then 22 years old), was indicted on second-degree murder and pled down to manslaughter. He served less than a year in prison. A defense attorney referred to the killer as a “victim” and called Dispirito a “wolf” during a sentencing hearing. The judge admonished the defense lawyer, reminding him the victim was a dead man.

December 1975 to January ‘76

In the first year after the old City of Anchorage and Greater Anchorage Area Borough merged, the Anchorage Assembly passed an ordinance that included “sexual orientation” in the local code banning discrimination due to race, gender, religion and disabilities. Then-Mayor George Sullivan vetoed the legislation and Assembly attempts to override the veto failed. The Anchorage Equal Rights Commission was established without the sexual orientation language.


1976 - 1977
 Mayor Sullivan deleted the Alaska Gay Coalition listing from the 1976-77 edition of The Anchorage Blue Book. The coalition sued the Municipality and lost, but the Alaska Supreme Court overruled the lower court. The government argued that the Blue Book was not a public forum and claimed it needed to exclude organizations due to lack of space, but the court found that argument lacking because the Alaska Gay Coalition had been singled-out for exclusion.

1977 
The Alaska Gay Community Center, the precursor to Identity, Inc., was founded in Anchorage. Organizers met weekly, established a helpline and eventually a newsletter, Gay Alaska, first published in 1980.

June 1978
Anchorage’s first Pride Parade was more of a demonstration than a parade, with many protesters wearing bags over their heads to protect themselves from employment discrimination. 

1983 - 1985 
An Anchorage lesbian mother lost custody of her child and filed an appeal. The Alaska Supreme Court overturned the decision. “Simply put, it is impermissible to rely on any real or imagined social stigma attaching to mother’s status as a lesbian,” the court ruled. 

1986 - 1989 
Identity, Inc. published two reports documenting gay and lesbian life in Alaska. They found that 31 percent of business owners and managers surveyed said they would not hire or promote someone they knew was gay. Twenty percent of landlords said they would not rent to lesbians or gay men. 

October 1989
 The Anchorage Equal Rights Commission, whose members were appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the Assembly, took notice of Identity, Inc.’s reporting. The Commission held hearings and struggled with potential changes to city code. It voted against recommending changes. (Appointments to AERC become further politicized, with gay rights in the center of a tug-of-war.) 

December 1992 - January 1993 
Progressives on the Assembly, led by Democrats, moved to add “sexual orientation” to the local law enforced by the AERC. They failed, but the Assembly passed a version that banned job discrimination among city employees. Mayor Tom Fink vetoed the law. The Assembly overrode the veto. The new law only protected city employees from job discrimination and did nothing to prevent housing discrimination

.February - April 1993
 Christian activists petitioned to repeal the watered-down gay rights law. The law was suspended after 20,000 signatures were delivered to the city clerk’s office. (Fewer than 6,000 were required.) A group sued to keep the issue off the ballot and the Supreme Court ruled in their favor. The title of the referendum—“Referendum Petition to Repeal a ‘Special Homosexual Ordinance’”—the court ruled, was “potentially prejudicial” and misleading. Opponents of gay rights took over the Assembly in the April election and the new Assembly voted 7 - 4 to repeal the law. 

1993 - 1994 
Politician Kevin “Pat” Parnell, a one-term member of the Alaska House of Representatives and former Assemblyman, told constituents in a newsletter he was switching his registration from Democrat to Republican. Parnell’s social conservatism was well known— he told the Anchorage Daily News gay rights must be kept out of local law. Parnell said he did not want the city to “stray” from its 1975 charter. Pat Parnell lost his bid to become mayor. He is the father of current Governor Sean Parnell. 

1994 - 1995
 Two University of Alaska employees, Kate Wattum and Mark Tumeo, took the University to court after being denied health benefits for their same-sex partners. Fairbanks Superior Court Judge Meg Greene ruled in favor of the couples, concluding that the University’s policy meant married employees automatically receive better compensation for the same work. The University appealed to the Supreme Court. That effort failed and the University announced in July of 1995 it would adopt a new policy. 

1994 - 1995 
Two republican state representatives, Norm Rokeberg of Anchorage and Pete Kelly of Fairbanks, sponsored legislation that made it legal to discriminate against same-sex partners when it came to employee benefits. It failed, but the following year Rokeberg and Kelly backed a “definition of marriage” bill that Rokeberg claimed was “forced” by Judge Greene’s decision in the University case. Anti-gay laws were passed, but the University continued to allow its employees to earn family benefits. 

