Some of the things that Charleston is known for are scenery, history, climate, and a unique Low Country culture. Any list of allures, however, would be incomplete if it didn't include food.
Charleston is fortunate to have a significant number of wonderful restaurants. From local delicacies seafood delicacies like flounder or shrimp right off the boat to she-crab soup, to grits - the cuisine here ranges from fairly simple to very fou-fou and elegant. I'm only a little embarrassed to admit that one of my weekly "habits" is half-price burger night at one of the local pubs.
The reason I mention this here is that we're in the middle of something called "Charleston Restaurant Week". It's actually more than a week - it's 11 days - and it's a city wide opportunity to sample the broad range of eateries that the area has to offer. Participating restaurants include several of the higher end places who prepare special menus of 3-course meals for $20, $30, or $40. Given my budget and my diet I have done an excellent job of avoiding these temptations, but tonight I am meeting a friend at one local place I particularly like. I've got reservations at another over the weekend, and may try to squeeze in a 3rd. What can I say - I'm only human.....
In some ways today feels like the last day of summer here. It's supposed to get to 90 degrees, but the Jet Stream is apparently going to dip down and send some much cooler, unsettled air our way for the next week or more. It'll struggle to get out of the 70's and parts of it may be wet. I'm still planning to do my usual long bike-ride, and I'm hoping to be able to spend some time in the kayak, but it's the first weekend in a long time that I've had to plan around potential weather considerations.
Dr. Jillian Weiss posted an article on Bilerico recently to comment about a recent reminder that Don't Ask Don't Tell doesn't apply to trans men and women in the military, and is still grounds for discharge (read it here). As with most things, the words of what that really means doesn't begin to communicate the real-life implications of what that means.
One of the reasons that I stay actively involved in trans rights and trans visibility is that it isn't just a cause. It's not an "identity" either. It's personal. When you've gone to vigils for young trans-people who have been brutally murdered and met their families it's not something abstract, it's real and tangible and emotional. When you're trying to console someone who has just been outed and lost their job, been kicked out of their house, and is absolutely terrified it's not simply sitting safely behind a keyboard and armchair-quarterbacking from the sidelines. It's personal, because we've been there too. And when it comes to serving in the military, my own personal experience with a friend who served openly as trans ended in suicide because of the pressures involved.
MJ had been rejected by family as a teen. MJ loved photography, and was hoping to publish two books. MJ found passion in nursing. And one of the last emails MJ sent to a small group of friends from time to time ended with, "In all seriousness to everyone; please take care and enjoy life." Hey MJ - I'm doing my best.
I wrote in my last post that the world can still be a brutal place, and Lord knows it can. That's why it's important to re-energize when we can, to enjoy the simple pleasures that come our way, and to actually like ourselves when we go to bed each night. But things in our lives can provide vivid reminders of why we're here. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm very clear on that for me. Why? Because it's more than words. It's real, and it has a face, and it's personal.