Not too long ago an acquaintance mentioned that
being transsexual had somehow become vogue, almost trendy. I had to laugh, as
I can think of a pazillion easier ways to seem trendy than having a sex change.
Who knew? Oh well. To each their own, I suppose.
A blog means different things to different people. That being said, my blog will not be a diary, or a journal. I consider those things to be inherently private
except to only the most trusted and intimate friends. Rather, it will
document some of the miscellaneous exploits and observations in the day-to-day
banality of my trying-to-be-ordinary-but-never-seeming-to-get-there life.
Perhaps even more than that, though, it will provide an outlet for my need
for creative expression. I don't have that opportunity in my career or at
home so I'll allow this medium to fill that void and see where things go.
These writings will be spur-of-the-moment, what-I'm-thinking-now kinds of
things, so I apologize in advance for the rough nature. Also, I really don't want to debate the things I put here. I feel no need to
defend myself. So, I ask that you please read these entries in the spirit
that they're offered - a spirit where barriers are down and difference of
opinion is respected and encouraged.
Hopefully, there will be something of value here for others.
Until I figure out how to do the
technical back-end stuff to make my "new" blog show up here automatically,
please visit my new Blog:
May 2, 2008
pm: Our nearly weeklong trip is coming to a close. Maggie
has been as close to an angel as can be, and I'll be posting photos from the
trip shortly. I had a reservation to fly home on Southwest in the morning
only to learn that they're one of the few airlines that doesn't allow small pets
in the cabin. So, I had to cancel my reservation and make other
arrangements - the good news being that Southwest allows you to use ALL your
cancelled funds on another ticket. Anyway, it was just a minor bump in the
road and I think we'll be ok. We've got an early morning flight home.
I'll be mostly using my "other" blog:
www.donnarose.com/MyBlog from this
point on. In a way, I'm retiring the blog in this form and maturing to
something new. The blog has grown a life of its own in recent years and I
expect that to continue. I don't really control is so much as it morphs
and changes on its own. The only way to really see it is to see how it has
happened over time.
I posted an entry there yesterday
about our trip, and about the Dr. Phil Show on Tuesday. I talked with my
friends at GLAAD today who are hoping to hear from people who watched the show
and who want to complain. I didn't see it, but from the sounds of things
it was pretty brutal. Anyone who wants me to forward a note to GLAAD feel
free to send it here. Or, write to me and I'll be happy to share the
contact info for the person at GLAAD who needs to know.
Wednesday, April 29, 2008
pm: I've only got a few minutes before I need to get to bed. Puppy
is finally tired out and laying next to me. We need to get to bed for for
the 2nd leg of our trip tomorrow when we fly to Austin. If I had a dollar
for everyone who touched the puppy today I'd be able to pay all the extra
airfares that are involved in flying with animals. The thing I can't quite
understand is why it costs extra when (a) they're under the seat just like any
other piece of carry-on luggage (b) they're less troublesome than a screaming
child and (c) they don't even get their fair share of peanuts or soda.
Anyway, I'm very glad to have brought the puppy with me. It has been an
amazing bonding week for us and she has been nothing short of incredible.
I'll write something about today's
event in my "other" blog so stay tuned on that. It was great,
and thanks to everyone who arranged it and had any part of bringing me here to
participate. A local television station
has posted a story about the event (see
it here) and if you don't blink you'll see me talking to the group - I was
the first speaker at the rally.
I also owe photos from the GLAAD event in
LA this past weekend - I haven't forgotten. I did post something on
Bilerico about it (GLAAD
Media Awards in LA - Wow). And, still no word on my missing camera.
One thing that was announced today
that I find interesting was the release of a joint publication between NCTE and
The Task Force.
Opening the Door to the
Inclusion of Transgender People:
The Nine Keys to Making LGBT
Organizations Fully Transgender-Inclusive
Date: April 28, 2008
The National Center for Transgender
Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announce a new
joint publication, Opening the Door to the Inclusion of Transgender
People: The Nine Keys to Making Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender Organizations Fully Transgender-Inclusive. Geared for
LGBT organizations of any kind (from communities of faith, to social
clubs, to advocacy organizations), this guide covers both practical
and big-picture ways we can all bring our goals of a fully inclusive
movement into reality. It also includes the voices of LGBT leaders
speaking about their real-life experiences with transgender
This is no small publication (download
it here). Weighing in at 80 pages it's much more than a pamphlet and
the breadth of it shows the hard work involved.
The thing I find particularly
interesting is that this is one of the first joint publications between NCTE and
The Task Force that I can remember. There may be others, but I found that
NCTE was typically courted by HRC to co-produce their transgender work (there
are a half dozen or more of them). In the aftermath of ENDA those of us
who felt driven away have found other partners to work with. NCTE is
working with the Task Force and the NGLCC. Jamison and I are working with
Out and Equal.