1995
 Jay Brause and Gene Dugan, the couple who founded Out North Theater, filed a lawsuit against the Alaska Bureau of Vital statistics seeking to obtain a marriage license in Alaska. The couple argued that they had been denied equal protection under the law, a violation of both the state and U.S. Constitution. They also argued their right to privacy, protected by the state constitution, was being violated. Baptist minister Howard Bess and his wife Darlene would later join the lawsuit because it was illegal for Bess to “solemnize” a gay or lesbian marriage. 

1996 
The Legislature passed the law sponsored by Rokeberg and Kelly explicitly defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Governor Tony Knowles allowed the bill to become law without his signature. Knowles called the law “unnecessary” and “divisive” but refused to veto it. 

February 1998 
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Peter Michalski ruled that the lawsuit Brause v. Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics should go to trial. The Alaska Legislature responded almost immediately by passing a resolution to place an amendment to the state constitution before voters. The amendment read: “To be valid or recognized in this state, a marriage may exist only between one man and one woman.” The amendment was scheduled to be added to Article 1 of the Alaska Constitution, the article titled “Declaration of Rights.”

Link to info on the Mormon Church's funding of the amendment

 November 1998 
Alaska voters passed the marriage amendment and Alaska became the first state in the union to include such language in its constitution. Sixty-eight percent of voters (nearly 153,00 people) voted in favor, while about 32 percent (about 71,600) voted against it. The Brause-Dugan case is declared moot. 

1999 
Government entities around the state refused to follow the lead of the University of Alaska and continued to deny benefits to same-sex partners of their employees. The ACLU of Alaska and nine same-sex couples sue the state and the Municipality of Anchorage. The state and city successfully defended their policies in Anchorage Superior Court, but the ACLU appealed. The case would not be resolved until 2005. 

March 2002
 Governor Tony Knowles, in his final year in office, issued Administrative Order #195. The order says Alaska’s “state workplace” should be free of “discrimination and harassment” and asserted Alaskans should have equal opportunity when seeking state services. The order talked about race and sex discrimination, but also included “sexual orientation” in its text. Despite Knowles’ order, the state continued to fight the ACLU in the lawsuit over family benefits. 

October 2005 
The Alaska Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, ruled it unconstitutional to deny benefits to same-sex partners of public employees. The decision hinged on the equal protection language in the Alaska Constitution. Immediately afterward, ACLU attorneys told reporters this “equal protection rationale” is likely to be followed in other states where constitutional bans on gay marriage existed.

 November 2006 
After briefings from both sides in the ACLU’s employment benefits case, the Alaska Supreme Court set a deadline of January 1, 2007, for the state to begin offering family benefits to employees and retirees with same-sex partners. Conservative lawmakers had been fuming all year about a “constitutional crisis” and Governor Frank Murkowski called a special session of the Legislature. Murkowski’s administration had written the benefits plan and asked the Legislature for permission to adopt it. The lawmakers flew to Juneau and in two days did the opposite, passing a law prohibiting the administration from adopting any plan that expanded benefits to gay and lesbian state employees. Palin left intact a special election set by the Legislature during the November session. 

December 29, 2006 
Governor Sarah Palin signed her first veto, striking down the Legislature’s attempt to stop employee benefits from expanding and saying it would be unconstitutional. Palin’s administration adopted a benefits plan prepared by Murkowski with guidance from the court. 

April 3, 2007
 The special election on employee benefits had a low turnout and, at $1.2 million for an advisory vote, a high cost. About 23 percent of registered voters turned out and 53 percent voted yes to further amend the constitution in order to deny employee benefits to gay state workers. Later in the year, efforts to advance a constitutional amendment failed to make it through the Legislature. 

Summer 2009
 The Anchorage Assembly passed a gay-rights ordinance that would allow LGBT citizens to take claims of discrimination to the city’s equal rights commission. Mayor Dan Sullivan (son of the 1970s mayor) vetoed the ordinance.

Spring 2012 
Petitioners got a local gay rights initiative onto Anchorage’s April election ballot. Voters rejected the measure 57 percent to 43 percent. They also re-elected Mayor Dan Sullivan to a second term.

