Tag Archive: transgender 101

To thine own self…

Scarlet Letter
I was very far away. My real life had gone underground and could not be seen by anybody. The person at the surface that everybody saw was no longer me.

–Philip Ó Ceallaigh

I became a teacher in 1977, when I was a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Oregon.  I spent five years there earning my PhD before moving on to the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee for three years, during which time both my parents died.  That sort of put the kibosh on me getting enough done to earn tenure there…and my mentor (E. H. Feller) died as well…so I moved on to the University of Central Arkansas, where I taught for 16 years.

O, Canada!

Unlike here in the US, we have some progress to report from north of the border.

Recently the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights of the Canadian Parliament had been working on C-389, otherwise known as the Transgender Rights Bill.  On November 2 the Committee reported the bill back to the House of Commons for its Third Reading, where it is awaiting its final vote.  If that is successful, it would move on to the Senate for approval.

Bill C-389 adds gender identity and gender expression to the Canada Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada hate crimes provisions.  The bill’s author is MP Bill Siksay of the New Democratic Party (the social democrats, sadly missing in the US).  

Halloween Hash, Take 2

Halloween on Sunday.  Halloween again.  Almost like clockwork, it keeps showing up.


As a child I loved Halloween.  We’d go to Mrs. Silver’s house across the street and she would invite us inside and make us fresh caramel apples or popcorn balls.  Lord knows, one can’t do that anymore.

And we would go door to door around the neighborhood and get a real haul of treats.  And somewhere, later, older kids would toilet paper someone’s house or yard, which we would discover on the way to school in the morning.  I never liked the “trick” part.

Razor blades and pins and poison and just plain bad people put a stop to most of the good stuff I remember.  

As I got older, the tricks became worse and the treats were few and far between.

Friday Philosophy: October Trans News

We have had another suicide, unfortunately.  Chloe Lacey from Clovis, CA, shot herself because she feared she would be harassed and bullied when she went to college in Eureka.

This and other stories about the transgender community on the inside, including some murders, sexual harassment, lost history, and challenges to discrimination.

Some good.

A little more bad.

The usual.

Friday Philosophy: Judge not…

I’ve been having a slow conversation through Facebook with a friend from high school.  Hopefully she will show up here eventually.  But she’s a little busy training to be a Peace Corps volunteer, so we’ll se.

In one of her messages she wrote:

You have an original voice. I know that transgender issues are understandably important to you, but I also find your posts on other subjects to be fascinating. You write with passion and are able to reduce the macrocosm down to the infinitely human microcosm.

Also, everyone changes as they live their lives. Most of us don’t want to be judged, but if we are, we want to be judged by who we are now. As an old high school friend, I would like to see you address this type of issue in relationship to transgender politics.

I’ll try to do that tonight…with a little bit of other stuff mixed in.

To thy own self be true

I was scouting for something to write about/discuss a couple of nights ago and I ran across a few reviews of a new movie that is making the rounds in less than usual venues.  Funded in part by The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, That All May Freely Serve (TAMFS), The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Arlington Cultural Arts Council, The Open Meadows Foundation the movie was produced and directed by Alice Dungan Bouvrie of Mineral King Productions and is entitled Thy Will Be Done, which we of course recognize as a phrase from The Lord’s Prayer.

Personally I might have preferred a quote from Shakespeare.

This above all: to thine own self be true.

–Polonius to his son Laertes, Hamlet, Act I, Scene 3, line 82

That is, after all, what the story seems to be about for me.

Friday Philosophy: Clutter – Three Poems

I recently had to empty one office and move all my shit into another one in a different building.  As often has happened when I have done this sort of thing, I uncovered an old scrap of paper.  On it were three poems.  Searching my data banks has revealed that two of them were micro-planed into poems which I have published before, in slightly different form.

Because of the start of the new semester, that’s about all I’ve got to share this evening.

Originally I was going to write a piece entitled In the good old days, they just called us perverts, but I didn’t find the time to flesh it out.  If anyone wants to discuss the topic, I’m game to do so in the comments.

Friday Philosophy: Transpeople in the News

Sacramento, CA:  The California State Senate passed the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Prisoner Safety Act (AB 633) by a 26-9 vote and sent it on to Governor Scharzennegger.  The bill is designed to protect LGBT people who are incarcerated.  Arnold vetoed a similar bill last year.

A recent study from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) found that 67 percent of LGBT inmates report being sexually assaulted by another inmate, a rate 15 times higher than the overall prison population. Another study by UC Irvine and commissioned by CDCR found that 69 percent of transgender inmates reported sexual victimization while incarcerated.

Friday Philosophy: Transwomen and AIDS

Helena Bushong was diagnosed with AIDS in 2002.  She probably had been HIV+ since 1985.  She also has Hepatitis C and is a survivor of spinal cancer.

But she has one hell of a strong backbone.

This past week she was interviewed about being transgender, black and poz.  Do yourself a favor and go see what she has to say for herself.  The video is not embeddable.

I felt comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my 56 years.

–Helena Bushong, about going on homone therapy

But y’all come back, y’hear!

And there is more…

Friday Philosophy: The most self-aware people I know

In her essay earlier today, Allison’s Story told us about her “friend” who told her he thought she was psychotic because she chose to treat her gender dysphoria.

That’s too much of a constant in our lives.  Because we don’t believe that chromosomes, or even genitalia, are destiny, people tell us they think we are insane…and then use that conclusion in attempts to drive us from our professions.

To some people, the options we have are being thought to be insane or having a moral defect.  The truth is, in my opinion, that we are some of the more sane people around.  On the other hand, what is moral is in the mind of the beholder.

I’ve met hundreds of transfolk since I began my transition in 1992.  I actually came out on September 30, 1992, which would have been my father’s birthday if he had still been alive.  From my years of knowing him, I can assure you that informing him of my plans for the future would not have gone down well.

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