Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Books

I love to read, and I have a collection of books I have read down through the years. I was looking at my bookcase in preparations of moving it and began to evaluate some of the selections there. I have Stephen Hawkings' book, "A Brief history of Time" and I cannot fathom why I keep this book as I have tried to read it several times and get into it about 3-4 pages and quit. It is quite over my level.
I do not keep many fiction books at all, as I try to pick those up from used stores, but I do keep a copy of "Lord of the Rings", which I read once a year, and Ken Follett's "The Pillars of the Earth", which I read about every fifth year.
Many of the books are new age, or books on magic, or Druidry, as I practice spirituality with a number of good folk. Being a history scholar, I have several books on history, most of which I have either never read or read many years ago. That book on the Civil War may have to go.
I even asked myself if I keep any of the books in my bookcase to impress any visitors to my home, so they will know I am a great person, for having this particular book. I can honestly say that I do not think any of my books fall under that catagory, although my selections of Emerson and Wordsworth probably come close.
So when I get around to moving it, I shall probably again purge my book selection, knowing all the while that I will indeed keep some that I should remove. Oh well... the games with myself continue.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

San Francisco

I am in San Fran for 4 days, for rest and relaxation and a change of scenery. I love this town, from the gorgeous bay views, to the bridges, the food, all the gayness this town exudes. I arrived today with a sense of adventure, wondering how many syncronicities will happen to me during my visit.
What is really exciting is to see how many divine appointments I can recognize while I am here. Each time I talk to anyone I have an expectancy that a wonderful play is about to begin on the stage, and I can have a part in it. Life is one big adventure.

So while I am here I will bike over the Golden gate Bridge and have lunch in Saucalito, and take the Ferry back. I also will bike through Golden gate Park, and on Friday I will attend the President's Cup Golf Tournament. That along with eating my way through this wonderful City, where the tall buildings are built on rollers and springs. Maybe kids built this City?

And then there is this totally enchanting woman at the front desk of my Hotel. I mean, we talked for 5 minutes and I felt like I have known her for years.....

So there is magic in the air here in SF, and I am holding on for the ride as the teacups spin.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

new blog

Virginia and Buck Speak

For several years Buck and Virginia have had meditation and conversation about life and spiritual things every Monday. Beginning this year, we both began to write down some observations and discoveries about the nature of reality and truth. Our talks and letters span over stories of our life experiences, as well as observations about the spiritual journey of the human race. We welcome your comments and contributions to our on-going adventures.
As well as being spiritually illuminating, being with Buck every week is one of the great joys of my life. He is wise, he is kind, and he is God and Goddess.

Please follow our conversations at:
www.virginiaandbuckspeak.com

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The first religious fanatic in recorded history

Fundamentalists make up a significant portion of the religions of the World. Whether it is the religious right Christians, or the Shiites of Islam, or the Jewish orthodox, many of each of these religions subscribe to a literal interpretation of their religious texts. This produces a climate where the believers of the particular religion believe they have the absolute truth, and that all others who believe differently are wrong. They also believe that their God will punish all those who believe differently, and some even astonishingly believe that their God is a God of love, even as he has created an eternal torture chamber for those who believe differently.

Abraham is said to be the patriarch of all 3 religions: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Christianity developed from the Hebrew religion, and the union of Abraham and Hager brought forth Ishmael, and upon this line came the Arab people.

But we see through the life of Abraham the seeds of fanaticism, in the story of Abraham and Isaac. The story is found in Genesis 22: 1-19, and tells the story Of God telling Abraham to take his son, his only son Isaac up onto the mountain and to sacrifice him by burning him on an altar, and if he was obedient then it would be a sign that God could trust Abraham and that God would bless him. Well, as the story goes Abraham actually tied up Isaac, put him on the altar, raised the knife to kill him, when an angel spoke and told Abraham to not kill the boy, but to take a goat found in the bushes and substitute for Isaac.

Well this was enough for God who told Abraham that since his intention was to obey God, that God would as a result would make of him a great Nation and bless him.

Fundamentalists of all three religions believe this story happened word for word as the texts record it.

I will examine this story first to debate that it should have ever been taken literally, and secondly to see if there is allegorical wisdom we can glean from the story for our own lives.

As common throughout all Old Testament scriptures, this account was written many years after Abraham died, and by writing about events in the past, the biblical writers could assign events with the meaning they chose. God could say anything that they wished to write, so the preposterous story of Abraham and Isaac came to light as one of the pivotal and fantastic stories which appears in the Bible.

To say that God would say to anyone to kill his son is so beyond the nature of a personal or universal God that it is hard to argue the point. A truer rendering of the story might be that Abraham had a dangerous psychotic break, and somehow thought that by sacrificing his son to God that would bring him power and blessings. There was child sacrifice at that time practiced by other tribes than the Hebrews, and Abraham had decided to make this a Hebrew practice too. But at the last moment he came to his senses, but not without scaring his son almost literally to death. The appearance of God and the angel, is simply revisionist writing by the scribes, to explain the story as how Abraham was blessed, rather than how he practiced child sacrifice. If this story had played out in modern times, Abraham would have been carted off to an institution for the violently insane.

Literalists believe that this story foreshadows the death of Christ, in that just as Abraham was to sacrifice his son, so God sent his son to Earth to sacrifice him for the sins of the world. Again, after Jesus’ life and death, the sacrifice story was created to wrap Christianity in a nice shroud of either one accepts Jesus or they spend eternity in Hell.

The parallels between the story and the present fanaticism by the religious right cannot be ignored. Instead of Isaac, the religious right has bound and put on the altar all elements of reason. They demand that all knowledge outside the bounds of the Bible be put to death. And as yet, they are not looking to anything to substitute. They have effectively killed reason and intellectual discourse, and demand and insist that all those who believe differently than them are Hellbound. Because of their numbers shrinking year by year, they have found their alliance with the Republican Party to be saving for them, in that this gives them control and power, and influence to keep them safe.