One of the things that Jamison and I
are finding, and that is probably evident in this new publication as well, is
that we're able to do things with our new "partners" that we couldn't do before.
It's actually very refreshing and it opens the doors to all kinds of new and
exciting possibility. I still believe that somehow, sometime, some way
we'll find ourselves doing something substantive with our former partner
(Jamison and I, either collectively or individually, that is....I can't speak
for NCTE). Whether that happens or not, the good news is that important
work continues unabated.
Tuesday, April 28, 2008
7:15 am: Puppy
and I are in Albany. Rather than re-hash the trip suffice to say that she
traveled amazingly well and I couldn't have been happier or more proud of her.
Over the last several days her personality has really come out and she's
playful, inquisitive, funny, smart and loving. It's fun to watch, and even
more fun to be part of.
Yesterday was a day of firsts.
I had never traveled with a small dog on a plane before. She started to
get used to her leash. She experienced rain (it was pouring when we
arrived here last night, and cold). It's a little better this morning, but
not much. She's staying at her first hotel (I wonder if they know she's
here). All in all - a big day for us both.
Today I'm speaking at Lobby Day here
in New York. Busses are bringing 1,000+ activists from all over the state
to participate. It's a massive undertaking and testament to what can
happen with good leadership, committed people, effective planning, and focused
goals come together. One of the key initiatives here is GENDA, adding the
'gender identity' portion of ENDA back into the Sexual Orientation only version
that was passed after a contentious and divisive fight here in 2001 (sound
familiar?). I'm thrilled to be part of this effort in my adopted home
state of New York.
I got a call from a friend over the
weekend asking me if I had had lunch with Joe Solmonese recently - she has been
hearing rumors. Of course, I haven't. But I'll also share that if
the opportunity were right, I would, and in fact next time I'm in DC
(whenever that is) maybe I'll be the person who extends that invitation.
I've seen emails from people assuring everyone on various lists that they
wouldn't meet one-on-one with Joe but somewhere, somehow, someone has got to
start the flow of communication. We're not going to agree on everything
but at some point we have to find things that we do agree on and find ways to
move forward on them for our mutual benefit.
HRC has all they can handle on their
plate this week - they announced their official endorsements for 14 Senators and
candidates for 2008. There is a conspicuous omission from the list, and
others that are already raising eyebrows. As part of the Politics and
Policy Committee (PPC) I've seen how this process works behind the scenes and
there is method to the madness. There are reasons for why things happen
and don't happen as far as their endorsements go and all I can say is that I'm
glad I don't have to defend their political decisions any more. The
problem isn't so much in the decisions they're making as it is with the veil of
secrecy over how the decisions are made - including ENDA. Anyway, that
world seems far away from me here in my hotel room in rainy, gray Albany with my
Sunday, April 27, 2008
7:00 pm: I'm
back from Hollywood. There's lots to talk about.
First things first. The puppy is none the
worse for wear from my being away for a couple of nights. Thanks to Laura
and her daughter for being such wonderful step-parents while I was gone.
She's in great spirits. She has been
playful, happy, energetic, funny, inquisitive, and generally very puppy-like
since I got home. She's eating well, and it seems as though the newness of
it all from last week and the dopiness from her shots have both pretty much worn
off. And, she seems to have found her bark. She makes me laugh, and that can't help but be a good thing.
I'm struggling with what to do with her this
coming week. I'm very strongly considering bringing her with me on my
trip. I've got a puppy carrying case on loan from a friend and am
investigating what the "rules" are for bring a puppy on-board as a carry-on bag
(it costs an extra $80 each way!). I don't know how she'd do, it'd be a
hassle, but in some ways I'd rather do that than leave her here for a week and
be a hassle for others (I shortened the trip to get back on Saturday). I
need to make a decision soon because my flight leaves at 7:30 in the morning and
I need to start packing.
The trip to LA for the GLAAD Awards was great.
My only source of disappointment is that I brought my big, nice Canon digital
Rebel camera with one of my larger lenses with me and left it on a cab that took
us to breakfast yesterday morning. I'm sick about it, but such is life.
I'll call the Taxi company's Lost and Found tomorrow, but my confidence that
I'll ever see it again is nil.
It was fun to spend time with friends who came
from around the country to attend - I think we all had a blast. I got some
good photos that I'll be posting here shortly. Special thanks to Eden for
pointing out who's who. She seems to know everything and everyone in
television and her patient explanations were much appreciated. I'll be writing something
for Bilerico about it, I think, after I'm done packing (if it's not too late).
