Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The last few days.

I wrote this on Saturday but never posted it.  I'll share "old" stuff before getting to new...

Saturday November 26, 2011

6:05 am
This morning was the second early-early morning in a row. Yesterday we set the alarm to get up and go shopping. Today, I had to get up, finish packing, and get to the airport for my 7am flight. I’m sitting at the gate waiting as I type this.

The airport isn’t crazed yet here in Dallas. A couple of people have run by me in the last couple of minutes, obviously late, and their reactions have been interesting to watch. One had a sudden, “Oh sh*t” moment when he realized that his plane was gone. The other tentatively approached her gate and had one of those “Thank G*d!” rushes as she realized it had been boarded, but was still at the gate. Sometimes there’s a fine line between “Oh sh*t “and “Thank G*d”. In this case, it was a matter of minutes.

The trip has been very enjoyable. Picture perfect, actually. And just as each Thanksgiving is memorable for some reason this will be memorable because of its comfort. And fun. I had fun.

The travel has been relatively painless. The time with my mom was great. She had her little list of things that she needed done (ie take her winter clothes out of one closet and move them to another) and as always I’m happy to be able to help just as I think she’s happy to still be able to “mom” me. I had a pair of pants with a missing stitch that she fixed. See – I have my own little list too. ☺

There were actually three of us around for most of the last few days. Mom, me, and Jamy. I’ve known Jamy for a number of years and at one point she actually livied in my mom’s in-law apartment. She has become like extended family in recent years after her own mother rejected her . She transitioned a number of years ago and her mother has never been accepting of her so my mom has become kind of a pseudo-mom for her. As I said – I think my mom still enjoys “momming” and that includes Jamy. One of the morals of all of this is that family isn’t always genetic – you can build family pretty much anywhere.

Several of the larger retail chains opened at Midnight on Black Friday. When my alarm went off at 4:45 yesterday I thought THAT was friggin’ early. But as with other years I’ve done this half the fun of it is in the experience of it all. It’s hard to express that in words to someone who has no appreciation for it, but for others who were similarly entertained early yesterday it makes perfect sense.

My main targets yesterday were shoes and clothes. In my new role I’ll be meeting with stakeholders so there’s a higher level of “style” involved than simply sitting in an office working with technical people. So yesterday’s excursion was all about clothes and shoes, and I’d have to say that it was wonderfully successful in both regards. Really.

Macy’s. The Gap. DSW Shoe Warehouse. Nordstrom Rack. Forever 21. All of them got some of my $$$ lovin’ yesterday and I’m feeling like I got smokin’ deals in return so it was all win/win. The funny thing is that I bought so much I had to buy a new suitcase to lug it all home, which was also a Black Friday special buy.

We were going from 6am until almost 5 in the afternoon and it was uniformly fun. We had a blast. Then it was time for leftover turkey, pie, chilling, and bed.

Monday November 28, 2011

It's raining outside.  I can hear it on the window.  I was just thinking that I can't remember the last time I was in rain.  And the next week is supposed to be sunny, but cooler.  Fine by me.  Because cooler is still in the 60's - not the teens or twenties or even thirties.

Today has been one long day.  I was up at 4, at work by 6, spent 3+ frustrating but ultimately successful at the DMV registering my car, took some training courses, and tried to go for a run at the gym afterwards but ended up bagging it due to a stitch in my side.  I'm chillaxing before turning out the light and just calling it a day.

One news story that I can't let pass without comment is the announcement today that Barney Frank will not seek re-election in 2012 (story here).  I realize that there are people that hold him in very high esteem, and will spend the time between now and then falling all over themselves singing his praises.  Try as hard as I might, I'm not one of those people.

Legacy. I will forever remember him as the guy who accidentally did the trans community a huge favor when he dissed us over ENDA because it helped us to find our voice.  It forced the broader community to consider the line between LGB and T in a new way and the outcome was transformative.  So rather than holding a grudge in an ironic way I suppose I should thank him.  But the things I'm thanking him for are by-products and back-fires of his fatally flawed, short-sighted, spineless strategy and his universe-sized sense of ego.

NCTE issued a press release honoring him already (read it here). 