One of the commercials that ran on air during this time period


Spring 2013
 A bill that would allow LGBT citizens anywhere in the state to have discrimination cases heard by the Alaska Commission on Human Rights was introduced in the Legislature by then-Representative Beth Kertula, a Democrat from Juneau. The bill got committee referrals, but never got a floor vote in either the House or Senate and received only one committee hearing. The hearing was held in the House committee on State Affairs, where Republican committee chairman Bob Lynn, of Anchorage, accepted only written testimony from the public. Lynn never asked the committee to vote on the bill. 

Spring 2014 
Kertula resigned from the Legislature to take a job at Stanford University and Democrats resurrected her human rights legislation. This time, the bill got a hearing in the Senate Health and Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Bert Stedman, a Republican from Sitka. About two-dozen people testified in favor of the legislation but Stedman did not allow the committee to pass the bill along. 

April 2014
 The Alaska Supreme Court ruled that a property tax exemption for senior citizens and veterans is being unconstitutionally denied to same-sex couples. Once again, the Alaska court used the equal protection rationale to arrive at its decision.

 May 2014
 Five same-sex couples sue in U.S. District Court to overturn the 1998 marriage amendment to the Alaska Constitution. The lawsuit claims the Alaska definition of marriage violates their due process and equal protection rights under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. 

Timeline compiled by Scott Christiansen from: Municipality of Anchorage documents; records of the Alaska Court System and Alaska Legislature; archives of Identity, Inc.; Human Rights Campaign website; and, the archives of the Anchorage Daily News, The Anchorage Times and the Anchorage Press. Special thanks to Mel Green, Drew Phoenix and Jacob Dugan-Brause.  


Matt Hamby and Chris Shelden.







Sunday, August 3, 2014

Food Dreams

Dealing with multiple food allergies makes cooking tricky.  Very few recipes are available for me that doesnt  require some sort of change-o-matic magic.  I've noticed a common thread in reading across the many allergy food blogs:
1. most of the allergy food blogs are written by moms for their children, totally ignoring adult suffers
2. they rarely cross more than one or two allergies
3. a lot of really bad recipes are out there.

Making gluten free bread is tricky at best, leave out the incredible amazing egg, and it gets tougher.  I've made loaves of bread that were yummy while still warm, only to cut a piece the next day to find it had turned to bread shaped flavorless sawdust slices.  No, I have no idea why, only that it occurs.  I have made buns from my own recipe that were stable on the counter for days, but I cant get loaves to rise without falling.  Its an either or area for me, i'm currently stuck, buns that taste good, or high rising loaves that go to crap soon after baking.

What I'd like to do is to start up an allergy food blog, that would work with most food allergies.  With built in substitutions for different allergy suffers, so people can mix and match ingredients according to their food limitations.  In many ways, I do tend to look at things from a different angle from most, and this is true of food as well.  Is my ego getting the better of me?  Or could I make a difference in someone's pleasure at what is on their dinner plate?

So, we get down to the nitty gritty of things, where I'd really appreciate feedback.  

Do you feel I have something to contribute to allergy cooking?

If I do this what should my persona be?  Do I mention the fact im third gender gay guy?  Like Bob says, "we need visibility, not invisibility".  Or would that lessen the pool of readers due to bigotry?  Do I tie it to my current blog, or strike out under a new alias?

Finding a catchy name, that hasnt been snapped up, that brands who I'm cooking for.

And finally, I'd like some recipe testers.  Any gluten free ingredients would be mailed to you, the only things you'd need to provide are things that are considered kitchen staples.  Also any specific food item that I can't mail, but the recipe requires, but I dont think you'd buy, or use normally, I could supply funds for them.  I need to know that my recipes work out of my kitchen. 




Friday, July 18, 2014

Entirely to Close for Comfort

TH, Youngest and his wife were all down on the Kenai dip netting for red salmon (sockeye), when this occurred.  They are really, really lucky to still be alive. 

A wave hit the boat swamping the front, and before they had a chance to do anything, yet another wave hit the boat, causing the front to become so heavy as to flip the boat.  TH was pushed from the boat by the strength of the water, becoming entangled in the fishing net and was unable to move, luckily he was tangled up in such a way that his head was above the water.  Youngest was thrown into the water, the boat coming down on him across the back and wrist.  Little Wife was trapped under the boat, breathing from an air pocket until she got her bearings and figured out how to get out.  As she was getting free of the boat Youngest saw her legs and pulled her up to the edge of the boat, which was now floating upside down.  Youngest got up on the bottom of the boat, ran the length to TH and held him up while getting his knife and cutting TH free.