Even with losing my camera it was well worth the trip.
were several people I was particularly happy to bump into, and to have time to
talk with. I'm already looking forward to some of the follow-up
conversations that we started. The gift bag must have weighed 25 pounds
and was full to the brim with all kinds of stuff. One of the things that
all of us noticed was that the tone of the entire evening was fully-inclusive.
There was rarely a time when the word "gay" wasn't followed shortly thereafter
by the word "transgender". It was particularly nice to see, and I can't
thank the staff enough for the obvious behind-the-scenes-work for making it
happen. There were several trans people there - on stage, walking the red
carpet, and in the audience. All in all, nobody had a single complaint in
that regard and I plan to write to Neil (the President of GLAAD) to thank him.
Neil's remarks were on-point and I noticed that
more than one person around me was wiping away tears as he described some moving
personal stories. His mantra of "Telling our stories doesn't make a bit of
difference - it makes all the difference" hit home in personal ways for
many of us. These events can be tremendously empowering - even
life-changing - and although this was my first visit to the Los Angeles event I
was relieved to see that the emotion of the message was not lost on the 3,000+
people that filled the Kodak Theater.
Joss Stone gave a remarkable performance.
Comedian Kathy Griffin opened the event with
a segment including her mom (see the photo above). It was funny, and
Candis Cayne was stunning.
More importantly, she was friendly, gracious, accessible, and stayed behind
long after much of the other "talent" had left.
Janet Jackson was presented with Vanguard
Award and had very little to say; it felt like she was only on stage for a
minute or two. Given that the event was already running long that's a
There are also several news reports of the
here are some examples)
The event will be broadcast on Bravo
sometime soon so I'll try to give advance warning before that happens.
A small group of us met for breakfast at
Mel's Diner in Hollywood before we all headed in different directions.
It was the best breakfast I've had in a long time.
Lastly for tonight, on the political front I
received confirmation that a 3rd transgender delegate will be making a trip to
Denver for the Democratic National Convention in August. Fellow Arizonian
Amanda Simpson from Tucson will be one of the delegates from Arizona, and will
be joining Diego Sanchez from MA and Merissa Richmand from TN. I can't
think of anyone better to represent our state than Amanda, and am thrilled for
BTW - if you've sent me email in the last week or
so, know that I'm woefully behind and will be doing my best to catch up.
The combination of travel, work, puppy, and other obligations seem to keep me
busy from morning to night. Thanks for your patience....
Wish me luck on the airplane with puppy tomorrow.
This will be a first for both of us....
Friday, April 25, 2008
changed my flight to LA to early tomorrow morning which alleviated some
of the pressure I was feeling. I dropped Maggie off with a friend who will
be watching her while I'm gone and I'm comfortable she's in good, loving hands.
Still, I already miss having her furry little lovable self around. :(
I tried on some dresses on my way
home tonight but decided that (a) I need to stop eating again and (b) I'm not
going to invest in another dress right now. I talked with my ex-wife for
almost an hour, and I visited with my friend when I dropped Maggie off. I
wrote an entry on my "other" blog tonight (read
it here). I should have packed tonight but I'll do that at 5am before
There are some interesting topics
cropping up in some very interesting places. For example, there was a
story in the New York Times today about married couples staying together through
Through Sickness, Health and Sex Change
New York Times, United
States - 1 hour ago
No one tracks the number of transgender
people in the country, let alone the number who stay married
after a sex change, said Mara Keisling, the executive ...
I'm told that NBC is looking for
couples because they're doing a story on this, as well.
I'll be participating in the Empire
State Pride Agenda Lobby Day in Albany, NY on Tuesday. I'll be here and
there throughout the day but here's one event that everyone can attend:
Workshop: Being a Trans
Ally, with Donna Rose.
Tuesday April 29th,
2008 at Equality and
2:00-3:15pm in Meeting
A workshop for new and
allies, and those just
wanting to learn.
Donna Rose will provide
an overview of
"Transgender" based on
her personal experience,
challenges faced by many
trans and gender
explain the roles that
trans allies can play,
and give direction on
how to get involved in
work for transgender
Activists from the GENDA
Coalition will give
details on GENDA, a
statewide bill to outlaw
transgender and gender
Don’t miss this unique
opportunity to learn
about trans from a
advocate, the crucial
role of allies in the
struggle for trans
equality, and your
opportunity to take
action in support of
more information, please
contact Empire State
Pride Agenda Field
Organizer, Casey Chanton, at
I'm looking forward to this.
I took little Maggie to the vet yesterday for her second set of shots. She
weighs 6.7 pounds - just a teeny furball, really - and looks to be totally
healthy. She's got such a sweet, relaxed personality; the only time her
eyes seemed to get big was when they took her temperature. :) She's
been pretty much wiped out since yesterday and hasn't had much energy - not that
I'm complaining too much.