Recently, my daughter met an old friend from years back. The family was a very staunch religious right family, and had attended a right-wing Church here in Albuquerque for years. But last year they left the church. Jennifer was shocked at that and asked her friend why. Well it seems that the youngest daughter in the family developed a chronic illness in her teens, and the affliction bothered her all the time, and of course she asked the church to pray for her. After a few years the illness was getting worse, even though she had been under extensive medical care for the condition. One night at church she was lamenting this fact, and some of the congregation suggested that it was “her fault” for being sick. They inferred that she was not praying hard enough, and that if she prayed the right way she would be healed. Well, she went home in tears and said to her parents that she would never go back to the church. Her parents replied that if that is the way she felt then they would not go back either, and shared with their daughter their astonishment at what the people had said.

These types of religious abuses are being played out in many places. Some, like my daughter’s friends leave when it happens, others are horrified, but cannot leave because they are dependent on the church climate to feel like good people. They need a structure more than they need the truth.

The dysfunction in the fundamental churches today is clearly seen in the story of Abraham, and this “killing of reason” is being played out in the conservatives in our culture.

As to the allegory of the story, I believe it speaks to us in several ways. The whole notion of sacrifice assumes a lesser is acknowledging a “greater”. That the human is giving something to the “God”. As I internalize this, I realize that the acknowledgement of myself as “God” and in oneness with all things is an incredible self-affirming gift that I have “given to myself” in sacrificing those false ideas of the illusion of the ego. And one could say my “lesser: is the ego and my greater is my “higher self”. So I sacrifice the worldly pleasure of the ego to attain those things that are above. It is in this sense I can internalize the idea of “sacrifice”.


Virginia Stephenson 08-31-09

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Caster Semenya- unfairly targeted for sex testing

This 18 year old sprinter has been unfairly forced to prove she is a woman, because she is a champion sprinter and "looks" like a male. Her Mother and her grandmother have both spoken for her to say how unfair the testing is.
Some of her competitors feel she has an unfair advantage. Oh yeah, what is an unfair advantage? How about Michael Phelps' big feet? Of Lance Armstrong's unusually long femurs? Should Semenya be found with XXY DNA it will be very unfair to penalize
her in the least. Here is a letter that says it all:

From the internet:
To: The International Association of Athletics Federation
We, the undersigned, demand that the IAAF stay out of Caster Semenya's pants.

Your efforts to make champion Caster Semenya 'prove' she is a woman are shameful and unnecessary, and undermine the integrity and dignity of women athletes. Requiring select athletes--based purely on looks--to undergo 'scientific' testing that others do not is unfair and humiliating.

Gender is not a science, and biology does not make--or unmake--a woman. Oppression based on looks, however, is real, and forces women athletes to adhere to a sexist standard that does not foster true competition or personal excellence. We applaud Caster Semenya's skill as an athlete, and the way she creates more space for women--of all shapes, sizes and looks--to succeed.

We demand that you stop selective gender testing now, and put in place new policies that support all athletes, regardless of gender expression or identity.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

closeted gay republican politicians

I saw the movie last night "Outrage", that chronicles politician after politician who are secretly gay, and have gay relationships, but in public vote or act against all the gay initiatives and protections for LGBT persons.
Now while I practice "non-judgment" from a Buddhist perspective, and have compassion and forgiveness only for these folk, actions do have consequences. And the consequences are as follows:
1. They are living a double life, a lie, and constructing elaborate stories to explain their behavior. The pressure from this in the quiet moments causes them to further act out with bizarre behavior (ex. Larry Craig). I feel so sorry for the strain they are under.
2. Their nature is to be gay, so in voting against all gay initiatives, they are not only stating through example that they hate themselves, but their self-hatred is affecting all those like them. Many straight folk do not know the hardships that LGBT suffer, because the right -wing has fooled them into things that we have the same rights as all people. WRONG. Walk a mile in my shoes.
3. They live in a world of their delusional choice. When Larry Craig was arrested for toe-tapping in the airport men's room, he stated more than once: "I am not gay, I have never been gay". Even though several other gay relationships in his past have been proven. He has kept up his own delusion.

There was a wonderful story resulting from this. One of the Republican politicians (that's right, almost ALL of them are republicans) who was outed was Dan Gurley, a former field director for the Republican National Committee, who oversaw anti-gay campaigns for the RNC. He was a closeted gay while he worked at the RNC and was "outed" and Gurley now works for Equality North Carolina, a statewide group dedicated to securing equal rights and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. So I would say he took his outing and made it something positive for himself and others. Good for you, Dan!!!

posted by Virginia @ 3:22 PM

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rest in Peace Michael

How sad to see the passing of Michael Jackson. The first time I saw him perform "Billie Jean" I was so moved at his talent and the pure enjoyment of the song and his movements and voice, that I stood up and applauded....and I was alone in my living room. His energy and movements were simply without equal in his day. The very culture of pop music was recreated because of his creativity and performance.
He was preparing for maybe the most important and largest tour of his life, and he is dead.
The other sad thing is the tragic unfolding of challenges in his life that he endured. He spoke many times about how he had no childhood, and what there was of it was filled with fear and pressure. I cannot help but conclude with what I have heard that his infatuation with children and his culture of having children around was to restore or rediscover the lost places in his heart as a result of his upbringing.
Wow. I think I will play "Billie jean" tonight and imagine it is the very first time I have ever heard it. I can feel I will give him a standing ovation.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Spring- I love it!

I usually suffer through the winter months and feel reborn when spring arrives. Several years ago I decided to accept the darkness and quiet of the cold, and not resist it. Since then I have gotten through the winter without being depressed.
But this year the warmer weather really feels special. To be able to wear less clothes, to hear the birds in their song, to feel the warm breezes through my backyard trees, all these contribute toward my rebirth.
Also, it is so much easier to exercise when it is warm. Since the warm weather has been here, I have established a daily regimen of bike riding, usually for 30 min to one hour in the evenings. I am very careful on my bike, but sometimes feel like a road warrior, dodging the steel beasts traveling on the roads, overcoming hills and orange barrels, feeling the blessing and respite of the downhills.
Even though alas, I had to postpone my trip to Spain until later this year, I have much to look forward to this summer.
1. Planting summer squash and okra in my backyard.
2. Pridefest in June
3. My daughter's graduation party this month.
4. The weekly revelations of my weekly meetings with Buck
5. My 40th HS reunion (maybe)
6. occasional Isotopes ball games

This weather is perfect this time of year.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Virginia's 40th HS reunion????

