Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mainstreaming

The Chaz Effect continues.

There's an entry on a Christian blog worth reading (read it here).

Kieth Ablow continues his heightening hysteria over Chaz on Bill O'Reilly the other night (details here). 

GLAAD provided an astute Op/Ed response (read it here).  One paragraph particularly articulates how I feel:
Dr. Ablow is using his medical credentials as a cover for espousing discrimination against transgender people. As Americans get to know and understand Chaz Bono, they are learning that transgender people can lead happy, healthy lives and deserve to be treated with the same dignity as anyone else. By suggesting that they should live in the shadows, instead of allowing them to celebrate living their lives authentically, Dr. Ablow does a disservice to his profession by promoting harm instead of health.

There's an article on Salon.com that articulates some of this very well (read it here).  Here are some snippets:
Last fall, it was all about Bristol Palin, and whether she was being ballot stuffed by Tea Party fanatics. Last spring, it was Kirstie Alley, and her dramatic, week by week weight loss. Now, the big story is whether a person who was born a female should be hoofing it up as a dude. Once again, a televised ballroom dancing competition is the most radical, divisive, hot-button show in America.
They go on to explain the ruckus that Chaz's participation is causing:
The man at the center of the dance floor, meanwhile, seems surprised at the fuss. Appearing on "Good Morning America" Tuesday, Bono suggested critics "Watch the show and decide after that. It's a dancing show. I'm not there talking about anything other than dancing." But he added, "I think it's going to have a really positive impact. I know that if, when I was growing up, I would have seen someone like me on a show like this, it would have made all the difference in the world in my life."

It is just a dancing show. It is also, its participants know, an opportunity to make a statement. A year ago, in the heartbreaking wake of a rash of suicides by gay teens, Margaret Cho donned a rainbow dress and shimmied to "Copacabana" in the name of pride. "Dancing With the Stars" is light entertainment but it's also, quite clearly, a powerful barometer of the values that unite and divide us. That's what makes it fascinating, the way it plays out our national mood in three-quarter time.

While nobody is going to see Bono do the cha-cha and suddenly decide to swap gender, it's possible that viewers out there who feel alone or confused may see him and realize they're not alone. Others might get the chance to learn that being yourself isn't necessarily being who you were born. Still others might just enjoy watching individuals of different ages, orientations and abilities shaking their groove things. But if there's one thing the show has already proven over the years, it's that being a winner has absolutely nothing to do with going backward in high heels.

It's that last paragraph that's so important. I realize that some who read my blog, for some reason I still can't for the life of me fathom, seem to percieve Chaz's participation there as a negative thing. We all have our opinions and I've been consistently clear in mine. But what it is doing cannot be underestimated.

My neighbor who knows about my situation was talking about it. I went in to my doctor's office this morning and they were talking about it. It's everywhere. And the words I've been hearing are universally supportive. Except, of course, for Keith Ablow and some who choose to comment here. But in the bigger picture exactly what Ablow talks about - the "mainstreaming of transgender" - is happening in ways that neither you nor I nor activists nor years of trying to humanize ourselves one person at a time could do.

For years I've half-joked that the trans community hasn't had it's "Will and Grace" moment yet. It hadn't had something that could make the word "transgender" not-so-scary to mainstream America. We've been slowly chipping away at walls that prevent inclusion in any number of aspects of life where others participate so why can't we?

Does Chaz reflect everyone? Of course not. But does what he's doing affect us? You bet your butt it does. And as with most things I don't think the true impact of all of this will truly be known until it can be considered in the context of time.

Last year at this time Chaz was at SCC. He is an affable, fun, very comfortable guy and the fact that he was surrounded by the largest trans conference didn't seem to affect him at all.

SCC is happening this weekend and it's the first year I'll miss the whole thing since 2002, I think. It's happening in conjunction with the WPATH conference, and with the GLMA (Gay and Lesbian Medical Association) Conference.  I'll miss hanging out in the bar, but I'll be in Denver....

The big news that will be coming out of WPATH is that Jamison Green is taking over the role as President.  I can't think of anyone more qualified or more perfect for the role.  But what many don't know yet is that the new/revised Standards of Care (Version 7) will be launched during a session on Monday.  Expect it to be a significant change from previous versions.  And, expect it to have multiple tracks - not all of which involve surgical interventions.

As for me - my biggest headache right now is finding a dog-sitter for Maggie.  The places I usually go are filled so the evening will be spent getting creative.  I've had some job-related tumult so I'm hoping that's in the past for now.  I'm on Day 4 of Atkins and I've lost 4 pounds - still feeling good about it. 

BTW: I've had a few people express concern that I'm getting too skinny.  I assure you, with all the intense working out I'm doing to prepare for my wrestling insanity I'm neither too skinny nor unhealthy.  I don't have much body fat right now - I'll agree with that.  But unfortunately one of the first places that weight falls away from when I get to this point is my face and my butt.  I don't want a smaller butt.  However when it comes to other "parts" I'm as healthy as healthy can be.  Here's a quick pic I took yesterday for my GFF.  She liked it.  :)


Tomorrow at this time I'll be on a plane for Denver.  If you're anywhere nearby they've scheduled a Meet and Greet event at Hamburger Mary's starting at 7:30.  The good news is that hamburgers are protein and I'll be hungry by then so I see a patty or two in my future.  The best part of all of that is (a) it's ok according to my "diet" and (b) it's working.  :)

2 comments:

Mae West said...

I'm sorry about your job-related tumult and hope that it passes quickly! The picture is really nice, you have great looking arms! Have a safe trip to Denver and enjoy your hamburger patties!

Sophie Lynne said...

I hope Denver is ready for you! ;)

Have a great trip!

As for Ablow: he is beneath contempt. Should have his licence pulled.