"While the relationship between Congressman Frank and transgender people has not always been smooth, the truth is that he has pushed very hard for trans rights in Congress and the administration over the last few years."
Hasn't been smooth?  That's an understatement.  It hasn't been smooth, and in my opinion it's still not smooth nor will it be any time between now and doomsday despite the hiring of Diego Sanchez to his staff.  I suppose they need to play well with others since they're a political organization and Barney is big fish in that pond, but I for one will not be singing his praises any time soon.

Tuesday November 29, 2011

My sleep patterns are all messed up.  I'm not quite sure why, and I'm not feeling too overly tired yet, but I woke up at 2 something after less than 4 hours of sleep.  By 3 I realized I wasn't going to fall asleep again so I got up, got ready for work, and got out the door.  I think part of it is simply that I'm just enjoying what I'm doing career-wise right now and without other significant distractions I'm throwing myself into it.  It feels a little like when I first started at Dell over ten years ago.  Anyway - good, positive energy flowing there and I hope it continues.

Despite a number of competing priorities I'm finding that I'm doing well focusing right now.  I'm being purposely vague on a number of details and I don't expect to fill in the blanks any time soon.  But as I look at various scenarios of how things might play out over the next few weeks I'm hopeful in a number of ways.

I got on the scale to see the damage I did to myself with all the eating over Thanksgiving and was pleasantly surprised to see that I'm exactly where I want to be.  Phew.  I've been trying on slacks over the past few days and although I rarely weigh myself I generally gauge things based on how my pants fit.  I'm still generally a size 4 which is where I want to stay. 

That's it for now.  The last few days have been busy but productive, generally good, and very full.  Over the next couple of weeks I've got a quick cross-country trip planned, I've got the CNN event in Atlanta, I've got the US National Wrestling Championships in Dallas, and I've got lots to do on the home front.  As usual - I don't expect things to slow down any time soon.  And I'm ok with that.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crazy, or just crazed?

I'll be the first to admit it.  I'm crazy.

What prompts me to share this about myself?  Well, first of all, it's probably no secret.  Crazy is simply an altered state of mind sometimes.

I'm crazy because my beloved Buffalo Bills have turned a once promising season into a train-wreck (see an oh-so-true story here).  Again.  And I can't help but wonder if they had tanked from week one as expected whether it would be less disappointing.  But in a line from Avatar, "Eventually, you've got to wake up".  And we did.  To a nightmare.

The craziness is that my team is my team, thirty years ago, twenty years, ago ten years ago, today, and for however long I know who I am.  I can't help it.  It's not a choice, believe me, because I'd much rather a follow a team that actually won Super Bowls once in a while.  But we don't.  And, they're still my team.

I'm nothing if not loyal.  Or crazy.

More specifically, though, I'm crazy because I'll be at an airport tomorrow.  On the busiest travel day of the year (42.5 million of us will be traveling for Thanksgiving!) I'll be flying to Dallas to spend Thanksgiving with my mom.  Then, I'll do it in reverse over the weekend.  If that's not crazy I don't know what is.  At least I'm not alone (there are 42.5 million of us), and for others who may be in the same pickle you might want to take a look at this T-Day Travel Survival Guide.

But as I've said in years past Thanksgiving is a special Holiday for me.  It is unique each year because it truly does provide time to pause and give thanks.  And I do.

It's a time for family, and with my mom at 82 years old I'm thankful for every Thanksgiving we get to spend together.  For her I'm willing to brave airports, and crazed people, and more general travel upheaval.  Why?  Because its' my mom, because I'm crazy, and...I'm nothing if not loyal.  And I'm consistent.

This has been a whirlwind week.  I've started a new project so I'm buried deep under the weight of on-boarding.  I'm finishing up some loose ends, while at the same time trying to arrange other complicated logistics.  It's been a good week, though, and I hope it continues as such.

Tonight the small group that's my workgroup (3 of us) went out for Happy Hour.  It was our first opportunity to bond outside of the 10 hours a day we spend looking at each other across our desks.  Plus alcohol is a wonderful team builder and/or social lubricant.

We've been filling out background check forms, taking online training courses, and generally coming up to speed very quickly - we've all been hired specifically for this monster project.  And after tonight's time together I can honestly say we're a pretty cool group and I'm looking forward to our working together.  I like our dynamics...