And my life was dull and uneventful until......

Decisions…decisions. I was invited to my 40th year reunion of my High School class today. Ed invited me and he was one of my closest friends in HS along with Jack and John, who will be there also. Ed, John and I were the founders of "Wino weekend" a time of extreme debauchery and fun back in 1975, or was it 1974? Jack taught me to play tennis, so well that my game, after not playing for 30 years, is still salvageable. I would really love to see them and renew old friendships with others too, but several things give me pause.
1. I do not have anyone to go with me so I would be doing it single, and most of the people will have their spouses there with them.
2. As a transgender person, I will appear different, which means I will be examined, checked out, and basically looked at as an oddity. Now I am used to that, except that why travel 3000 miles so it can happen again?
3. Christian music was streaming on the website for the reunion. Enough said.

And then I thought how often transgender people may not attend or take part in events because they may receive unequal or unusual treatment. Sometimes we just have to endure feeling uncomfortable, and maybe out of place, and make the most of it.

Alas, to not go is giving into some sort of internalized transphobia, in that I am letting the reactions of others, or the opinions and feelings of others decide how I should act. By not going I am letting my fear drive my life, and I have pledged NOT to do that.

So I think I will go. And I will have a good time. If I have to shut down the bar alone I shall have a good time. I will do my best to talk to everyone and inquire after their lives and see what common ground we may find. I may even try to hum a few bars of the Christian music.

Hmmmm… Should I wear the button to the reunion I keep on my bureau for special occasions? It says “Do you think my dick is too long for this skirt?”

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Right wing hate defeated in Florida

In Gainesville, FL. on Tuesday, with 100% of the city ballots counted, the discriminatory Charter Amendment One has been soundly defeated by a vote of 58% to 42%. Charter Amendment 1 was an effort by national rightwing organizations to repeal the
city's new anti-discrimination law that would-and now will-allow gay, lesbian, bi and
transgender people to work and live based on their qualifications. The LGBT-obsessed Right Wing Lie Machine has fallen way short again.

This is noteworthy, because some of the TV spots in support of the amendment, showed a surly and dangerous looking man going into a ladies restroom, implying that to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their acquired gender, that women will be in danger of attack in ladies rooms. This is the outrageous strategy of the right-wing, to take what they consider people on the margins, and demonize them by completely mis-characterizing them. This is demagogy at its worse, and it is shameful, even for the right wing.

Well, the people of Gainesville were not fooled, well...except for the 42% on the losing end. But this is a bright spot in LGBT social justice after the disastrous PROP defeats of last year.

Friday, March 20, 2009

My top 10 books

An interesting exercise is to write down your top 10 books. These are mine in no particular order:

1. "No death, no fear" by Thich Nhat Hanh-- An excellent modern Buddhist treatment of overcoming fear in one's life, including the fear of death.
2. "Great Expectations" by Dickens--If one is patient with Dicken's wordiness, you will enter a new world, where you feel what the characters are feeling.
3. "A Tale of two cities" Dickens- ditto
4. "Lord of the Rings" by JRR Tolkein--these are the books that to me, never grow old.
5. "The Confessions of nat Turner" by William Styron... One of the groundbreaking books to get us all to see what the Black struggle for equality was all about.
6. "To Kill a Mockingbird: by Harper Lee---Ditto PLUS, whites being allies to blacks producing trust and love between the races.
7. "Stranger in a Strange land" by Robert Heinlein- 1960s counterculture treatise, it speaks of indiv. responsibility and the influence of religion on our institutions.
8. "It" by Stephen King-- This is the scariest book I have ever read, so the writing succeeded.
9. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain- a period piece, but a classic story.
10. "Dune" by Frank Herbert- See the movie based on the book, it is great.

Now list your own and see if it doesn't spur your interest to read.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bernie Madoff should go free....sort of

Today Bernie Madoff pleaded guilty to the biggest swindle in history, over 50 BBBBillion dollars he stole by fraud from investors. He is expected to receive a jail sentence which will keep him in jail for his life. He has tried to hide the $$ by giving his wife 70 million and others in his family. But I am against his imprisonment, and here is why.

The United States puts more people in jail than any other nation, even if we measure by per capita. The United States comes in first from the prison studies center, the one ranked in order of the incarceration rates. We has 751 people in prison or jail for every 100,000 in population. (If you count only adults, one in 100 Americans is locked up.)

The only other major industrialized nation that even comes close is Russia, with 627 prisoners for every 100,000 people. The others have much lower rates. England's rate is 151; Germany's is 88; and Japan's is 63.

The median among all nations is about 125, roughly a sixth of the American rate.

We can start to change this in 2 ways:
1. People of color share a disproportionate number of people in prison. The answer lies in improving services in our inner cities, as well as a long range program of supporting youth.
2. We can stop incarcerating people convicted of non-violent crimes.

To do #2, we must substantially increase the penalties for non-violent crime. We must raise the fines, and increase community service.

For example, bernie Madoff plead guilty to fraud of 50 Billion dollars. Therefore his fine should be the surrender of ALL of his assets, including his houses, his gold cufflinks, the shirt he is wearing, and every off shore and US bank account that he owns. These $$ would be distributed to the people he defrauded. In addition, he should be sentenced to serve the rest of his life in community service, at an AIDS hospice, or a food bank. He can work 12 hours per day, and spend the rest of the time on house arrest with an ankle monitoring device.

For lesser crimes. like embezzlement of $5000, the fine would be 3 times the amount plus interest, and community service of an appropriate length.

In this way we could reduce our prison population, and increase funds for education and health care. The risk of losing such large amounts in fines and community service would be a sufficient deterrent.

I don't like what Bernie Madoff did, but the madness of our prison system must end.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The hate of conservative christianity

I usually do not talk about people who do not like me or hate me, because I believe as people we need first to forgive, and then to not let others feelings bother us.
I wrote the following letter to the editor of the Journal and the Alibi, because I am pissed.....that the religious right had their way and the domestic partner Bill was defeated in the NM Legislature this year. So this is my "up yours" message to all those who think same sex marriage would bring about the end of the world as we know it.

