I made the 10-hour train trip to northern Virginia on Monday, I did my event there all day on Tuesday, I took the train back on Wednesday, I had a busy day catching up on things yesterday, and today I pack and drive to a beach in North Carolina to wrestle tomorrow. I'll drive back tomorrow night.
It was a fairly remarkable trip, but I can't really talk about it other than to say it was a very full day and I'm happy with how everything went. It was unlike my typical "event" in a number of ways and my thanks go to everyone who worked to make it happen. One of the comments I heard over and over again the fact it happened at all is a huge step forward as it would have been unthinkable even 4 or 5 years ago. Anyway, it was a pretty big deal, and everyone was wonderful to me. Again, thank you to everyone involved.
If you take a train trip of any distance you'll find that the train stops from time to time. Typically, they'll come across the intercom and say that the tracks narrow to one instead of two ahead and they're waiting for another train to pass before they can proceed. Over the course of a ten hour trip it's not a big deal and you just get used to it.
I mention it because on on the way home we came to a stop in North Carolina, just north of the South Carolina border. They came onto the intercom and said we had stopped for mechanical reasons. Most of us didn't notice anything out of the ordinary, until police and EMS people were visible out the windows walking along the tracks next to the train. A rumor started spreading that we had struck a vehicle at a railroad crossing, and after nearly an hour the conductor confirmed that it was indeed true.
We were stopped for a bit over two hours while they searched along the tracks, and removed a portion of the vehicle that had been stuck under the front of the train. A news article (read here) indicates that a 19 year old had gone around the barriers and tried to beat the train - travelling at nearly 80 mph - across the track. He didn't make it, and was killed. It's a tragic reminder of what can happen in the blink of an eye...
In other news, something happened yesterday that I've been told to expect. ENDA was introduced in both houses in DC (see details here). It's hard to believe that it has been 6 years since the ENDA debacle of 2007 where sponsor Barney Frank dropped transpeople from the bill. I'm totally confident that it will not happen again, and that the sponsors this time around are committed to ONLY a fully-inclusive bill. Of course, I heard the same thing last time around (and believed) - but although that perhaps should make me somewhat cautious that it could or might happen again, I'm totally convinced that what has been introduced will not be significantly altered.
Will it pass? Time will tell. NCTE is sponsoring a lobby day in DC and I think that the more people show their support the better chance it has. It's also important to keep the discussion focused on what this relatively simple piece of legislation is about - workplace equality for ALL LGBT people - and not let it get sidetracked to the usual disgusting arguments about bathrooms and such.
I also have no interest in discussing my feelings on how HRC fits into any of this. As far as I'm concerned, they're irrelevant in every way. Regardless of how things play out they'll either shift blame or take credit and I really couldn't care less as long as the right things happen.
Time to pack for my trip. I'll compete tomorrow for a US National Championship, and the right to represent this country at the World Championships in Morocco. I won it two years ago and didn't make the trip to try to win it again last year. It's a much simpler version of wrestling than Freestyle. There's a 20-foot circle on the beach and the first person to score two points wins. Competitors score points by pushing their opponent out of the circle or taking them down and gaining control. Typically, most matches are relatively short so we'll see how it all plays out. I approach this with the same attitude that I had in previous tournaments - it's truly an honor simply to participate because I really enjoy the sport. The outcome will happen as it does, and all I can hope for is to do my best, and that nobody (including me) gets hurt.