But back to the crazy thing....Last year I drove down to Charleston from Harrisburg with a turkey in my trunk.  I left the house at 4am in hopes of getting there in time to cook, and then eat.  I did.  I can say without hesitation that I'd much rather be in the air over the next few days than in a car.  But I may find myself choking on those words by the time I get back.  I hope not.

I have a couple of interesting things to share tonight before I get to bed...

One is an intriguing study that finds that Trans workers who are "Out" at work have higher overall job satisfaction (see details here).

Another is the recent publication of a new book titled "The Lives of Transgender People" (see story here).  I remember a time when there were no books at all about the lives of trans people - period.  That's one of the reasons I published mine, because it would have been so helpful for me at the time.  And although I haven't read this book I think it's important to have these kinds of mainstream opportunities to share.  Columbia University Press published this book, and that's the same publisher who published my dads last books.  Getting that kind of recognition from an academic press isn't easy - Lord don't I know - so although I admittedly don't read much, I'm intrigued.

And with that - I'll wish anyone and everyone who somehow happens to read what I share here a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving.  May you be safe, be happy, and be at peace - wherever you are.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


I've gotten pretty good at guessing the weight of my big red suitcase when it's full.  There was a time when I actually weighed it to make sure it wasn't over 50 pounds.  Now, I've got a fair sense of what 50 pounds feels like.  When I went to the airport today I guessed that it weighed 49 pounds and it weighed exactly 50.  Phew.

I didn't make it to the NGLCC Dinner on Friday night.  The day felt like the culmination of my cold and by the time late afternoon rolled around I was tired and achy and just couldn't imagine having to go out, or to inflict my germs on others.  So I stayed home, had some Nyquil, and fell into a stupor well before 11pm.  I've been feeling gradually better, but it's still holding on.

This weekend the Transgender Day of Remembrance will be recognized at services around the country, and around the world.  It continues to pain me that the single day of the year that brings us and our allies together is a day that's dedicated to the memory of our dead.  But it's a somber reminder that the world in which we live is still a very difficult, dangerous place for those who are different (see list of 2011 dead here).

Beyond each name, each of these people was a life.  A living, breathing person whose time on earth was cut short because someone brutalized them and took that life.  But they didn't take their personhood, nor did they take their identity.  So coming together and reading these names and hearing these stories needs to be as much a celebration of their authenticity as an opportunity to grieve and mourn.

Being part of these events often provokes a number of strong emotional responses.  Anger.  Sadness.  Confusion as to how horrific things like this can happen.  But the hope is that these emotions can become focused in productive ways to change the world, not to simply accept it as it is.

Just this past week a trans woman was shot and killed on the street in Hollywood CA (story here) and a burned, dismembered body that had been sitting in the Detroit morgue for 3 weeks was identified as that of a 19-year old transgender teen (story here).  The carnage continues.  But so, too, does our resolve to hold those who do these crimes accountable, to confront the reasons they happen, and to ensure that the memory of our dead endures.

For many, this is a time of community.  Events that I've attended through the years have been a wonderful mix of trans people of all kinds and ages, and our allies.  But I hope none of us is naive enough to believe that coming together once a year to mourn is enough.  Indeed, there's an article in Huffington that says it better than I could (read entire article):
In marking this TDOR, it is time for leaders in the LGB communities to admit that they need to do more. Transgender individuals are a small minority of the LGBT community but are also the ones who need the most support this day and age. I ask you to imagine being a transwoman walking down the street and how many hateful epithets you would have to tolerate in order to pick up a gallon of milk or visit a doctor's office.

Or imagine a child at 13 or 14 being disowned and having no safe space to turn to -- no school, no shelters, and no public services ready or willing to take her in except for law enforcement, who will many times pick up young transwomen on suspicion of prostitution, whether there is valid evidence or not.

Or imagine a 19-year-old girl being dropped off at an acquaintance's home by a taxi on a Sunday night and finding three men on the lawn waiting for her. Imagine them kidnapping, torturing, decapitating, dismembering and burning her alive for sport, as young, raucous boys would to a Barbie doll. Imagine them chucking her torso on the side of a highway, with absolutely no regret or sense of immorality. Imagine being the mother called into the morgue to identify a defiled torso as your daughter. Swallow that bitter pill of reality and tell me that marriage is the most important issue for the LGBT community in 2011. For several in the transgender community, it might as well be 1969 all over again, because nothing has changed for them.