Letter to the Editor:

Let's be clear. Conservative Christians are mean and cruel and they hate gays, lesbians and transgenders. It is not enough for these people that we are all going to an eternal place where we will be tormented, burned and tortured for all time, but they want to be sure that our lives here on Earth are as miserable as they can make them.
By opposing the domestic partner Bill moving through this session of the NM Legislature, they are saying that they want to DENY same-sex couples the right to visit their partner in the hospital, and DENY them the right of medical decisions for their partner, or DENY them the right of inheritance. This is not only evidence of their meanness, but proof that they hate us.
The religious right keep saying that they LOVE gays, you know, just like they love murderers and rapists. But they have never sought to remove health care in the prisons or to deny prisoners family visits. No, they reserve a special brand of their hate for gays, lesbians and trans people.
They also keep saying, “we love the sinner, but hate the sin”. In other words, they are saying they have the divine talent to somehow separate the person from the actions that these persons do that they hate, like 2 guys kissing and drag shows, and transsexualism, and having sex in creative ways.
No, they do not love us at all, they really hate us. The world would be so much simpler if they would just admit that.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I never thought I would see this.

My friends Gloria and Jo forwarded me this amazing video of an advertisement from Argentina, with an amazing trans-woman. The ad is for a major back in that country.
I cannot say more than you will feel as you watch it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEaGbTr8B2o

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Prayers, Druids and sacred space

I belong to a Druid Grove with 3 wonderful women, and we get together monthly and create sacred space together to help us with our lives, to create positive changes in our world, and to learn more about ourselves, and to enjoy a fine meal together, of course. The method we use is an ancient one, in that we create sacred space by coming into unity among ourselves, and by considering that we are also at one with Creator/ Spirit/ Universe. Into this space we speak our truth, and as we do we learn more about who we are, what we can do upon knowing ourselves, and how that knowledge of ourselves can change us and the world around us: our friends, families, employees, etc. There is also magical things that result from placing “intention” into sacred space. Intention is a purposeful thought, a statement or commitment to a purpose or a plan, a direction of the mind and spirit. Just as the womb is the place of creation of a new life, sacred space is the place where placed intentions are transformed into reality: and that is magic.
A prayer is a very similar thing. If we take the idea of a personal God/Goddess out of prayer, then we are left with speaking intention!
One of the 4 agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, is for the impeccability of my word. Let all my words be truthful, let all my words uplift and encourage, let all my words bless, let all my words be pure.
This is important in intention also. The plans and directions of our lives are important, and what we pray and what we intend is important.
Another way to set an intention is to light a candle. I especially do this for others, when someone needs a healing or a job, when someone needs help or wisdom , I light a candle and let it burn for them, and when I look at the candle I open my heart for their need, and sometimes when I do this the Universe tells me to do something further to help them.
The reason a Druid group is called a “grove”, is because we also study nature together, especially the trees. So since a group of trees can be called a grove, we Druids are a grove. We are planted together in similar soil, and feel the same Sunlight, water through our roots and leaves, and the breezes blowing through our branches. Yes, this speaks to similar experiences which have brought us together, and similar values and beliefs about life, which means that we see the world in a similar way.
It is wonderful to walk through life in community, with like-minded people who trust and enjoy and marvel at life.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wacko- right wing churches

Legacy Church here in Albuquerque has called for their members to "fast and pray" in order to stop the Domestic Partner Bill from passing the NM state legislature. (Thank you Paula, for the heads up). Legacy Church is a right wing wacko mega-church, that believes the Bible is literally true, and that some are going to be "saved" (them of course) and some will be damned for all time (us, the homosexuals and transgender sinners). The pastor of the church, Steve Smothermon, told the congregation that the sin of homosexuality would hurt New Mexicans and even the entire country. Yeah RIGHT.

I guess they thought it was much more important to fast and pray against homosexuality, than to pray for the nation's economic recovery, or an end to the Palestinian-Jewish conflict, or global warming, or to feed hungry children in the world. I guess to give same-sex couples the right to visit their partner in the hospital, or to give them the right of medical decision for their partner, or the right of inheritance, means the end of the world as we know it. Honestly, this is an example of people with personality disorders, uniting with the fairy tales from a false religion, to demonize a group of persons they do not even know.

So tomorrow, they will be at the state capital in Santa Fe, to stand up to fight against a bill that will protect unmarried couples. They will think they are doing the Will of the God they serve. Actually, they are perpetuating hate...and seeking to continue the discrimination of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, the discrimination that so far, is sanctioned by the US Government.

Transgendered cats

"Transgendered Cats" is written by and is property of Stealthgrrl at www.susans.org


Transgendered cats become a problem.

The females prowl the alleyways all night, fighting and spraying the hell out of everything. Meanwhile, the toms grow their hair long and preen like Grand Duchesses in the window seat.

Clergy become alarmed.

They urge people to buy dogs instead.

"It's all that catnip," says Mrs. Mumbly, deliciously scandalized.

"It's a sign of the end times," says Herbert Straight, with a knowing nod.


The transgendered cats march on Washington.

Being cats, this doesn't go smoothly, but eventually, they all make it.

"Kitty, kitty," says the president.

"Oh please," say the cats.

America and the transgendered cats stare at each other.

Cats never blink, but

Mrs. Mumbly swore that one of them winked at her, and that she'd never seen such brass.

Transgendered cats.

It's happening now.

Meow.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The 81st Academy Awards

I love singing and dancing. I guess that is because my daughter, Jennifer Stephenson, has done it so well ever since she was in elementary school drama. And that is why Hugh Jackman gets an “A” for the opening act. He was really wasted in the X-men. He has a great voice, don't you think?
And here it is, my take on the Oscar's last night. I know you all have been waiting for this!
I watched the gowns closely, because I love to wear gowns, and the most beautiful are displayed and worn at the Oscar's. I judge them by gowns I would love to wear. It makes no difference that I would have to have sizes a good bit larger than those I saw, just the style, colors, cut, and the dazzling expression is a sight to behold. And as a woman, I so like to see the cleavage, oops! Is that a guy thing too? No Kidding! All the guys were dull, white and black, except for Mickey Rourke, big surprise. And Will Smith looked hot in a tux, don't you think? Gowns I would like to wear, were worn by: Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker (she has to do something with her hair), Anne Hathaway (the runway host was tacky enough to ask her if she owned the dress, can you believe that?), and Queen Latifa. Having dressed as a man and a woman in my years, I can say that dressing as a woman is a supreme privilege. The colors, the styles, the shapes are so exquisite I marvel at the presentation, and I so enjoy the dresses into which I can fit.