Today I begin a very busy stretch
that is now complicated by my little munchkin. I'm scheduled to leave
today to go to LA for the GLAAD Media Awards there tomorrow, and then back home
mid-day Sunday. I leave on Monday morning for Albany, participate in the Empire
State Pride Agenda Lobby Day on Tuesday, and fly to Austin on Wednesday.
The Out and Equal Workplace Summit kickoff is on Thursday, and I'll probably
come home early from that to be with puppy. I've got people loving on her
while I'm gone so I'm not too worried in that regard.
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) -
Although long known to the gay community, breakout star Candis Cayne
became a household name this year with her recurring role as the
male-to-female transgender character Carmelita on ABC's "Dirty Sexy
She also made history as the first
transgender actress to play a transgender character in primetime,
and she even shared an onscreen kiss with William Baldwin.
"It just never would have occurred
to me to cast a person that wasn't transgender," says creator and
executive producer Craig Wright. "The minute Candis walked through
the door, there wasn't a single ounce of opposition."
This was a bold step for a network
at a time when most LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)
ground is broken on cable. With two cable networks -- Here! and Logo
-- providing dedicated gay content, and numerous other cable
networks featuring LGBT characters in original miniseries,
documentaries and dramas, the LGBT experience is being portrayed
with more complexity than ever.
According to Neil Giuliano,
president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which is
holding its 19th annual Media Awards on Saturday at Hollywood's
Kodak Theatre (with additional ceremonies in New York, South Florida
and San Francisco), "There are fewer gay characters on the broadcast
networks than there have been in over a decade ... but the
characters that do exist are more fully realized and authentic than
characters we've seen in the past, so progress is being made."
Candis is scheduled to be at the
event on Saturday and I look forward to thanking her and congratulating her
myself. I've got friends coming from around the country to sit at our
table and I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone, and I hope we all have
a chance to chat with her. The timing of this article couldn't be more
perfect because I consider this event to be a celebration of the emergence of
Transgender characters in mainstream media.
Does anyone underestimate the impact
that broad visibility of transgender lives on mainstream television? We
talk about this vague concept of "education" that needs to happen to move the
culture to be more accepting and understanding and although each of us can
certainly play a part in that these mainstream media opportunities reach
millions and millions of people. As much as providing visibility into our
lives the fact that we're there at all is a statement of legitimacy and
empowerment that no amount of money can buy. These portrayals have come a
long way from characters who were either criminals, victims, sex-workers,
mentally-ill, or otherwise de-valued. I'm working with the staff at GLAAD
to produce a DVD about the changing portrayal of transgender in the Media
through the years and we're all very excited about it. Stay tuned as that
It's really exciting to be involved
in the behind-the-scenes planning in some of the events that happen each year.
One of the reasons I got involved with HRC locally while living in Austin was to
participate in the dinner planning. It was an introduction to the broader
GLBT community to someone who had never been there before. Now, I'm doing
stuff with Southern Comfort (don't forget, the deadline for workshop proposals
is May 15!), we're already working on the Out and Equal Workplace Summit, I'm
doing stuff with GLAAD, Jamison and I are working on things together - it's
great to be able to work with so many committed people. It certainly cuts
down on free-time, but I can't imagine NOT doing these things right now.
On a more somber note, today is the
12th annual "Day of
Silence". The website explains it as follows:
The National Day of Silence brings
attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in
schools. This year’s event will be held in memory of Lawrence King,
a California 8th-grader who was shot and killed Feb. 12 by a
classmate because of his sexual orientation and gender expression.
Hundreds of thousands of students will come together on April 25 to
encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT
Because of recent violence against
GLBT students in schools around the country there is significant visibility on
the event today. It is receiving broad visibility (Los
The Advocate, and
many, many more). As one might expect, some are not happy about the
visibility and are pushing back with their own initiatives. At a high
school outside Seattle a "church group" is calling for "prayer warriors" to
participate in a counter-protest outside the school (details
here). I can't tell you how hate-mongerers and bigots masquerading
under the charade of religion make my blood boil - don't even get me going on
that. Anyway, today is an important day to support our youth.
I need to get the day going.
This next week looks to be crazy, and that doesn't even factor in my
responsibilities as work that remain a priority and that I always somehow seem
to balance with everything else. It's one of those mysteries I don't try
to explain any more. I just cross my fingers and hope it continues...
Thursday, April 24, 2008
6:30am: I'm a
data person. There's a saying in IT - "If you can measure it you can
manage it" - so data and metrics and statistical analysis is all part of this
data-grounded world that I call a career. The fact is that I actually
enjoy data. I enjoy looking for relationships, anomalies, cause/effect,
trends. That stuff is fun for me.