Yet there are many organizations that espouse to support the transgender community, but really what they are doing is splitting hairs. In light of Shelley Hilliard's charred torso, the actual amount of money and human resources that most LGBT organizations devote to transgender services is insulting.
It's all true.  And that, too, needs to change.  But it's not going to change by itself....

Last year at this time I was in Harrisburg PA where we held a candlelight vigil on the steps of the Capital.  The year before I was at Grand Valley State University in Michigan where we held a similar event on a similarly chilly evening.  I'd have to go back into my blog archives to figure out where I was the year before that.  In 2003 I was in DC and a small group of us met on the freezing cold steps of the US Capitol Building.

At DOR 2003

This year I'm traveling.  I'm in a hotel.  And some things in my life are very much in flux right now.  But I do not and will not forget - not simply today but throughout the year - that any one of us could be memorialized next year, or the year after that, or the year after that.  As long as we live in a culture that stigmatizes us, demonizes us, dehumanizes us, and targets us - we're all at risk. But we're not hiding, going away, or falling silent.  Because to do so would be to admit that those who violate us have won.

But they haven't.  And, they won't.

Friday, November 18, 2011

What Next

Today is the first day I've woken up in quite a while and not had something pressing to do.  Good thing, too, because my cold doesn't seem to want to stop and I think I was awake and tossing last night as much as I was in some level of sleep.  My Nyquil stupor lasted until noon.

Today is a day of rest, and hopefully of healing up.  I've got a ticket to the NGLCC National Dinner in DC tonight but the rational voice in my head tells me I need to stay home and get some rest, not out gettin' fancy.  I'd really like to see friends that will be there, but the next week will be a crazy one so I need to be careful.

I'm at another of those interesting places in life.  Competing options but no clear decisions.  Chapters thought closed becoming open again, and others that seemed to be just beginning now seemingly delayed or abridged or just plain cancelled.  And as I consider the options in front of me I can't shake the practical realities involved.

When I arrived here last weekend I was unsure of where I'd go when the week was over.  There were a number of options and considerations that made things complicated.  But as the week has passed those decisions have been made - for better or for worse - so although there are a myriad of things I don't know right now there are some things that I do.

What I do know is that I'm beginning some new work on Monday.  It's a long-term project that I had been working on, that came to fruition late in the game, but other considerations sidetracked things for a bit.  After some serious contemplation and soul-searching I've decided that I'm going to give it a chance.  I also expect to go to Dallas to spend Thanksgiving with my mom.  It's an important Family day and we'll spend it together.  Other than that - I dunno.  But I'm ok with that.

I had a planning meeting today with the producer from CNN who has been arranging the CNN Dialogues event in Atlanta.  It's time to arrange travel and I had to make my best guess as to where I'll be coming from and where I'll want/need to go when it's done.  Anyway - those decisions are made and we'll see how things unfold.

I'm also reflecting on what a good week this was.  It was truly a joy to be involved in the various efforts that I did this week and I'm both happy and relieved that my voice and my energy both seemed to last despite this nagging cold.  Thanks to everyone who attended and provided good, positive energy.  That helped.

I have come to recognize how important a driving force that is in my world....Positive Energy.  As much as anything physical or tangible it's something I feel, something I need, something that attracts me, something that empowers me.  I like to think I have some and that I share some, but I also need it in others especially when I'm running low on it myself.  It's like a fuel and although I realize that this sounds like a bunch of metaphysical hooey it's something very clear to me.

In something more concrete, the US Dept. of Justice issued a statement today recognizing the Transgender Day of Remembrance (see it here).  I've seen several people who have referred to this as "amazing", and I'll add my voice to that chorus.  But being here in DC this week, working at the levels that I have and gauging the level of interest and involvement that there is, I guess I shouldn't be so surprised.

Next week I'll be buried in new "stuff".  As for now - it's time to relax for a change.  Then, what next.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quite the week

In the midst of all this coming and going I caught a cold.  I'm staying with a friend who has a cold but, thankfully, my flavor of cold is significantly milder than her flavor of cold.  She's coughing, has a nose running like a faucet, and has had a fever of 102.  The main issue with my own cold is a raw, sore throat.  And I'm just feeling worn down.  But given enough cough drops and Tylenol it's far from a show-stopper.

