After writing once a week for four years. I’ve finally decided is time to switch things up and stop posting on schedule and only post when I feel like it. I like blogging. I like the community and the intimacy. I like reading about other people’s lives, especially people who are trying to figure out how to live authentically without blowing the rest of their lives to smithereens. But blogging takes a lot of time, and at this moment in history I want to focus on political activism and building community. I don’t want to resent how much time I’m spending writing.
Four years ago, when I started this blog, I had just legally changed my name and accepted that I was trans. I was struggling to hold onto my relationship with Donna. I had read enough books to practically get a master’s degree in queer and transgender studies, but I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do about my gender identity and gender expression. I set it up as a false dichotomy; stay butch or transition to trans man. It took me a while to see that although I always wanted to be a boy, I didn’t necessarily want to be a man. That there was a lot of space, and a lot of room for experimentation, in between butch and trans man. I am still exploring that space.
I haven’t run out of ideas for blog posts. Today, I was thinking about letting go of the self-imposed pressure to decide about testosterone (not making a decision is still making a decision) and my fear that not going on testosterone means that I’m not really trans. Another post I want to write is about setting high expectations for myself and dealing with my disappointment when I can’t live up to them. I also want to write about what it is like to do political work with LGBTQ folk I know from ACT UP 25 years ago (and anti-war work 15 years ago) and their difficulty accepting that I am in a different place now than I was then (including getting my name right!).
Donna protesting outside Trump’s hotel.
Donna and I are also working together this time, along with our friend Alexis. It is great to be protesting with friends. The political group we are working with is Rise & Resist. It is so new that the website isn’t up, and you don’t get anything when you Google it. The Facebook page for Rise & Resist is here. It isn’t an LGBTQ group, but there are a lot of LGBTQ activists in it (the B and the T part of the acronym have been pretty quiet). There are a handful of people who look like they are trans (I know, I shouldn’t judge based on how people look) and at least two other people who introduced themselves with they pronouns. I’m hoping to chat them up so we can support each other.
It is hard to know what to do to fight Trump/Pence and the Republican agenda. It is easy to get frustrated and sink into despair. It is easy for us to turn on each other. I’ve been in groups that have self-imploded, and I’m hoping that Rise & Resist can work through those problems. Stay tuned.
Women from the Greenwich Village Peace Center, 1968. Grace is in the middle.
I’ve only had a few positive role models in my life. Most of my role models were negative role models. I didn’t want to be like my mother. I didn’t want to be like my grandmother. It wasn’t only a lack of positive female role models. Even though I wanted to be a boy, I didn’t want to be like my brother or my father. There were so many people I didn’t want to be like.
I saw, and experienced, their character flaws. Short tempered. Manipulative. Critical. Stingy. Greedy. Arbitrary. Narcissistic. Powerless. Resentful. I swore that when I grew up I would do better. I would not repeat their mistakes.
My early exposure to teachers, other kid’s parents, school psychologists, and librarians did not improve my attitude towards adults. I thought adults were boring, tedious, and rigid. They all insisted that I act like a girl.
It wasn’t until I came out, and started doing political work, that I met older adults whom I could relate to. They were non-conformists. I saw their flaws, but I also saw their strengths. I might not want to be just like them, but I definitely wanted to pick and choose from some of their character traits.
I admired the serious calm anger of the pacifists at demonstrations. How they would walk right up to a line of riot police and then sit down, without flinching, without showing fear. At demonstrations they took to the streets and blocked traffic as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I admired their clarity and how their actions were consistent with their beliefs. I studied the history of non-violence. I read Gandhi, Dr. King, and Barbara Demming. Some of it rubbed off on me. Continue reading →
I thought I was mentally prepared for a Trump victory, but I was wrong. I knew the odds. I knew he had a chance. I’m glad he didn’t win by a landslide. I’m glad he didn’t win the popular vote. I can’t believe he won the election.
I’m trying not to pin the blame on anyone. I don’t find comfort in saying if only Bernie Sanders had run, or if only James Comey hadn’t sent the letter about the emails on Anthony Weiner’s computer. I have a deep anger at everyone who voted for Trump, everyone who stayed home, and all the people who tell me “Don’t worry it won’t be as bad as you think.”
There is a good chance that Trump’s appointees will define being butch, queer, transgender, or gender non-conforming as “un-American”. Deviant. Degenerate. Perverted. It happened in Russia under Putin. It could happen here. I am expecting to hear a lot more right-wing Christian propaganda. I am ready to fight against FADA (First Amendment Defense Act). Continue reading →