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.