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...