The reason that I bring it up is
that I'm having some fun doing a little analysis on companies and various
Diversity/Ranking scores. We could talk long and hard about HRC's
Corporate Equality Index - what it is and what it isn't - and I'll
defend it to the death for what it is while at the same time
acknowledging the shortcomings for what it isn't. This post isn't about the CEI. It's about Diversity
scores or "rankings" in general.
There are several "Best Company"
lists. How does a company get near the top of one? I'm sure that we
all have ideas on that and I'm not looking to argue that point here. The
thing I find interesting, however, is to compare the companies from one list to
another. For example, I looked at the 33
companies listed in the Fortune article of the Best Big Companies to work for.
I checked the CEI scores for each of these companies and found that 15 of them
have a score of 100. 2 have a score between 90-99. 2 have a score
between 80-99. One has a score of 75. And, the 4th best large
company to work for according to this list - FedEx - has a score of 55.
None of that really surprises me. One thing I found interesting, however,
was that over a third of these companies, 12 to be exact, don't report a score
to HRC for the CEI at all.
I also find it very, very
interesting to compare this list with DiversityInc's list of 50 Top Companies
for Diversity 2008 (see
that list here). Does anyone else find it interesting that only 2 companies are on
both lists? What does this mean? I'm not sure - I just find it odd
that only 2 of the companies rated as the best for Diversity are on the list of
best places to work. One thing it does probably mean is that these lists
are aren't meant to be be-all, end-all rankings. They make good press, but
I'd take the results with a grain of salt.
Anyway - this is interesting stuff.
Anyone who attended the Thursday diversity lunch at IFGE in Tucson heard me
share some work that Jamison and I are doing with Out and Equal to develop a
survey that doesn't measure corporate policy, but it measures actual employee
experience and overall corporate culture. I expect that the results will
be fascinating. I'll have more to share on that as it develops.
Someone sent me a photo from IFGE
that I actually like. I don't like many photos of myself - but I can't
complain about this one. :)
Not everyone sees the workplace
gains we are making as a good thing. Focus on the Family has an opinion on
the gains we are making in the workplace:
Rights Campaign Pushes Special Rights for
The Human Rights
Campaign, a homosexual-activist group, has
released a guide for employers that outlines
practices for advancing transgenderism in the
Inclusion in the Workplace includes “appropriate
terminology with which to discuss gender
identity" and suggestions for "policies that
protect transgender workers" by creating special
rights. Some states are considering laws that
would open most workplace restrooms to men,
women, transgender individuals and transsexuals.
Caleb H. Price,
research analyst for Focus on the Family, said
corporate America is being used as a pawn to
promote the homosexual agenda.
activists have long been strategically targeting
corporate America to help bring about their
radical agenda to re-engineer society and
redefine the traditional and biblical
understanding of family, sexuality and now
gender,” he said.
American corporate titans adopt
'transgender'-affirming policies, the patently
ridiculous notion that gender is somehow 'fluid'
and that people can ignore biological reality
and self-define their gender will become
normalized in society.”
Did you see the news story about a
woman in Florida who found an 8 ft. alligator in her kitchen? (see
it here) I couldn't help but laugh hearing the 911 operator asking her
is she's sure that it isn't an "iguana or a large lizard" and the woman says "no
no no no no" - looking at this huge alligator that takes up her entire kitchen
floor. Too funny.
Puppy has a vet appointment today.
They tend to poke and prod at these things. I hope they don't hurt her.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
6:30am: How can
people tell what company would be good to work for? There are all kinds of
surveys, indexes, recruiting messages, Diversity initiatives - how does anyone
know what's true and what's not? I don't know if there's a way to truly
know as experiences will vary within large companies. But at the same
time, where can you start?
An article came out on Fortune.com
ranking the 50
Best Big Companies to work for. I'm used to working at large companies
and I found reading this interesting. This list has some surprises.
I actually am working at one of the companies in the Top 10 on this list
(contract work, not as an Employee). A significant number of the people I
know there have been at the company for well over 20 years which certainly says
One project I'm trying to work in
the background is to identify which companies have diversity hiring that might
provide a contact at the company. It's easier to get a foothold at a
company, no matter how wonderful your resume, if you can actually speak to
someone rather than having to apply online and never hearing anything. Anyway,
if you've had good experiences in that regard please feel free to forward the
information about the company and the contact so I can follow-up.
This past weekend there were 3
road-rage shooting incidents around the Valley. There was another on
Monday where a couple of people got stabbed. A news report indicates that
Phoenix has the 2nd most road rage incidents in the country and that doesn't
surprise me - drivers around here are nuts. It's one thing to be an
aggressive driver but a whole other thing to turn a driving incident into
violence. As I consider my long-term prospects and where I want to live as
I get older things like that make a difference.
