Sunday, October 9, 2011

Change in the Air

Change is good.  I keep telling that to myself all the time.  And while I realize that not ALL change is good  it's one of those oxymorons that the only constant IS Change.  Everything changes, and the more comfortable someone is with that reality the easier they can integrate it into their lives.

Change is a topic I've considered for a long time, and this coming week is an other chapter in my ongoing narrative of change.  I've had some significant changes lately - welcome, amazing, wonderful changes - that have opened the door to even more change.....

The weather here has gone thru 2 stages of change from summer to fall.  The first was typical warm summer weather.  These last ten days have been amazing - cooler, sunny, just incredible.  But yesterday the wind started blowing from offshore and a storm that's apparently sitting off Florida is getting ready to drench us all week long.  I'm enjoying the death throes of summer here while I can.

October is the month for the Fall Tour of Homes and Gardens throughout historic downtown Charleston.  Different areas of the cities provide tours, historic discussions, and other things throughout the month.  The house I'm living in was the inspiration for what eventually became the Gershwin musical "Porgy and Bess", and iconic Charleston landscape architect Loutrel Briggs lived here in the early 1900's so groups of tourists are always stopping by, taking photos, or trying to peer thru the iron gates at the garden.  The history of this complex of 3 buildings indicates that it was once a tenement and housed over 100 people - something I can't for the life of me imagine.

The reason I mention any of this is that the gardens of my house were open as part of the tour yesterday so there was a long line of people streaming through all afternoon long.  Thankfully the weather was still pretty nice so the musicians and all the people didn't have to protect themselves from rain.  Maggie watched it all with kind of a quizzical look - we don't usually have much traffic through here....

Visitors to my yard as part of Charleston Home & Garden Tour

On other topics...

I like caustic comedian Lewis Black.  I find him funny, and his direct tell-it-like-it-is approach to controversial topics can sometimes make me laugh out loud.  His recent take on the Chaz Bono DWTS uproar was one of them (he starts talking about Chaz 3:00 into the clip):

Too funny, and too true.

The Australian High Court recently rendered a decision that will reverberate.
In what may well turn out to be one of the most imperative but controversial judgments made by the Australian High Court of late, the court has on Thursday released its verdict that it is not mandatory for transsexuals, who are looking for official gender reassignment, to undergo painful and expensive reproductive organ operation so as to gain recognition as male or female.

Read it here.

This topic continues to inflame passions both outside and inside the community, but the trend towards social recognition that gender is more than simply physical is a force that continues to move in a progressive direction and no amount of name-calling, whining, or shouting will change that.  The beauty of these kinds of decisions is that it sets not only social precedents but legal precedents as well which takes elements of "opinion" out of the discussion in those forums.  The Court articulated in a single sentence how I've felt on the topic for a long time:
"Social recognition of a person's gender does not require knowledge of a person's remnant sexual organs", read the verdict released by the Australian High Court.

In another of these social visibility opportunities, ESPN aired a documentary on Renee Richards last week as part an ongoing film series (see short clip).

I remember when all of that was happening back in the '70s.  She's undeniably the first public person with whom I could identify as I struggled with my own situation as a high school student.  And while we've come a long way in so many areas recent events indicate that the intersection of gender and athletics remains a dangerous minefield.

As an athlete I've made a number of friends in the community with others who experience similar challenges.  Several of us compete at national or international levels so rules of eligibility are important for us.  And whereas I think several governing bodies have guidelines on these things that doesn't change the backroom grumbling that I'm sure goes on.  One sport actually changed their rules to prevent a trans competitor from participating until a law suit forced them to change it back...

One friend recently competed and won a gold medal in Sr. Women's Fencing (news here).  Congratulations to her, not only for her achievement but for having the courage to follow her path.

I own the domain name "".  When I got it a couple of years ago I envisioned a sort of "Transsexual Woman's Successes" site similar to the one that Lynn Conway started years ago.  It would provide visibility to how many of us there are, resources, and other content of interest.  Knowing that you're not alone is a tremendously empowering thing - Lord don't I know.  Anyway, it's another project I've had on the sidelines for a while and hope to get something there over the next few months.  If you'd like to be included - please let me know...

A couple of people have asked about brief mention of a new body "adornment".  When I turned 50 I got the tattoo on my leg and I'm still very happy with that.  The most recent "upgrade" is something I've thought about for a while but only recently got the nerve to do.  I got a small nose piercing....

I'm liking it.  Special thanks go to Trace for holding my hands through the piercing.  That helped A LOT!!  :)

President Obama spoke at the HRC National Dinner in DC a couple of weeks ago.  He recognized that we've got some unfinished business to do.  Specifically, there's the passage of an inclusive ENDA.  And there's the repeal of DOMA.  Both are very important to me as (a) I need and expect to be able to keep my job regardless of any particular part of my past and (b) I very much expect to be married again - to a woman - so gaining Federal legal recognition is more than simply symbolic.  As the elections ramp up the tendency to avoid controversial legislation make getting these things done sooner rather than later becomes more critical.

Would we even have been having these discussions just a few years ago?


sweetbrandigirl2004 said...

Hi Donna I think that while the tread with State and Government agencies may being moving toward a more progressive opinions concerning what gender someone is, you can't legalize public opinion. You can have all the governments and state agencies stamping all the Fs and Ms depending on which way someone is going on whatever documents you want but that won't make a hill of beans to people on the street they're going to see someone how they see them and if they 6' 1" with broad shoulders and a deep voice and some what masculine looking then they're going to be seen a man dressed as a women thats just how it is and no amount of laws are going to change that. I personally don't agreed with changing documents until someone has had surgery I see it as falsifying documentation and just creating more problems. It's buying into the fantasy that some people have concerning their gender and allowing them to play dress up outside their home. They can put whatever they want on a birth certificate or drivers license "F" or "M" and dress however they choose but whats underneath is where the proof is in the pudding and when the clothes come off then what sex/gender ones really is will be seen... period ! My Two Cents

Mae West said...

Love the nose ornament!

4rx said...

You have an amazing garden and I also agree with Mae West, the nose ornament is very cool.