I like the way they did the screenplay awards. They actually showed the actual screenplay text while they showed the movie nominees and clips. Hooray!
The acceptance speech by Dustin Lance Black for the screenplay for “Milk” was great. Very positive for gay and lesbian and trans youth! And his appeal for federal laws to protect us.... very nice!

The musical number with Jackman and Beyonce was awesome!!!!!

When Heath Ledger won, my eyes were not dry, even though I have not seen the “Dark Knight” yet. But his performance in “Brokeback Mountain”, I will never forget.


I only saw one of the Best Picture films, “Milk” that was excellent. But Jennifer saw “Slumdog Millionaire” and she said it was one of the best she has seen. That is praise enough for me.

Jerry Lewis-
I clapped for his speech. It was in no way pretentious, and was so humble and appreciative. He did not go into his role, but he spoke as a person, and a caring person. Hey, Jerry, Thanks.
Hey, for those of you are saying, “Why are you praising a person who said anti-gay slurs not long ago?”, I say that excellence is exclusive of personal bias, and that loving all, includes those who feel different from us. YES, I mean you and ME, too.


A.R. Rahman “ I chose love” This was a great........speech. A man from India

Queen latifa- “ I'll be seein' you in all the old familiar places” was the best of the songs, I thought.

Congrats to Slumdog!! It is also great to see an indie film win and one made on a shoestring budget.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Christian assumptions- part 3

This is the last and final post (for now) from Buck on how literal Christianity is really the false religion of the day. More accurately, all fundamental religions which take their text literally are missing the real value of internalizing the spiritual truths found within. This is exactly why Jesus was so hard on the Pharisees, because religion to them was dos and don'ts, saved and unsaved, about controlling the masses rather than establishing love and compassion. I thoroughly agree with Buck in these three posts. Thank you Buck!


3. A casual scholar might assume that the mystery schools ( for example the Egyptians and the Essenes)
which were active in the world up to about 300 AD were antithetical to the teachings of Jesus (i.e. heathen institutions), but we stated earlier that all the teachings attributed to Jesus were well known before the time of Jesus to those who were initiated into these mystery schools and to many others in many different religions (see references in 2) including the many Christians. A more plausible assumption is that the teachings and initiations of the mystery schools became the gospels, hidden away from public knowledge by the claim that they the actual history of a man called Jesus. A corollary to this alternative assumption is that Jesus is the common name given to candidates admitted into a mystery school. Thus when a Jesus successfully completed the training and the initiations of the mystery school, he became a Christ, a Son or Daughter of God.
Notice that this alternative assumption allows any person who aspires to know “God as one with themselves” can be called Jesus. Thus it means that Jesus is the self in active pursuit of finding god/goddess within. If the words of the Biblical Jesus are taken in from this alternate point of view, a whole different understanding is experienced by the candidate. For example, “I and my father are one.” If taken as a historic record, means that this man called Jesus, 2000 years ago was one with God. If taken personally, means I am and can experience being one with God. Another example, “The kingdom of heaven is within.” If taken as a historic record, means that this man called Jesus had the kingdom of heaven within himself. If taken personally, means that if I want heaven, I’d better look inside of myself. As the many sayings of the Biblical Jesus are taken from the point of view that I am a Jesus or an aspirant wanting to know God then their meaning becomes real internal knowledge and experience -- an initiatory experience.
Notice that the original assumption, that Jesus in this historic character has given rise to such ideas as a belief in Jesus can save an individual from going to hell. This assumption implies that hell as an external place. For those who accept the alternative assumption hell is a living state for which the candidate feels separate from God and must take the responsibility for getting themselves into the joy of being one with God. In other words there is no savior except for the self. Like hell, heaven is a living internal state and getting to this state is an individual responsibility – the responsibility of each candidate or every Jesus.
Notice that the original assumption of a historic single individual Jesus includes believing that Jesus died and went to heaven and furthermore that by believing he did this for us we can get to heaven too. This places that responsibility outside of the self; negating redemptive powers of the individual -- the Redeemer is none other that the self.

Christian assumptions lead to problems, post #2

Another excellent post from Buck. The importance of this is that many of our thought systems, mores and folkways, and cultural assumptions are based on the incorrect belief that the Bible is literally true. But when we can internalize the allegorical truths for our own spiritual enlightenment, we discover who we are, as well as our divinity. Thanks again Buck, for this outstanding explanation.