Poor wee Pepper was in a life vest but was trapped under the boat and didnt make it.



Three saved, dog lost as boat capsizes in Kenai River

Posted: July 17, 2014 - 9:01pm
A boat capsized on the Kenai River sending three people and a dog overboard Wednesday night.
Nearby boats pulled all three people out of the water but the dog didn’t survive, said Kenai Police Lt. David Ross.
The incident occurred at about 9:46 p.m. when a wave went over the bow of the boat, causing it to flip over. Police did not release the names of the boaters, but all three were wearing life jackets, Ross said.
While all boats in the water may have contributed to the waves that caused the boat to flip, having so many boats close by made for a quick recovery, he said.
“It’s a lot easier to rescue people that are floating,” he said.
The Kenai rescue boat arrived shortly afterward and transported two people back to land while the other person received a ride from a fellow boater. The three people did not suffer any injuries. The capsized boat was recovered from the river, Ross said.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Goldilocks

 Golidlocks:
Denoting or referring to the most desirable or advantageous part of a range of values or conditions (typically the center).

My tale begins 35 years ago, when I visited the Woolworth's in downtown Fairbanks with my sister-in-law to buy various items when TH and I were first setting up housekeeping.   Towels, sheets, blankets, pots and pans, and a pillow for me.  I must have bought the very last chopped chicken feather pillow in existence.  I loved that pillow, it wasn't the least bit fluffy, and stayed in any shape I punched and folded it into.   It traveled with me, weighing a ton, but it was home in a pillow "dress" as my grandma called pillow slips/cases.

As the years past, the covering began to wear thin, so I sewed up a new one complete with a zipper.  I bought cheap pillows to cannibalize their feathers to add to the ever diminishing pillow.  How much if any of the original feathers were left after 15 years?  Who knows, but I kept patching and sewing and adding to my pillow, bereft at the very idea of a new pillow.

Until....................

Right before I left Arizona, I began to notice that which ever side of my face spent the most time on my pillow would be slightly swollen.   The idea that MY pillow was making me sick was slowly leaching into my thoughts.  I tossed it into its monthly trip in the dryer, and that night I woke up struggling to breathe, with my face swollen and beet red.  This is from a person who is allergic to both eggs and all forms of poultry.....I never claimed to be brilliant now did I? 

That was the day Pillow was tossed into the trash.  But whatever was I to sleep upon?  Allergic to feathers, so thats out.  Allergic to the synthetic pillows, scratch that.  Cotton?  Wool? Gah!!!!

Remembering my Japanese daughter-in-laws fruitless search for a non-fluffy pillow, I didnt hold out a great deal of hope.  And then! Light bulb!  I finally recollected what she ended up using, two large towels folded together, and put into a pillow case.  So thats what I tried.  It took a while to get it right, folding the towels first one way and another, folding them separately and then together, but finally got something I could sleep on.  It was about half the size of a "normal" pillow, but it worked.  Wasn't perfect by a long shot but at least it was something to sleep on.

And so began the big pillow hunt.  I finally found a wool one that had no flame retardants, no fake-y crud, just natural washed wool.   Made up of small tuffs of wool, it works like a down pillow, with out the down.


It didnt make me sick, a win for sure, but was way to fluffy and soft, ugh, and much to "tall" for my short neck.  I pulled out more and more of the guts, and it was a better height but wasnt right, still to soft.   One night after many fruitless tries to find the 'Goldilocks' spot pulling filling from the pillow, putting some back in, over and over and over........ and finally giving up and putting my towel "pillow" back on the bed it struck me like a bolt from the blue!  If either one isn't right, then maybe combining the two would be!?!  I pulled the dress off my pillow, carefully arranged the towels to be the same size as the pillow, and wrestled it into the pillow dress.  Which was not an easy task at all,  everything kept slipping around, grrrrrrrr. 

Ok, finally won the pillow content and dress battle! 
                   w00t!
 I laid down, with nearly zero hope that it would be something I could sleep on. 

Oh my!  This is what I've been searching for!  I found my Goldilocks pillow.  Not to tall, not to soft, and not to hard.  It was jussst right!