Today's talk at the DOI was very probably in the nicest location I've even spoken in.  There's an 800 seat auditorium just off the entrance to the building that President Obama used for the Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal Signing Ceremony.  There was an interpretor, two big video cameras - very impressive.  They taped the talk so I'll be interested to see the results.

Yesterday's training sessions to support a transitioning employee there were equally as successful, and the surroundings were no less historic.  We were in the 7th floor Penthouse at the DOI, and it was the room where FDR used to give his "Fireside Chats"  We got a brief tour of the room that used to hold all the sound equipment - if walls could talk that room could certainly tell quite the story.  Anyway, it's quite the amazing building.

And, Tuesday night's event at Georgetown was successful as well (story here).  All things considered, this has been quite the week.

This has been quite a week in several aspects of the trans world, as well.  Massachusetts passed a state-wide anti-discrimination law through both houses (story here).   And as I mentioned last week yesterday's Anderson Cooper daytime talk show was devoted to the topic of trans kids (story here).

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

All things considered, it has been quite the week.

Now - time for a nap.  I've earned one.  :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

So worthwhile

This will be a short post.  It's almost midnight, and I'm dead tired.

I'm staying with friends in Northern Virginia for a week of events in the Washington DC area.  I took the train here on Saturday - very pleasant, and far more autumn color than I expected.  Sunday was a "calm before the storm" day.  And yesterday was - well - the start of the storm.

I've got a number of full days this week.  Yesterday I did 2 training events to support an employee transitioning at the US Geological Survey.  Today I gave two different talks at Georgetown University, and had a planning meeting of the Dept. of the Interior.

Tomorrow I do an entire day of training with various groups to support an employee transitioning at the DOI. And on Thursday I do an event to which all Federal Employees are being invited.  I hope that both my voice and energy can last that long.

Half of the craziness is about trying to get from place to place where I need to be.  Today I was on trains, busses, cabs, a couple of miles of walking ---- it's a good thing it never started raining.  But somehow, it all works out.  And if I didn't have a cold at the beginning of the week I'll have a cold bu the end of the week because people are coughing all over the place.  Tis the Season, I suppose.  And although the weather has been unseasonably warm over the past days it has already started raining and that changes some of the dynamics.

These kinds of opportunities are huge.  I'm thrilled to be an active participant in things so worthwhile.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lots of Ones

Today is 11-11-11.  I put a little video up on FB to commemorate the day.  I was actually planning to do it at 1:11 but got a phone call so it was a little late.  Oh well. 

I have been in Charleston all week and it seems that the pace of things has been pretty brisk.  Between work, taking care of various loose ends, preparing for some stuff I'm doing next week, working out a couple of times, meeting a couple of friends for dins, and general running around the days have flown by.  And since my time zone clock is all messed up I haven't been sleeping well, which actually makes the day more productive because there's just more time.

I'm a big believer in having options.  I've got a number of significant options in my world right now and have been weighing them - it hasn't been easy.  I even called my mom the other night to discuss with her.  I think she enjoyed momming me - it's not often that I call her and really want her opinion on things.  And these are not small things...these are pretty big things.

Anyway - nothing has been settled yet because I'm still weighing options and haven't talked with everyone I need to talk with.  But I suppose it's better to have options than to not.

I'll be on a train all day tomorrow.  It's a 10 hour trip from here to DC on Amtrak and costs $82 with AAA discount.  Not bad.  I'd pay that much any day to avoid having to deal with the I-95 craziness around DC, and the thought of sitting in a big chair with AC power watching a movie or two is much more pleasant than trying to fight crowds at the airport.  The weather up and down the east coast this weekend is shaping up as very pleasant late fall weather, with sun, so I truly can't complain.

I'm going to DC for several reasons.  On Monday I'm doing a trainnig for a government agency for an employee transitioning there.  On Tuesday I'm speaking at Georgetown University (link here), and there are a couple of planning meetings.  I'd love to be able to go to the NCTE event but schedules won't allow it.