2. Electing Jesus as god and making the New Testament history rather appreciating it as allegories which teach spiritual truths, gave rise to Catholic and fundamental Christian beliefs which are often contrary to the teachings of Jesus as reported in the Christian bible. These erroneous ideas began to gain major importance with the selection of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire by Constantine and the actions taken by the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. Sigmund Freud recognized that the Christian Bible was total plagiarism [Tom Harpur, The Pagan Christ, Walker and Co., NY, 2004, p.5] Detailed historical research has clearly shown that the stories in the bible were taken from ancient religions often thousands of years before the beginning of the Christian era (0 AD) [Alvin Boyd Kuhn, A Rebirth for Christianity, republished in 2005 by Quest Books, Wheaton Il, and Lost Light, An Interpretation of Ancient Scriptures, Filiquarian Publishing republished 2007; Gerald Massey, Ancient Egypt, The Light of the World, Cosimo republished 2007; Acharya S, Suns of God, 2004, Adventures Unlimited, Kempton, Il, 2004; Kersey Graves, The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors, Christianity before Christ, Adventures Unlimited, Kempton Il, republished in 2001 and many others]. The early Christian church and the Roman Empire tried to rid the world of Gnostic and mystic Christians by burning their books, killing or banishing their leaders and punishing those who wouldn't agree with the official interpretation of Christian doctrine.
In making Jesus God and Savior they transferred the divine outside of the Self. Not only is this contrary to the teachings attributed to Jesus himself, but it allows for external authority over individuals and justifies rule of humankind by political and religious authorities. This idea gains credibility by assuming that humans are basically animals where the packs or herds are lead by an alpha individual, usually a male. This idea negates the concept that we are all sons and daughters of God/Goddess. Animals fight to maintain control; sons and daughters of God/Goddesses love each other, all belong to the same family and the need to control is diminished. Exalting the animal nature of humans leads to hatred and war; exalting the divine nature of humans leads to love and peace. The dominating authoritarian Christians have taken the baby Jesus outside of us limiting our potential to mature into divine beings.
In making the Bible into history, the power of the lessons contained in the stories is often dismissed rather than applied to the individual who is learning the story. If we assume that the teachings in the Bible and in the gospels in particular are allegories of our own life stories, then we can experience them as initiations and get their individualized meanings more deeply than as just an intellectual understanding; they become personal and self-awakening experiences which can profoundly change our lives. This results in the internal infant Jesus or magical child maturing into the Christ. God therefore becomes an internalized experience. And we therefore become self reliant not expecting some outside god to save us. We have to take on the responsibility of Savior.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Christian beliefs resulting in problems

My friend Buck and I have been having conversations for many weeks about the nature of spirituality and our involvement in truth-telling and compassionate action. Today, Buck begins a series of posts on the subject of:

Christian assumptions that have created major problems for Western Civilization.

1. Believing that the story of creation in Genesis is true history has created the enduring and unproductive controversy of evolution versus creationism and has caused many to ignore the huge amount of evidence for evolution, and caused some to even doubt the validity of science in general. But even more important is the presentation that evil is a force directed by a powerful being called the Devil or Satan. What the Genesis story is really presenting is two different basic philosophical ideas represented by the images: (1) The Tree of Life and. (2) The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Tree of Life world view is the foundation of monotheism or the oneness of all creation and promotes peace. The other world view based on the image of The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil generates dualism promoting the Devil to a godlike position in Western view and generates right versus wrong thinking which in turn leads to conflicts and wars. This idea has also led to the assignment of evil to women (Eve offering the fruit to Adam) further promoting conflict and inequality. Not all Western thinkers have taken this dualistic point of view. Some Kabbalists in Judaism, the mystic or Gnostic traditions within Christianity, and the Sufis in Islam overcame this limitation and promote more peaceful ways of being in the world while the literalists in Christianity, Islam, and Jewish religions often think and act in ways that lead to wars. To explain further, if some are “saved” and some are doomed to Hell, and “I” am one of the saved, are not the “doomed” to be feared, ostracized, and possibly defeated? On the other hand, if we are all “family” and I realize I share the common human experience with all people, then will I not first look to peace and love in my dealings with them?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Guest blogger today



Hi everyone! My name is Persia and I am Virginia's new cat. Virginia saved me at the Humane Society yesterday....Whew, I was glad to be rid of that place! The cage was so confining.
Anyway, I am a siamese mix, tabby Point, 3-1/2 year old, female. My last family had some problems and did not think they could care for me any more, although I was kept very well fed ( I weigh 12 pounds!). My first day with Virginia was yesterday, and I settled in right away, checking everything out.
The high point of the day for me was sleeping in Virginia's bed last night. I think I surprised her at how quickly I warmed to everything.
One of my past lives was as a lap cat to an Egyptian queen. Well.....you didn't just think I was some ordinary cat, did you? Although Virginia has encouraged me not to show any elitest behavior.
So anyway, being in Virginia's house gives me somewhat of a throwback to that life, Virginia being a queen and all!
So I find life absolutely satisfactory at the moment, although I am still working on the cat pan thing.
I have to keep some excitement in Virginia's life, don't I?
So well met, everyone. Here I am in my new place. And I like it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cats

Well, I lost my last cat today. Cinders was 17 years old and was a joy to my home for these last years. She was Jennifer's cat and Jennifer gave her to me about 3 years ago or so. I have lost 2 very old cats in the last 5 months. My long time friend Velvet (19 years)died in Sept of last year.
I am a very good keeper of cats, in that a cat in my care is treasured, fed well, played with, and stroked and massaged and rubbed to their heart's content. They have always slept with me, purring through the night, and yawning with me as I arise.
So, all life passes, but now I look for other pets.
2 kittens would be nice, or perhaps to rescue an adult or 2 from the fate that awaits them at a shelter.
I went by "Lucky Paws" today, the city adoption store in the Coronado Center, and I was really impressed with the care they give the animals. I did not meet a cat to take home, but they have some lovelies there. So this weekend I think I will make the rounds of the shelters and see if I can find a new baby, or babies.
But now I need to thoroughly clean house, as Cinders, the Goddess rest her soul, was quite messy in the last days of life, poor thing.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sec. Clinton

Hey- have any of you been wondering what Sec. of State Clinton is doing these days?
Well no, because there has been no press at all of what she is doing. All the news is economic recovery here at home.
Let me take a guess.
I know that she wants to make a splash in her new job. And she has many contacts from her husbands stint in office, so...... the possibilities are numerous.
Suppose that a deal could be made to supply the Saudis absolute security in the Middle East for a share in their OIL revenues, or suppose that Iran would like the same.
Suppose that they are trying to broker a deal to keep everyone happy.
Israel you say, they want peace too, but only on their terms.
How is it going to come down?
I guarantee that this year, Sec. Clinton will be involved in a major deal there. Syria and Israel? I do not know.
The palestinians, they must be cared for?
The elections in Israel today? how will that affect the balance?
Is she working with Pres. Obama. Yes, of course. But is she pulling strings with all of Bill's contacts. You bet.
She is a bright lady, and from what I have seen, she has the State dept on her side BIG time.
When employees want to work for their boss, they DO. I think things are in FULL swing there, and everyone is distracted by the economics here.
Hey, I could be all wet, but I don't think I am.
Hold on, it could get bumpy.