  And I have enough stuffing to make a smaller travel sized pillow, complete with towel.  Life is sweet in the Goldilocks zone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goldilocks_principle
 



Friday, June 27, 2014

When Equality Isn't Equal



 When DADT was repealed September 20, 2011 a funny thing happened on the way to free our hard working, sacrificing members of the armed forces of the onus of having to hide their sexuality.  To arrive at a place that the generals would agree to remove DADT from the code books, someone had to be left behind, the transgender members.  The last time I heard the "code" of the military is to never leave a solider behind, but DADT repeal left some members behind enemy lines for three very long years.  Hostages to the fear and hate of transgender humans.

This isnt an isolated case, sadly.  Nearly every bill that protects the  LGB community from discrimination, started life with a guarantee of the rights of the T community as well.  However a grim thing happens on the way to the floor for a vote, the language including the trans folk is stripped. Because including the transgender community means the bill won't pass.  Rather than the groups fighting for our rights sticking it out in the trenches and get into a slugging match to insure that all of our rainbow brethren are protected from bigots and religious fools, they ditch the T under the bus to make sure the LGB folk are a protected community.

Usually the memo sent out by the groups who lobby for LGBT rights, say something along the lines that the trans community HASN'T been forgotten.  We will come back for you!  Keep the faith in us.  And oh yeah, can you send more funds?

But do they ever come back for us?  Sadly, the answer is rarely ever.  2014 is half over and while there has been some talk about allowing the trans service members to be out, no true forward movement has occurred.  So, our trans service members keep hidden, needing to make the painful choice of staying in a career they adore while hiding in plain sight, or leave to be able to live open and free. 

What a fucking terrible choice.

What I think is the true sticking point is that for many in the LGB community is they don't truly understand why the trans community is included as they believe the trans isn't a sexual minority.  What totally blows me away is the hate filled language they spew.  It isn't all that different from what the conservative "christians" use against the rest of the rainbow league.


Over on Queerty, a post about a trans man being voted as Mr. Gay Philly has raised a firestorm of hate and bigotry.  While I won't celebrate the haters, a sample of the hate runs along these lines:


orcanyc I’m sorry, really am, I’m sure he’s great, but unless he has a penis, is he really Gay, because being Gay, I thought, was a man attracted to a man. I wonder if we are getting to politically correct?

From here on the posts degrade into these....

jayj150
She is not a gay man, simply because she is not a man. She is a straight woman with a fetish. And by the way, why do t3annies get to have their own contests, but gay people are forced to share theirs with t3annies?, same as with parades, news sites and activist groups?

 and this....
masc4masc
I agree 100 percent. People have gotten so extreme with political correctness that they’ve become delusional and/or intellectually dishonest. This story is a perfect example. How can she be a gay man when she has a vagina? Homosexual means same sex.

What is up with a small but extremely vocal minority of the LGB community? 

It's this transphobia and bigotry within the GLB world that is causing the more vocal of the trans folk to see hate and sniping when there really isn't.   To snarl at RuPaul's use of the "t" word, was she wrong to use that word?  Yes, of course every minority is allowed to label words as cruel and hate speech.  But then again, to different people, the label tranny has different meanings.  To the transsexuals it is hate in word form.  To drag performers it's a "fun" word to label themselves with!   Personally, I feel that drag is one of the reasons that trans ladies aren't taken seriously.  How can they be, when a fella dresses up as a parody of a women?  Straight humans watch RuPaul's show, and if they don't personally know any trans ladies how are they supposed to know that for the transsexuals they just aren't playing dress up?  Remember when "black face" wasn't thought to be racist, but funny? 

  Refusing to believe that  Dan Savage has evolved from being unenlightened about what it means to be transgender/transsexual, to being supportive and a firm ally.  Cast your mind back 10 years, do you hold all the same beliefs as you did then?  Haven't you evolved on certain issues, I know I have.  They hold onto the hurt long after the person who caused the initial hurt no longer holds those primitive views.  Being faced on all sides with hate, bigotry and an unreasonable and a nearly insatiable curiosity about their genitals, is it really surprising they are lashing out at everyone and everything?

The time has come to ensure that bills on the way to a vote aren't stripped of the language protecting the trans community.  To tell the gay lobby groups when they call for funds and ask what is the single most important problem facing LGBT people today, answer with the lack of protections for the transgender community. 