Speaking of driving I wrote
something about Danica Patrick, who became the first woman to win an IndyCar
event over the weekend, on the
The puppy seems to be getting used
to being here although she hasn't eaten in a couple of days. She has been
decidedly NOT happy about me leaving her in the large crate when I go to work
and I suppose I can't blame her. I have been doing short days there so far
this week so she doesn't have to be in it for too too long but when it's a 45
mile drive each way that certainly adds time and hassle. She hasn't had a
"boo boo" in the house since Sunday so we've been fortunate in that regard, and
I'm taking her to the vet for a check-up tomorrow. She likes to lay on the
cool tile in the kitchen and the hallways and at one point she wanted to stay on
it last night. I woke up and searched the house looking for her. I
found her curled up on my pile of dirty laundry - so cute.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Tomorrow HRC will announce the release of it's new publication, "Transgender
Inclusion In the Workplace, 2nd Edition" (see
it here). I'd say it's really version 1 of this, replacing a
publication called "Transgender
Issues In the Workplace: A Tool For Managers" that was released in 2004 (I
have a couple hundred copies of these in my garage and am happy to send to
anyone who needs some). The old document was significantly shorter and was
far more aimed at facilitating workplace transitions. This publication is
much more substantive and comprehensive.
The one thing I'll be interested to
see is how effective HRC is at getting this out there, and the broader reception
it gets. It's the first Trans specific publication/tool since ENDA and the
fact that it's workplace-related makes it doubly compelling. I have no
criticisms on content, intent, timing, or format although I'm sure others will
find something to complain about. Daryl, Samir, and the rest of the
Workplace Team did their usual excellent work. But the question of the day
isn't about what's between the covers. The Spectre of ENDA begs the
question "How does an organization that was the lone voice for transgender
exclusion in ENDA release a publication making a business case for
transgender inclusion?" I hope it's a non-issue - I really do,
because corporate America still needs good tools on Transgender issues.
But I can't see how they can escape the obvious questions.
Tomorrow is the Democratic Primary
in Pennsylvania. Most agree that Hillary will win, although I for one made
a friendly wager today to the contrary. The question seems to be whether
it will be a single-digit win or more than that. I guess we'll know by
this time tomorrow.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
relatively early but I'm heading to bed. That's one of the good things
about having this puppy. My 1am nights are a thing of the past. I
expect that I'll be getting to bed at a far more reasonable time.
I posted a nice photo of the
Mag-ster on my
"other" blog. It's hard to get good pictures of her because when she
sees me get down so I'm eye-level she figures I must be ready to play and comes
running over. One of the things I find interesting already is watching her
sleep, and her little feet are moving and ears are twitching. What on
earth does a newborn puppy dream it's chasing?
I spent almost 3 hours over at my
ex-wife's house today. She gave me a crate that we used for Molly that we
had stored up in the attic. Apparently, nobody had been in the attic since
I left the house 9 years ago and she wanted my help getting the stuff out of
there. So we spent the better part of the afternoon going through all our
stuff that was in the attic. Her wedding dress was there. Old
receipts and empty boxes were there. Books. binders, records, calendars,
and all kinds of stuff was there. Anyway, it was actually sort of
nostalgic and was the most civil we've been to one another in a long time.
The magical powers of puppies cannot be under-estimated. Of course, Maggie
slept most of the afternoon away but that's ok.
I got stopped twice at PetSmart and
once at the gas station by people who saw Maggie and wanted to chat. I'm
telling you - if you want to meet people carry a puppy around with you.
It's a great ice breaker. :)
I'm not sure what the first night of a new puppy, taken from its family and
brought to new surroundings, is supposed to be like or even if there is a
typical "first night". I remember pups I've had that have cried
through the night, others who were restless to the point they couldn't sleep,
and still others who seemed to take it all in stride. Maggie had a very
nice first day - we even went over to a friend's house who has 2 Yorkies and
Maggie had a great time. All the excitement and change caught up with her
sometime during the night, tho.
She slept in the bed with me and at
some point around 3am I woke to an interesting aroma in the bedroom. Poor
Mags has some tummy "issues" and had left me a couple of little presents on the
comforter. Yuk. Anyway, I cleaned them up, used Lysol on everything,
took her out back for a little while, and the rest of the night passed fine.
She still has an upset little tummy and hasn't eaten anything yet today.
I'll be glad when she does.
I don't want this Blog to turn into
the trials and tribulations of raising a puppy but I expect that I'll use it for
some of that. It's a healthy distraction. The big event later today
is that we'll be heading over to visit my ex-. That should be interesting.