The Grammys

The Grammys 2-8-09

I'm a fuckin' Coldplay fanatic. They are so great. And U-2 rocked the house to start.
I love jennifer hudson, her song brought tears, and Kid Rock was awesome....and Radiohead with the band.....and the MoTown medley was awesome!!!! A Neil Diamond looking and sounding so old.

Gene Autry, the singing cowboy. “You are my sunshine” and “Here comes Santa Claus...” and “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer” and “Frosty the snowman”. He received one of the Lifetime Achievement Awards..... I used to watch his movies as a boy and being so captivated by his singing in a western venue.
When I was small, I was in my Father's church. He was a Southern baptist minister, and in Salisbury, NC he was pastor of the largest church in town. He spoke to over 1000 people every Sunday and I admired him and loved him. When I was 5 or 6, he was preaching a sermon (this was in 1957-1959), and I was sitting listening with my Mother, and he came to a point in the sermon where he spoke of people who excelled at their professions, and he said if one could speak like Abraham Lincoln, or if one could sing like...... and he hesitated. (My Father never spoke from a script, he always spoke from an outline, and he was searching for the right entertainer.) Well, apparently I was listening, because I spoke up outloud in the church and yelled, “Gene Autry”. Well, of course the audience thought that was so cute and laughed and applauded, and my Father , not one to miss a moment, said, “Thank you son, yes, Gene Autry......”
So yes, even then I recognized the magnificence of his talent.......and my need for drama.

Allison Krause and Robert Plant- I can't help wondering if they are sleeping together. I am so bad.

The Bo Diddley memorial was great. There were so many great guitarists up there they looked scared to upstage the other.

All the speeches were rather simple. No one stood out.

Album of the year----ROBERT PLANT AND ALLISON KRAUSE
No, I don't think they were sleeping together. She is so much more ahead of him.

The Grammy's...they are so magical, we get the see and hear the songs we have loved, and the songs we did not know we loved, and discover new songs and new groups that are so outstanding.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My cat prepares to transition.

I am battling what to do about my last cat today. My last cat does not mean I would never have another, but for many years I had 2 cats, Velvet, my long time friend died last September,at the age of 19, and my other cat is Cinders, who has been under my care for a number of years as she is my daughter, Jennifer's, cat.
Well last week Cinders became ill and was not eating, so Thursday I took her to the vet and found out that she has progressive kidney failure, the same ailment that Velvet died of.
So for three days I have been giving Cinders "sub-Q" injections to keep her hydrated.
The procedure involves having a bag of "ringers lactate" solution, and a needle and tube, and sticking in the needle under the skin of her neck, and giving her 100mL of the solution twice daily.
The problem is Cinders is not responding to treatment, so I fear we will have to put her down tomorrow. Jennifer has been very supportive in the process, telling me she was fine with my decision, and she wants to be with Cinders tomorrow when I take her in. I feel sure Jennifer wants to support me by being there, as much as in sorrow in seeing Cinders pass. And I am really glad for her support.
Having a pet who is a friend and part of the family and giving them up is hard. I have never been one to stoically endure the deaths of pets, they always hit me pretty hard and I have to cry for a while to get over them.
So I am spending my last night with Cinders, who is about 15 years or so old herself.
Be blessed little Cinders!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Course in Miracles

I have been through most of the wookbook from A Course in Miracles (ACIM), and find it to be the closest formal statement I have seen to what our spiritual nature is like. It teaches one to assume our true nature which is sacred and holy, and allows us to envelope the world, and our neighbor, and our families, and our enemies, with our holiness (love).
ACIM is not a religion, but it could be easily placed into any of the major religions as a practice. In fact, knowing most of the major religions very well, I believe all of them could benefit by ACIM teachings.
ACIM teaches gratitude, generosity and forgiveness. It teaches one to find our true holy nature, and to be able to act in the world with integrity and blessing.

Here are 2 quotes from ACIM:

I have indeed misunderstood the world, because I laid my sins on it and saw them looking back at me. How deceived was I to think that what I feared was in the world, instead of in my mind. (p. 418)

Let every voice but God’s be still in me. Today we let no ego thoughts direct our words or actions. When such thoughts occur, we quietly step back and look at them, and then we let them go. (p. 411)

Be blessed today.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

left brain and right brain

On my facebook page, I announced that I was pondering the left brain right brain connection, and my friend Mary Ellen wrote and asked me "what have you figured out?"

Well I thought about that for a while and answered with this:

Oh no, someone has asked me for an explanation. Well, shall I answer it in the rational, or the intuitive? Well, since i was born in the rational, I shall try the intuitive.
I think this is like changing operating systems on a computer, it is hard work. It is like knowing a language and trying to speak another.
OK, Here is what I will answer.
... the left and right brain connection is like......
cooking with recipes, and cooking and throwing in whatever, it is like gardening by the book, and gardening with what feels nice on that day, it is like making love as I have always done it, or..... being receptive to .....alternative responsives.
It is like stroking my cat, or talking to her.
I am still learning what it means, but I am sure it means to cross an ocean on a raft, or flying high on a moonbeam, or sitting for hours waiting for the sunrise.
I am also sure it means to look at the world as much larger than it is, and to look at my place in the world as much larger than I thought.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Michael Phelps....and other thoughts

Poor Michael Phelps. The hero of the Oylmpics was caught in a picture smoking a bong. I immediately thought several things. What a betrayal for the idiot who took the picture to use it to embarrass or hurt Michael. And Michael, you probably weren't too wise either to smoke pot around people you don't know.....well.
But the kicker is when some idiot public servant in South Carolina said that if Phelps smoked pot in S.C. that he would prosecute him. What? Is this the end of the world as we know it? Please. Let poor Michael alone. It was embarrassing enough that he had to apologize for smoking pot, yeah, we know that was a heart-felt apology.When are they going to end all these non-sensical prosecutions for drugs?