Now that our piece of the equality pie is growing by leaps and bounds, with support for equal marriage at an all time high, for believing that gays, bisexuals and lesbians all deserve to be treated equally, its time to share that with the less legally fortunate, the trans community.   No more buying into the bathroom canard, nor the straw man argument that surgery can't change DNA, so transsexuals can't be REAL women or REAL men.  The idea that if a trans lady can't "pass" as a believable woman, she is less than real, she is a man in a dress with poorly done up makeup and a bad hairdo.  Do people point at ugly women and claim they aren't REAL women, phfft of course not! 

For gays and lesbians in America we are living in a golden age.  Is it perfect?  Fuck no, but life has never been so sweet as it is today.  Are there still hate crimes, children being thrown away for being gay, or are forced into religious institutions to change their orientation?  To my deepest grief, yes.  But times are a changing, and for the better.  Now that the main reason for squabbling among the LGBT camps is lessened, the lack of protections and freedoms, its time to pull all of us up into the same level of equality.  Fight as though your freedom depends upon it, because it does.  If your brethren isn't free, just how free are you?















Thursday, June 5, 2014

My Journey

In my beginning, I felt like toxic waste.  A guy living within a woman's body, with no way out.  I hated my fleshy self, and didn't want to live.


I lost the very essence of who I was, who I had been.  A blend of male and female had been who I was my entire life, but it wasnt until I "woke" up to what I had been submarineing for years, that I felt lost in the universe.


Running in circles, trying to decide what to do, lost between two unchangeable dead end paths.


 And so I began to drink to excess, shades of high school daze.....


In trying to drag myself back into some realm of life without falling further into the bottle, or to succumbing to  the lure of just ending it all.  My lifelines were blogging,


knitting,


reading,


and playing with my hipstamatic app.


Learning to live with the ebb and flow of the daily pull of my two dichotomy genders, one inner and one outer, hasn't been easy, and there are times when I just want it to STOP!


By refusing to transition I became an anomaly within the trans world, a transsexual who doesn't do hormones, doesn't dress my inner gender, and has no plans for surgery.  I was lost without a safe harbor.


Thrashing about for some identity is when I came across Third Gender, and life became ever so much calmer, and every day wasn't such a struggle.  I found a bridge


leading me from maelstrom to inner peace.


TH and I have found some middle ground.  It's still not perfect by any means but at least we are looking the same way unlike before. 


Before I left Arizona for Alaska this summer I took a straight friend to my LGBTQI meetup.  She was the first person I told about being male, and she was the first one I invited into my world.  It felt wonderful!

Looking back on these past few years,


one of the main things that kept me breathing, was blogging, and my wonderful friends within the blogworld. 

At this time, I feel as though I have said everything worth saying about my life and who I am, and the forging of a new path into my personal world of living a third gender life.  Like many before me, I came to Blogger a broken and bleeding soul, and found my place within the inner world of the self and the outer world of the internet. 

Words can not fully express what the blogging world has meant to me, and many many people who were there at my first tentative steps into the warm friendly waters of blogging love are no longer in blog land, but still to one and all a loud and mighty,

                                                               THANK YOU!!!



Good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!









Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hidden in plain sight

I've been to Arizona Pride twice, and both times have felt oddly uncomfortable, and have been squirreling about to figure out why ever since.  The first time was with a local blogger and we kept being mistaken for a straight couple.  This time I went with a good friend of mine who is lesbian, and again the uncomfortable feelings were present.  So, it wasnt the company I was with, its something within me, keeping me from fully enjoying it.

There are times when the meetup group has a number of new people, who see a female shape, and assume I'm a lesbian.  Several of the people that I've informed that I'm a gay third gender guy ( or trans-man) very often say, "Hey, I'm not into labels!"  Which to me is a backhanded slap.  How would they feel if I disrespected their sexual orientation in the same manner?

Many people scoff at bisexual invisibility, but I totally get it as I to feel invisible quite often when in LGBTQ spaces.  Stepping outside the trans-man accepted role of how to look and act makes me even more invisible and unbelieved. 

Humans have a built in template of male and female coded into each society as to acceptable behavior and looks.  Step to far out of that box and it makes others very uncomfortable, as several recent studies have shown.  Which could explain some of the hate the extremely femme gay guys receive, they look male, but act feminine, a dichotomy that is often to much for those who are fairly inflexible in their thinking.  The violence against certain members of our LBGTQ family is incited by the herd mentality of different is dangerous.  And while LGBTQ on LGBTQ is fairly rare, we do trend to fall into groups by skin color and orientation.