Wednesday and Thursday I'll be doing trainings all day at another agency for another employee who will be transitioning.  And Friday - well, that hasn't filled up yet.  We'll see how it goes.  :)

That's a condensed list of stuff going on in my world right now.  Thankfully - I'm ok with it all.  For now.

Off to the gym.  I need to get a good run in before being cooped up in a train all day tomorrow.  Nothing but fun.  :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Found Again

I don't have much Jewelry.  I suppose it has never been all that important to me.  I've got a few necklaces (most of which I bought for myself), less than a dozen pair of earrings, some bracelets, and a few rings (all of which I bought for myself).  But if you look at photos of me or see me in person you'll realize I generally wear the same few things most of the time. 

One of my rings, in particular, has special meaning.  It's a diamond ring I bought a couple of years ago to replace one that had been given to me on my 50th birthday and had been stolen.  There's a bunch of back-story to it that I won't go into here, but in the end I decided to replace it and spent quite a bit of time looking for something that I liked, could afford, and "felt" good.  Ultimately, I found it.

When I travel I typically put my jewelry in my luggage.  But a year ago I was getting ready to go somewhere and decided to put this particular ring someplace different just in case someone ended up looking thru my luggage or something.  Anyway - I forgot about it until a few weeks later but by then I'd forgotten where this "someplace different" was.  So, although I've looked futiley for it I couldn't for the life of me find it.  Until yesterday.  It was in one of the pouches of a computer carrying case.  Go figure.  Anyway - I'm both relieved and happy, and my finger is glad to have it back as well.

I'm tired. I'm back in Charleston as I type this and I'd be glad to be back if the trip to get here wasn't so long and most of what I have to accomplish this week wasn't so much drudgery.

I suppose I should qualify things - when I left here last month and drove 2,200 miles to Arizona - THAT was long. Bur my flight was an Award ticket so my  most reasonable options were roundabout routes at off times. The one I chose left PHX at 8:45 Monday night and headed west for 2 hours to San Francisco. I had almost an hour and half wait there before boarding the last flight out of SFO for the day - to Washington DC Dulles - leaving at 11:15.

We landed in DC at 7:00 yesterday morning (I got some sleep on the plane), and after trudging across the entire airport my 8:15 flight left Dulles for Charleston. I landed at 9:30, freshened up a bit, rented a car, and drove to work for the balance of the day. By sleepy-time last night I was beat.

I've got a busy week here.  When it's done, on Saturday, I'll take the train from here to Union Station in DC where I'll spend the balance of next week. I'm doing several days of trainings for various governmental agencies, and I'm speaking at the Georgetown University Women's Center in DC Tuesday evening.  Then, I'll head back to the desert at the end of the week.  The key in all of this is pacing, getting enough rest, and finding time to exersize.  That balances out the rest of the craziness.

Speaking of craziness....

Last week a badly worded piece of anti-bullying legislation passed in the Michigan Senate.   The legislation contained language that seemed to actually allow bullying, so long as it's based on a sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.  Needless to say, given the current climate of heightened sensitivity with regards to bullying and teen suicide the outrage over this misguided law has been building (see details here).

It's going to be the focus of Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN tonight.  And, in somewhat related news, Anderson Cooper has a daytime talk show (who knew?) and will dedicate a show to the controversial topic of trans youth sometime in the next couple of weeks.  A dream-team comprised of Mara Keisling from NCTE, surgeon Christine McGinn, and thereapist-extraordinaire Dr. Michele Angello from Philadelphia were part of the taping yesterday and from what I've heard so far it went "great". 

Speaking of contentious, in Massachussetts they've been working to pass anti-trans discrimination legislation for several years but run up agains the same set of fears (See story here).


And while I'm on the topic "visibility" , there's a Reality Show hitting the UK titled "My Transsexual Summer". I'll admit that I'm not a big fan of reality TV - actually I don't watch much TV at all - and it would be easy for this kind of thing to go into the toilet fast. But the reviews I've read are positive ones and universally highlight the broader human stories involved. (see one review here).