I'm actually looking forward to it.
I realized I have several photos
from events I've attended recently: The CA Leadership Summit, the GLAAD Awards
in NYC, IFGE. I'll be uploading a bunch of them to share online later
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Maggie has had quite the day, and is curled up by my feet under the desk.
She's been sleeping for almost 2 hours - I'm sure the excitement of everything
was a drain.
Maggie just turned 8 weeks old, and
has only had her first series of vaccinations so I'll need to make arrangements
for the rest of them. She has been remarkably good and only seemed sad for
a short while in the car before curling up on my lap as if nesting. She
has been inquisitive here at the house and the good news is that there have been
no "mistakes" on the carpet yet. At least, none I know of.
Her coloring is as striking as her
personality - I've attached 3 pics I took earlier today. They should
provide an idea of how small she is....
Anyway, she's awake now so we're
going out back on the "lawn" to play. More later.
Friday, April 18, 2008
had an interesting dream last night. Lately I generally don't remember my
dreams much past my second cup of coffee but I remember this one pretty well.
I don't feel compelled to share the dream other than to say I don't know what
relevance it has, if any, on my non-dream life.
Dreams are pretty amazing things.
They reflect our self-image of ourselves, hidden fears or needs, and any number
of other interesting elements that we're often able to suppress in our conscious
world. For example, for most of my life when I dreamed I saw myself as a
guy. Usually we don't stop and ask ourselves what gender we are in our
dreams because we assume that our dream self is the same as our physical self.
For the longest time whenever I'd dream of myself as female there was a
corresponding sense of dread that someone would figure me out. I remember
the first time I dreamed of myself as Donna - not as David trying to be Donna -
but just as Donna. I couldn't wait to see my psych to share this amazing
news. It was big deal for me as it represented a sort of change in how I
perceived myself - both consciously AND subconsciously.
I also remember when I started
dreaming in color - shortly after starting estrogen. My ex-wife would
always explain these elaborate, colorful dreams that she had and I always
assumed that she was making them up as she went. It wasn't until after
going on estrogen that my own dreams became much more vivid and real to me.
To be fair - everything became much more vivid for me after starting
estrogen. But the impact of the dreams on me increased significantly for
quite a while. It was a generally overwhelming time - both when I was
awake and when I was asleep.
I go to pick up little Maggie the
puppy tomorrow around noon. Somehow it reminds me of when my ex- and I
took our son home from the hospital and as we tucked him into his bed for the
first time the realization hit home that this little, innocent life depended on
us. Anyway, I'll post photos when I get her here and settled. We've
got a busy day tomorrow.
I wrote about some upcoming Trans
workplace stuff from HRC on
my "other" blog.
I'm still on track to combine the two into a single effort - I'm expecting to do
that at the end of this month. I envision that it will be a pretty
seamless transition but we'll see how it goes.
I'll share a few recent photos.
The top row is from the California Transgender Leadership Summit in Berkeley
last month, and the bottom photo is from a lunchtime talk at IFGE a couple of
Jamison Green and I discussing last minute Closing
Springtime shot of the Bay Bridge and the San
Francisco skyline from Treasure Island
Lastly, I have a friend blogger who
disappointed me today by blogging irresponsibly. I don't know if there
truly is such a thing, but things like credibility and respect need to exist out
here as more than conveniences that we use when it suits us. Lord knows I
have opinions on things and I'm not shy about sharing them here but I try to
avoid petty sneak attacks like the one I saw today. I won't go into more
detail because it doesn't deserve the visibility. If anything, it deserves
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I did something Monday night that I haven't done for a long time. I mowed.
There's a small patch of grass in my back yard that thinks it's a lawn. It
feels odd complain that I had to mow it because it had gotten too long but to
then admit that it was looking sad a couple of weeks ago so I fertilized it.
I guess the fertilizer "took". What do I get for my efforts?
green grass that needs to be mowed. I even had to borrow the lawn mower
from my friend Laura. I'm so unprepared for this...
As I mowed I was having flashbacks.
I remember going house to house as a pre-teen in the late 1960's asking if I
could cut people's lawn for $5 (I'd trim it for another $5). I remember
using my mom's always dull push mower to do our lawn and collecting all the
clippings to put in my mom's compost heap behind the garage (she's a gardener).
When we lived in Rochester our property covered nearly an acre so I did what any
self-respecting lawn lover would do. I got a riding lawn mower.
I can't help but to smile at all the times I've mowed and the number of times I
expected that it would be my last time. I didn't get that feeling Monday
The grass here isn't the same as the
grass back home in upstate NY. It's not beautiful, lush, Kentucky
Bluegrass that invites you to lie down and roll in it. It's Bermuda grass
- the texture is far more coarse so I suppose it's just perfect for the desert. The good news is that it still smells
good when it's freshly cut. And, it'll be good for Maggie.