There is no way for me to project a trans-man exterior.  Dressing butchy makes me look like a butchy lesbian.  Dressing as I usually do, lesbian or straight depending upon the company I'm with.  Short of wearing a shirt proclaiming who I am, I see no way of projecting my inner self. 


Why is this so important to me to be seen for who I actually am?  Not a clue, all I know it wears on me to be invisible in GLBTQ spaces.

Been thinking about returning to the transgender conference, and not being ashamed of not conforming to the accepted way trans-men are supposed to dress or act.  Wearing a third gender shirt and not trying to act any differently than usual.  For once in my life walk proud, not slinking around corners, not being ashamed of who I am and projecting an apologetic air for not fitting into gender norms.  Part of the issue with this conference is the average age of the people who attend, 40+ so they are still operating with the olde manual where the holy grail is to "pass".  Not to live for personal happiness, but to adhere to others ideals of what it means to be trans on either side of the gender divide.

 Found this article today, and from the looks of it, the younger set has a better grasp of how to live happily as trans, third gender, etc, etc, etc. 

After reading this, article I'm giving more thought to why the fuck should it matter as to who others think/believe me to be? 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

A little kitchen chemistry

I've tried nearly every vegan "cheese" available, and they are all horrible.  I did find a shredded rice cheeze that tasted really good!  Yum!  And then the grinding unhappiness from the internal combustion chamber, turns out, it had milk casein in it.  Why anyone would go to the effort to make nearly vegan cheeze but yet add a milk product to it totally escapes me.  There is one that is super tasty and totally safe and in some miraculous fashion tastes nearly the same as Parmesan even though its made with cashews, yeah I dont understand that either, screwy yeah?

Now my desire for edible pizza has been growing the longer I've been marooned on the gluten free, milk free, etc diet.  Most of the gluten free crusts, are just sad.  For the most part they are hard and tasteless.  If a restaurant offers vegan cheeze its always Daiya brand, and while it is the best thats out there I have several issues with it.  One, it has a weird nasty after flavor.  And two I have this issue with eating food with little to no nutrient content, only calories, and somehow this cheeze has little to offer in food value.

While wandering around Amazon a while ago, I came across several books on making vegan cheeze, and bought the one that had the best ratings and hoped for the best.  The first recipe out of the book was a total snooze fest, cheeze sauce.  While I hate to toot my own horn, the one I invented was light years better than the one in the book.  However, I decided to press on and try a cheeze from the book, and the simplest one was mozzarella.  I gathered up the required ingredients, one of which had to be ordered, kappa carrageenan.  "A natural hydrocolloid, carrageenan is a natural extract from specific red seaweed species that are farmed and processed. It is used as a suspending and emulsifying stablizer, thickener, binder and gelling agent."   And was ready to give this a whirl.

It was a bit tiring stirring for nearly 30 minutes of a mixture that became ever more dense and harder to stir, but at long last, it was done.  The cheeze needs to sit in the fridge around 24 hours after making before tasting, the wait was killer long!

Finally!  It was cheeze tasting time. 

                                        HOLY MOTHER OF CHEESE!  

Its mega delicious!  


I tried it out on a friend and after her first tenetive taste, asked for more!  This cheeze is OMG good. Whipping out a gluten free french bread recipe, I conjured up a batch of dough to make pizza.    This would also be my first adventure in GF pizza dough.  It was hard to not keeping cracking open the oven door, I just had to know how things were progressing.  Was the dough looking pizza-ish?  How about the cheeze, was it melting?  Finally after about 9 million hours it was done! 

                                      PIZZA!


Chewy dough, melty globby cheeze, this my friends was a pizza to enjoy.  So much so that two days later I made another one!
I finally hit the pizza wall, and froze the last 4 pieces. 

Last night I melted some of the cheeze into milk with a little vegan butter and some nutritional yeast (to give it a stronger cheese flavor) and made, mac and cheeze!  Yummy!  Soft and gooey, perfect mac and cheese, so good I reheated it and had it for breakfast. 

Next up, I'm going to give the cheddar cheeze recipe a whirl.....  Nachos here I come!