Thursday, June 2, 2011


A couple of big news events from our nation's capital in recent days.

The president unveiled a new LGBT website in honor of PRIDE month.  The Officer of Personnel Management released 3 documents on Trans issues in the workplace (see the NCTE press release). 

I was approached to write a column for this week and I think it's going to be posted today.  That always opens the door for whack-jobs to send emails and express just how unhappy they are.  A word to anyone who either writes something that gets published or has a story written about them - don't go and read the comments.  They're toxic and it's not worth the energy sucking involved.  When I wrote about Trans athletes for them there were over 1,000 comments - I didn't read a one of them.  The proces sof writing this piece was interesting as it involved back and forth:  me writing, and them editing, and me editing their edited piece, and so on.

Speaking of writing comments, if anyone reading this blog leaves a comment to a post just know that it automatically sends me an email alerting me to it.  It automatically gets posted as well - I don't approve or delete any of them.  When people leave comments I generally don't feel compelled to respond but I usually do see them.  Believe it or not I've got a pretty busy life and don't check it all day every day.  But if you cross the line or I'm particularly cranky that's a whole other story.

One of my pet peaves about the "community" is that many think that just because they have a keyboard in front of them they can be as ignorant or inappropriate as they want.  I suppose they can, but just not here.  The minute people start calling one another names or other such nonsense that you wouldn't do in person - that's when I get torqued.  There are people who read what I write and have been here for a long time - people with whom I fundamentally disagree on many, many things.  But the fact that we disagree never devolves into some mud-slinging, name-calling, juvenile catfight.  There's a way to disagree in a respectful way, and I certainly invite people to share how they feel about things because my opinion is simply that - my opinion.  But anyone who knows me recognizes that I'm more than capable of setting, keeping, and enforcing boundaries.

As for the birth certificate thing - I stand by what I said.  I didn't need to share that.  But I did.  In fact, I'll go a step further.  In my way of thinking, a birth certificate is different than other identity documents.  I fully support a person's right to get their driver's license changed, and their passport changed, and any number of other legal documents changed with a letter.  I'm very much supportive of the medical necessity and insurability of medical procedures.  Those things have been central to much of the advocacy work I've done over the last ten years and I'm comfortable that my words are matched by my actions.  But a birth certificate is different.  To go back and correct something that documents an event that happened in the past involves a higher standard to me.  It just does.  A more constructive discussion would be to work with the state to recognize more lenient medical procedures as the standard, like an orchi or top surgery.  But to have the state change it just because you've got a letter from a psychologist saying so isn't something I'm going to advocate.

I would never actively oppose those who push states to more progressive policies the way that the ACLU is pushing Illinois, but frankly my main point was that I think that energy is better spent working with states that won't allow ANY changes to get more progressive policies, not attacking states that already have something in place that's near the top of the deck regardless of whether it's perfect or not.  Agree or disagree - that doesn't change my opinion.  It doesn't make my opinion right but guess what - opinions don't need to be right.

I'll go even a step further.  The ACLU lawsuit there is a mess and seems more like opportunism to this humble observer than anything.  The ACLU stepped all over the toes of the local Trans group who had been working with the state on changing the policy:

Not all in the transgender community support the ACLU lawsuit, however. Following the ACLU announcement, Illinois Gender Advocates (IGA) released a statement of non-support for the lawsuit.

IGA had been working with IDPH on amending the proposed policy.

"We are dismayed that the ACLU has chosen to independently interject itself into the process, in such a confrontational and non-productive manner," the IGA statement read.

Candice Hart, the president of IGA, told Windy City Times that she thought IGA was just two to three months from coming to an agreement on the policy. She said that IDPH had been receptive and was working towards a better policy.

Read story here

Anyway - that's my take for what it's worth.

As for me - I spent the weekend unplugged and chillin'.  We spent the days on a boat, on a beach, in a kayak, or in the water near one of the islands along the ICW.  We walked, swam, fished, crabbed, explored, took naps, and generally took things easy.  It was wonderful.  As the sun set on Memorial day I had not one but two crunched, bruised toes (on different feet), my iPhone had fallen into the salt water and died, I had at least a dozen black fly bites, I had caught a cold (don't ask me how - it has been 90 degrees or better for over a week), I had slept on a boat and averaged 4 or 5 hours of sleep per night, and I had successfully avoided sunburn.  Except for my bottom lip.  When I woke up Tuesday it was swollen to three times its usual size.  It was nuts - I've never experienced such a thing before.  Still - it was great.
I transferred all my "stuff" into a new purse today.  I bought it in PA shortly before Christmas and it was half off the sale price.  But the main thing is that it's very pink.  I'd say it's fuchsia.  Very bright.  Larger than my satchel.  And very summery.  I know people who seem to have a purse for every occasion or day of the week.  Not me - at any point in time I have one and only one.  A purse is a very personal thing - needs to be the right size, needs to be the right shape, and have lots of pockets, and be easy to find things.  This purse has been on the sidelines waiting for it's time.  Now, it's time.

The rest of the week is full of work, healing up, nursing my cold, and taking care of any number of logistical issues.  Life is very full right now.  Just the way I like it....


Gwen said...

" A perse is a very personal thing - needs to be the right size, needs to be the right shape, and have lots of pockets, and be easy to find things. "

- Hear, Hear

sweetbrandigirl2004 said...

Donna While the changes at the OPM are steps forward they are ONly part of a Menorandum and as such are Temporary they'll be reversed as soon as the GOP take office again whenever that is.

As for Birth Certificates I agree they ARE Different and in a significant way ! They are the Most Official document a person has. They speak to ones personhood from the day of their creation and set in stone ones place in our society. That's an Issue that I feel can't be taken lightly nor can it be changed on a whim in a blasé fashion it should be done only when required by some event of equal proportion such as complete sex changing surgery.

I also agree with you on the ACLU suit in Illinois I think it's ah ugh waste of time and can only reuse;lt in bad exposures. Just like the ACLU suit in NY to change birth certificates for Individuals who haven't had surgery another I'll conceived move by the ACLU getting caught up in the Transgender Inc meme, and that communities efforts to "Force" a third gender of part male part female upon society.

sweetbrandigirl2004 said...

Oh while I agree with you that a purse needs to meet ones needs I can't say I only have one or two more like ten or twenty.....LOL

Michelle Hoffman said...

Thanks for your comments on Birth Certificates. My birth certificate and military records are the only records I have not changed. - The military records because it is low on my list of priorities. The birth certificate is harder to explain - at least it has been for me when questioned why I haven't done it. It part because it somehow feels wrong. I mom passed away many years ago and it just doesn't seem right to change it without her blessing. Your thoughts on the subject helped me to feel better about the decision not to change my birth certificate.

Someday we still need to wrestle!


Sophie Lynne said...

Maybe it's just me, but we have bigger foes to fight.

I'm guessing that some just need that paper changed to feel that all is well for them, and that's fine, but when we as a group still have so few rights, it's just not the priority.

But what do i know. I've had NO surgeries. ;)

Anonymous said...