Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Chain....

I have a couple of things to share this afternoon. 

First, President Obama said publicly for the first time that he supported same-sex marriage (story here).  On one hand I appreciate the fact that he's the first standing President to say such a thing.  But on the other, it would have had more power for me last week, before others in his cabinet expressed similar sentiments and put him in a position to walk the walk.  For example, the Secretary of Education showed no hesitation when asked his thoughts (story here) on Monday:

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That impressed me.  That's leadership.  I wonder if any of that had any effect on what happened today. What I do know is that the difference between "us" and "them" has never been clearer, and that conservatives are going to try to make this the deal breaker in the election.  Maybe they'll be successful.    But whatever happens

As the interviewers indicated, the White House was in the middle of trying to do damage control over recent similar comments by the Vice President. I certainly acknowledge that the President has more at stake politically than anyone else in this regard, but c'mon - I doubt that the real historical impact of what's happening will become more apparent over time.  Andrew Sullivan has written a good write-up of his thoughts (read it here).

I'm going to have to stay off Facebook from now until the elections because people are already all over this and I'll be tired of hearing it all inside of an hour.

I saw a Photography exhibition in Vancouver that piqued my curiousity.  It's about trans women in Paris in the 1950's (story here).  I find that kind of thing fascinating, because I consider myself as another link in a long chain.  I can't imagine how difficult it was for these women to save up enough cash for surgeries and the like - but looking at some of these photos is like seeing old photographs of long-lost relatives you never met.  There's a resiliency there, a strength of purpose, a seeming simplicity that transcends current argumemts over Gay Inc./transgender umbrella/I'm this but not that....

Anyway, I would enjoy seeing that exhibition.

I suppose it's easy to take the times we live in for granted.  But where we're at is hard fought territory in a culture war for legitimacy and rights.  But before we get too giddy about it we need to remember that North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment yesterday banning legal recognition of ANY relationship that's not marriage between a man and a woman.  A pastor there gave a sermons promoting violenct towards "effimnate" boys (story here).  Two african american trans women have been murdered in the past two weeks along - one in Chicago, and another in Oakland

GENDA is up for passage again in NY State (story here).  Lincoln, Nebraska is moving forward to expand descrimination protections to cover trans people (story here).  The recent EEOC ruling that workplace discrimination against trans people is considered sex descrimination is a big deal (story here).  National Geographic broadcast "American Transgender".  The list goes on...

When I was a kid and needed to find a word that explained how I felt I couldn't find anything.  Nothing.  Nowhere.  It was frustrating and confusing, and I expect many of us from that generation had similar experiences.  From that to this....

It makes me feel old to say...."Well, back when I was your age..." but I can't help but think that.  In the earliest days of my transition I found some resources that were useful, and that helped me along the way.  Some of them were local resources, while others were online.

One of the most significant was a website started by San Francisco area psychologist Anne Vitale.  She had a number of essays dealing with key issues involved in coming to terms with being trans, to transition, and eventually to moving on in life.  Some of her writings were fundamental for me...about relationships, and the nature of change, and whatnot.

She started an email list of news items dealing with trans "stuff", and sent it regularly.  At first it was a fairly sort list, sent every few weeks.  But the list got longer, and came more frequently.  Eventually she had to break it into multiple emails.  And not long after that, she had to stop altogether because she just couldn't keep up with it all.

Anyway - I digress.  I recently went back to Dr. Vitale's website and was gratified to see that not only is it still there, but that she's adding new content fairly regularly.  Her most recent Essay is a good example of why I found it so helpful - it's called "Post-op +5" (read it here).  She writes:

Full gender role transition is a bitter sweet accomplishment. Bitter in that post-op transfolk-- despite moving ever closer over the years toward their intended goal-- come to eventually realize, that in the end, they will still be left an important iota short of ever being totally of one sex or the other. Apparently that is a distance too far for reality to transverse. On the other hand, it is sweet in that the dread of experiencing an unlived life being gender dysphoric no longer burdens them. Fortunately the sweet relief of being free of gender dysphoria and the chance to live a life that is far more comfortable--if not exactly what they expected-- leads a large majority of long term transitioner to say that transition saved their livesÉ. And, very importantly, would do it all over again despite the hardships many experienced and in some cases continue to endure. In some respect we can say that the long term effects of gender role transition amounts to a net positive but a subtle reversal of misfortune.

She's pretty deep, and incredibly articulate about some topics others never seem to quite capture.  But she's right on the money far more often than she's not.  If I'm a link in a chain - that's one of the links before me that helped me get here.  I owe her a debt of gratitude. 

Oh - I posted another photo on my Snaplog.  I didn't mention it last week but, but I started having some ankle issues a couple of weeks ago and ended up at the doctor last Thursday (see yucky photo here).  We're trying to figure out what caused it, but in the meantime we're treating the symptoms.  No cute shoes for me for a few days....


Sophie Lynne said...

A lot of comments are flying all over by the president's comments.

Thing is this: Civil rights are not a ballot issue. If it were, there would still be slaves in the south.

Us and them. Would that it weren't that way...

Gwen said...

Donna, You're still a youngster. "When I was a kid ... makes me feel old to say .... were online."
When I was a kid, there was no "online." Computers were spelled, " A B A C U S " (or at least "Log-Log-DeciTrig")