Monday, January 16, 2017

More than Symbolic

I'm spending a rare weekend at home.  I spent part of this weekend simply "nesting".  Catching up.  Getting things done around the house that I've wanted to do for a while but haven't had time to do.

For example, I finally opened some things I bought myself for Christmas.  I've lived in this house I'm renting for a year now and I unpacked some things and re-arranged some things.  And, of course, I watched some football.  I love this time of year for a fan  of the sport I live for games like yesterday's Cowboys/Packers game, or last week's Clemson/Alabama game.  Just amazing.

One thing I did - an it's not trivial - is to set up my drum kit.

Why is this not trivial?  Because it's more than symbolic for me.  For years I've lived in places where a drum kit would be a no-no.  One year I was living in a town-house in Mesa and I set them up just because I could.  I was tuning them...not playing them, but tuning them....for a half hour one Saturday afternoon when someone knocked on the door complaining about the "noise".  Drums inherently involve "noise".

I'm living in a house where (a) I have the space and (b) I have the freedom to make some noise.  So - after several years of NOT having them....I've set them up.  My bedroom looks like a cross between a recording studio with a bed in it but I'm ok with that.  Simply having them there means something.  Now I need to re-learn how to play them again.....

Brynn Tannehill recently published a list on Bilerico titled "The top 50 successful transgender Americans you should know" (link here).  It made me smile.  It reminds me of Lynn Conway's Transsexual Successes page (link here) from my generation.  That page, and what it represented, was a big big deal for many of us struggling to envision a life that was just.....a life.  Not a transgender life.  Not a life focused on "being" transgender, or on having to justify it.  Just....a well-balanced, multi-faceted, well-lived life....with a career, relationships,  interests, and everything else that comes with it.  I tend to shrug off lists as many of them come from people who don't have a clue.  But I applaud what Brynn has done with this.
This list is not comprehensive, and there are literally hundreds more we did not list. The careers represented are deliberately eclectic, as are their genders, ages, races, and are intended to show the diversity of the community.
Transgender people can accomplish great and admirable things as out and proud individuals. They should be role models not only for queer youth, but for anyone. 
Of course - it's like publishing a "hit list" for anyone looking to attack the community as a whole, but that's always the risk of being visible.   But to Brynn's point - it demonstrates the diversity of our community.  Finding that myself with the rudimentary tools available 15 or more years ago was a key component in my own journey.

Speaking about components of the journey, another thing from that time that helped were the annual documentaries that traditionally appeared around ratings week featuring transpeople.  They were usually cliche, formulaic, things but that didn't stop me from watching.  At the time, that's all we had.  I've actually been in a few of them because I think they served a purpose at the time.

Nowadays we're everywhere.  I avoid "Reality TV" and have said before the I won't watch shows like Caitlyn Jenner's or Jazz's.  I just won't.  Documentaries as we knew them are few and far between these days and I'm not so sure that's a good thing.  Regardless, it's the way of our world.

The reason I mention any of this is that a documentary titled "Gender Revolution", produced by National Geographic, will be broadcast in early February.  It supports the theme of their controversial current cover story featuring a spectrum of trans kids, and kids who demonstrate that gender isn't as simple as the binary.  Rather than provide any more detail I'll simply provide a link to Andrea James' blog - she's involved so I'm confident it's well done (link here).

Oh - and to provide a resource where List meets Documentary there's a recent HBO production titled "The Trans List"  (link here).  I have no comments on it because I haven't seen it.  I'd be interested to hear from those who have - what'd you think?

This is a big week in our nation's history.  Whether anyone likes it or not it's the last week for our current President and the swearing in of our next one.  8 years ago I was invited to attend the inauguration and I'll never forget it.  This week - I'll be as far from it as I can get.  I've considered leaving the country.  I'll avoid TV and news at all costs.  I suppose that sounds immature - like a young child closing their eyes and plugging their ears in hopes that they can escape something that's happening that they don't want to happen - but I don't care.  I can't control anything that happens there - all I can control is how I react to it and how I allow it to affect me.  I realize that there are people who may read this that are happy about what's happening and I respect that.  I'm not.

One of the things I'm proudest about from this past year was starting a podcast (link here).  I bought the equipment needed over a decade ago but the stars never aligned that were needed to transform it from vision to reality.  My college degree is in Radio/Television/Film and although that my career took a different direction I've always loved this stuff.

This year I met someone who could help to finally make it happen.  Her name is Diana, and I met her thru our electrologist....the always wonderful Maria.  She's a broadcaster, but more than that we "blend" well.  Starting this podcast was a highlight of my year.

Anyway - the sun is up and it's time to take the pups for a walk.  More than that, it's time to get on with the day.

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