One review in particular (see it here) was absolutely glowing:

"...the first (I believe) reality show to concentrate solely on transgender people, is certainly one of the funniest, warmest and thought-provoking reality shows you'll see this year, and depending on whether it maintains its refreshing mix of breezy honesty, compassion and humour or descends into the traditional reality show morass of engineered feuding and all the submoronic rest of it, I might even go to bat for it being one of the year's gems in general."
I hope they can keep it going....

I can't help but think back to a time long ago when I saw a documentary narrated by Lee Remick on HBO titled "What Sex Am I".  The year was 1985 and the world was a much different place.

I can point to this particular show as one of those early eye-opening moments in my own journey.  There's a scene that begins about 2:30 into it where this younger trans-woman is at home, living with a "big sister" who has already been through it all. After seeing that - it's something I always wondered if I could achieve for myself as I knew more than I cared to admit that I really needed a mentor and a friend to get through it all. The reason I mention it here is that this latest Reality Show seems to take that to a new level.

I can't believe that was over 25 years ago. As a side note, I did some research a couple of years ago to try to find out what happened to the people in the documentary and was sad to learn that this particular girl died of AIDS in the 90's....

The bottom line in all of this is the amazing moment in time in which trans people are living.  That's not to say in any way that it's all wonderful and live is always great for us.  But I remember a time when it was neither discussed nor spoken.  I remember a time when sensational formulaic documentaries popped up a couple of times a year during ratings sweeps.  But here we are - past much of that - publicly talking about issues of substance that affect our lives.  Bullying.  Trans kids.  Takaing part in culturally relevant events.  Trans people being represented AS people first, who also happen to be some flavor of trans.  And more significant opportunities are just over the horizon and I dedicated myself a long time ago to be part of that change.

Agree with me or not - but this is a golden age.  It continues to amaze me....

Lastly for today, I took a photo of a late-afternoon dust-storm moving into the Phoenix area last week.  It has specific symbolic meaning for me at the moment.  I really don't want to go into that part now.  But I do think that the photo is kinda cool.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

My Spot

I don't think anyone give anything the read in the National Enquirer much credibility.  But a current front-page article says that Chaz Bono will die within 4 years because of liver damage associated with HRT.  He's not amused and is threatening to sue (story here).

The thing is that there is a microscopic bit of truth to these kinds of stories.  Additional stress on the liver is a by-product of extended hormone use and although there is no timetable nor any degree of certainty of adverse physical reactions it's certainly something to keep an eye on.  Every year when I do my blood work careful monitoring of liver function is simply something to be vigilant about.

In my last post I mentioned that I was getting ready to hike up Squaw Peak.  It was a beautiful day, and I was pleasantly surprised to be able to go from base to summit in 30 minutes.  That's a pretty brisk pace on a pretty steep climb, and I very much enjoyed sitting in my "spot" near the top that overlooks the entire north Valley.  It's a place to close my eyes, to clear my mind, and to re-energize my spirit.  The other thing I do that feels similarly re-energizing is to stand in the ocean.  Anyway - it was a wonderful hike.

My feet dangling from my "spot" on Squaw Peak

I also started wrestling again this past week.  Well, a more accurate statement is that I went TO wrestle but there wasn't anyone my age to wrestle with so I ended up doing drills and endurance work.  I could write a book on the challenges I've faced simply to find someplace to train and I suppose I've come to perceive it as a test of my creativity and desire as much as anything.  But the fact is that the facilities here are among the best in the country so if there's any way to make this happen - the time is now.

My coach is a past World Champion and 2 time US Olympian.  He was wonderful to work with as I trained for my events in 2010.  We had an honest, frank conversation yesterday to determine if it's worth working together to make the US Olympic Team trials.  We discussed the dedication it will take on both our parts and ultimately both made the commitment to do this.  We agreed that it'll take a minimum of 4 training sessions per week so it's going to be a significant focus for me for the next few months.

That said, I'm headed back to Charleston this week for a few days for work.  Then the following week I've got some work to do in DC.  I expect the next few weeks to be interesting for a number of reasons.  We'll see how they unfold.

There are a couple of interesting stories to share...

One is titled "Americans increasingly supportive of transgender people, surveys show".  We may or may not agree on who is a "good" role-model or who "should" be out there as a public face but those things aren't determined based on any vote or contest.  The bottom line, however, is that more and more people are aware of trans "stuff" and I don't perceive that as a bad thing.  Whether it be popular culture, athletics, the workplace, places of worship, schools, or any other avenue more and more trans people are being active and breaking down barriers for those who follow.  More often than not we're not doing what we do simply to BE visible transpeople.  But then again none of us is hiding it either.