Another thing that really pissed me off this week, was here in NM, where a Domestic partner Bill failed in a Senate committee. Of course the right wing had all the crazies here, especially people from Legacy Church here in Albq. I heard that Christian talk radio gave a "Praise God" that the DP Bill was defeated, and I thought, how much God (whatever God is)is sick to death of so-called Christians giving him credit for all kinds of hatred and discrimination. Not to mention the assumption they make that no gay, or lesbian, or bisexual, or transgender person can be a Christian. I will say more about religion later in another blog, but we are seriously messed up in this country by false religions influencing our institutions and culture. Oh yes, we have a right to believe what we will, but to use our sacred writings as a weapon against others, and to seek to establish laws based on "our interpretation" of those sacred writings, is not only nonsense, but it is dangerous to our democracy and our Republic.
I good example is Prop 8 in CA, which passed last year and outlawed same-sex marriage there. The legislation of discrimination against sexual and gender minorites is tyranical and unconstitutional, mean-spirited and a shame and a sin against humanity. There.....I feel better.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Sunday

For the first time in a long time, I care very little for who wins the Super Bowl. I will just be glad to get back home after 4 days in Denver. Oh, I enjoyed the conference, met some good people, but I am tired and ready to be at home.
So, let Arizona and Pittsburgh battle it out, may the best team win. But i will probably watch the game for the commercials!!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Activism

I am writing this from the Creating Change conference in Denver. What an amazing conference! I would say there are a majority of GLBT persons under 30 than over. As an old person, this is so great and brings tears of joy to my eyes.
Among the high points so far:
1. I attended a panel on the defeats of the PROPS last November, and after all the dust settled and excuses were given, 2 things hit home.
A. There must be a marriage between polling and organizing in our campaigns, and
B. NOW may be the time, at least coming, for civil disobedience, to highlight the injustice of what is happening.

2. I attended a meeting and seminar on bisexuality. There were about 120 people there and 90% were under 30. Our young persons are very comfortable expressing their sexuality as bi and even though our GLBT culture pressures them to be gay or lesbian or not, they are expressing their attractions as BI.

3. I attended a meeting of Trans-activitists, and again, 70% there were under 30. They had so much great energy and determination for equality it brought tears to my eyes.

This is a great conference and there is one more day. Hooray.

My only sadness is that the DP Bill in NM is having problems. There is one swing vote in the Senate Judiciary, and we might not get it. But do not give up hope. This has happened before and things have worked out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

politics

I am a student of politics, and an activist every now and then. One rising star, or maybe she has already risen, is political commentator Rachel Maddow. I love her show on MSNBC, and the fact that she is an OUT lesbian is just icing on the cake.
A recent interview with her is here:
http://www.wowowow.com/post/lesley-stahl-rachel-maddow-MSNBC-
Fox-News-184110?page=0%2C0

As a transgender person, I cannot help but be active in the struggle for civil rights and non-discrimination for trans people, and also for the entire LGBT community. We are all brothers and sisters, and MLK jr said many years ago, that "injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere."
I would urge the readers of this blog to participate in social justice somewhere. It could be at a women's shelter against violence, or at an AIDS hospice, or a homeless shelter or an advocacy group, but DO social justice. If you cannot volunteer, give donations! Find where your passion lies and volunteer and help make the world a better place.
Did not Obama say "be the change you need to see in the world". Maybe that wasn't him and I am attributing every change quote to him? Oh well.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Creating Change

I will attend the Creating Change Conference in Denver this weekend. The event is put on by the national Gay and Lesbian Task Force(NGLTF), and there will be workshops, seminars, speeches, and presentations by a variety of groups and individuals.
Over 2000 people are expected to attend. Most of the attendees will be (like me)activists in the fight for civil rights for GLBT persons. The conference is being held at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Denver.
Among the workshops that interest me are subjects like sexuality and spirituality, trans health care, United ENDA, relationship between a Board and the ED, and others.
As the representative (executive director) of Equality NM I will also network with vendors, friends, grantors, and other organizations.

It should be very informative, but also fun. I will see my friend Kelly, who lives in Denver and we have chatted on line but never met. I hope I can find some good places to eat within walking distance of the Hotel.

Gender

Our culture definitely agrees there are 2 genders (or sexes, but the culture as a whole does not separate the two), and these are not to be trifled with. From pronouns to applications to official documents to bathrooms to “sir” or “ma’am”, our mores and folkways support the cultural foundation of 2 sexes. In recent years, gender presentation has become a little more fluid and relaxed, but do not be fooled, our cultural structures are set up to sanction those who become “too fluid”. For me, gender identity is more complex than male or female, masculine or feminine, or even the trans words of crossdresser and transsexual. For years, much of the trans-community supported this dichotomy, by accepting the polarization of gender by transitioning to become the opposite sex, with full gender presentation on the extremes of the gender scale. In the last few years, we have seen more trans-people occupy a gender space that is between the genders, or having markers of both genders, or as some prefer it: a third gender……..or a fourth?
I occupy a gender presentation space leaning toward female, but I feel no need for SRS or voice lessons (although there’s nothing wrong with that). I dress mostly as a sort-of femme woman leaning toward butch, and occasionally dress very femme or even high femme. So I enjoy skating around on the femme side of the spectrum, though never landing in a solid place. In presenting gender like this I have actually been inspired by some young transfolk, who have come “out of the box” in an unashamed radical expression of gender as fluid of which I was amazed, then respected, and now in which I participate.
The culture views this fluidity as “queer”. Over the years, I have been stared at, shouted at, laughed at, but never physically assaulted (maybe because I am a big girl?). But I know transfolk who experience it as hurtful, suffocating, painful, embarrassing or shameful. Other transpeople describe themselves as having one’s “identity disregarded by others but having no choice other than to endure their insistence on choosing a different one for you that they superimpose upon you without permission.” Over the years I have had to process and deal with all these emotions, and have escaped shame and fear and find myself, more often than not, having fun with my presentation and with the reactions and feedback by those around me. I say that very carefully, for I know I have kinspeople who are struggling to the death over some of these issues.
I would like to say that the present experiences of gender fluidity herald a time in the near future of full acceptance of people whatever their gender presentation. Being a cockeyed optimist:
I could say life is just a bowl of Jello
And appear more intelligent and smart,
But I'm stuck like a dope
With a thing called hope,
And I can't get it out of my heart!
Not this heart...