How does this continuing recognition help in visible ways?  One is news this past week that the IRS is finally agreeing that trans medical expenses are medically necessary and, as a result, are deductible (see story here).  This has been dragging on for years and it's nice to see that it is finally over.  But I don't know if anyone truly recognizes the many things ultimately affected by these precedents.

Here in Phoenix, the "Reparative Therapy" group is holding their annual conference this week (schedule of events here).

Oy.  Anyway, it's making local news (see a story here).

Lastly - as I type this I've been watching my Buffalo Bills play the Jets.  It looks like a beautiful day in upstate NY.  I can't remember the last time the Bills played an important game in Buffalo in November but they're not looking good.  They're fortunate to go into halftime only down by a field goal.  If they plan on doing anything they're going to have to wake up for the second half...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cold Front

Weather here in the Valley recently has been uniformly amazing.  Daytime sunny highs in the mid to upper 80's and evening lows in the high 40's.  Incredibly vivid blue skies.  This is the weather that people come here to experience, and they're willing to endure the searing summers that come with the territory to do it.

A cold front is coming through tomorrow that they're forecasting to drop the temperature 20 degrees, pound the state with winds upwards of 50mph or more, dust storms, rain and thunder - they're predicting quite the shift.  I'll take all that over the snow that they had on the East coast last week, or that Colorado endured a few days ago.  Last year was my LAST year of that kind of thing....guaranteed.

As predicted, making ignorant fun of the Girl Scouts thing in Colorado has become national sport.  There are a number of people you can guarantee can and will say something stupid given the chance or the provocation, and Bill O'Reilly is one of those people.  His latest (read about it here):

That guy makes my skin crawl. 

One of the places where I traditionally go in my world when I need to "connect" is the top of Squaw Peak.  I've written about it before, and I even documented one of my climbs from a couple of years ago on YouTube.  It's a good aerobic workout, it's a very pretty hike, and my little space at the top is a good place to go to clear my head.

I'm headed there this morning for a much-needed C&C (connecting and cleansing).  With all the change happening in my life over the last few weeks and more on the hirozon I'm feeling the need.  Anyway - my window of opportunity is short so I'll make the most of it.  More than likely I'll need to head back to the east coast next week so today's the day....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


We made the 2 hr. drive from Phoenix up to picturesque ghost-town Jerome AZ for Halloween.  Jerome is an old mining town that was called the most "wickedest town in the west" in 1903.  It's now known for the ecelectic group of people there, it's scenery, and the bars/restaurants that dot the small town.  Oh - and plus, many of the buildings there are said to be haunted.

We stayed in a small bed and breakfast and it was absolutely delightful.  The people who were in our room the night before left an entry in the room Diary that they had a "ghost meter" with them that went off several times.  Maybe so, but things were wonderful.  We slept with the window and door to the patio open to get a cool cross breeze.  We shopped a bit.  I took photos.  We strolled.  A very nice way to spend Halloween.

I was home last night in time to attend wrestling practice.  It's the first time I've been back to the facility where I trained forto the 2010 US Sr. Nationals and it was actually sort of nostalgic to be back.  It was certainly nice to see my coach.  Wrestling has a unique "smell" to it - the mats, sweat, yucko - and from the moment you walk in you feel that.  Anyway, it was a pretty gruelling workout and I'm still recovering from it today. 

In mid-December I'll be going to Atlanta to serve on a panel talking about the impact of increased LGBT Visibility that's being presented by CNN and a number of other groups.  The title of the series is CNN Dialogues and they've already had a number of them. Here's a description of the topic we'll be discussing (see it here).  I'll provide more details as I get them.

I'm looking at video cameras.  I've had a number of them over the past several years and all have become obsolete or otherwise "old news" for a number of reasons.  I'm still fascinated by the intersection of video and web distribution and you can get some decent cameras for very low prices.  Anyway - it's ongoing....

That's it for now.  Short and sweet.  I'm about to upgrade my iPhone 4 to iOS 5.  Keep your fingers crossed.