The reason I mention it at all is
that I woke up this morning and I have bug bites on my arms. I have 5 of
them on my right arm, and 3 down by my left wrist. We don't get mosquitoes
much here in the desert but I'm hoping I somehow got bit in the 15 minutes it
took me to mow. The only other explanation is that I got bitten last night
while I was sleeping. I'll admit that the thought of bugs crawling on me
and biting me while I'm asleep creeps me out a little.
Reports from NCTE Lobby Day are
coming out slowly but surely. There was
a long article in the Washington Blade about it. There are
quite a few photos from the reception at the Washington Press Club there,
too. Diana from CT has already blogged about her lobbying experience (read
it here). I expect that there will be more. I've heard
unsubstantiated rumors that I don't believe ("Believe nothing of what you
hear....") and attribute that more to misunderstanding than misinformation.
The most important part of the Blade
article, I thought, was the sub-headline for the story. "Visitors from 29
states ask lawmakers to oppose gay-only ENDA". If accurate, this is a big
deal. Last year we Lobbied about why lawmakers should support a
fully-inclusive ENDA. From the sound of things, this year that was
happening too. But at the same time, lawmakers were being urged to
oppose anything less. I'm told that the mood was upbeat and
positive which is a very good sign. I must admit I was curious what the
overall tenor would be like.
A significant event from this week
(that I feel has gone under-reported) is the departure of Matt Foreman as
Executive Director of the Gay and Lesbian Task Force (details
here). The Task Force is the second largest national GLBT advocacy
organization (after you-know-who) and, in my opinion, is well poised to pick up
significant ground on it's bigger, less scrupulous cousin. The
Task Force is a much more grass-roots kind of organization whose concerns aren't
strictly limited to GLBT concerns. They recognize the inter-dependency of
many of our social woes and often stray way outside the GLBT safe-zone. I
really respect Matt and the Task Force for that. They've taken heat for it
by those who can't see the connection but they haven't been timid about speaking
up for higher ideals for ALL.
Matt's voice was often the principal
voice for United ENDA and the Task Force has been steadfast in their support for
ONLY fully-inclusive legislation. They are the Ying to the HRC
Yang. As a result, because of the pivotal point in time and the pivotal
role they play the choice of their next Executive Director has much broader
impacts than many might realize. I've said for quite a while now that the
biggest shortcoming of Joe S. at the helm of HRC at this point in time is that the broader community
truly needed an
inspirational leader of extreme moral character who could unite and inspire
trust. Joe has undeniably proven himself to be an effective (and ruthless) lobbyist but few people I
know would use the words "inspirational", "moral character", "unite", or "trust"
in the same sentence as Mr. Joe. I'm probably not saying anything more
than the obvious, but it's just not there.
As most have probably noticed an
organization tends to take on the personality of its leadership. I'll just
leave it at that....
If and when The Task Force finds
that leader to take its helm, watch out. The dynamics of the broader GLBT
advocacy landscape will shift. I only hope it happens sooner rather than
Speaking of shifting - I expect that
there will be some significant shifting in my own life in the coming weeks.
It's a big adjustment to have to think about someone/something else when you've
been on your own for quite a while. Bringing another life into your own
forces you to stop to consider other things before making decisions. I'm
just at the front end of that, but I can already see changes ahead.
Monday, April 14, 2008
I've got a couple of significant things to share tonight.
The first is that I'm finally
starting to use my "other" blog for more than just testing. I wrote
something there today about HRC and the Houston Dinner from this past weekend
that I think is worth reading (I posted an updated version of it on
Bilerico). And, I did a post there yesterday titled "Puppy Love".
In it there's a photo of a couple of young Australian Shepherd pups. I
stopped out to visit them today and adopted the one on the left (the light one)
- I actually bring her home his weekend. (see
my other blog).
Who do you think the first person I
called when I got in the car to drive home? My ex-wife. We talked
for over an hour and even agreed on a name (we have a thing for M names - Molly,
Murphy). I think we've agreed that she looks like a Maggie, and I'm even
going to bring her over there on Sunday to visit. That's an unexpected
turn - puppies have some unexplainable magical power or something.
Bringing an 8-week old puppy into my life is a big, big deal and will lead to
some needed restructuring and re-prioritizing. Mark my words.
BTW - I updated my
Upcoming Events page to
reflect my calendar for the rest of the year. I'll try to keep it updated
I have allowed the wave of response
to pregnant trans-man Thomas Beatie to rise and fall without much comment.
There has been the nasty garbage that you'd expect as well as some supportive,
positive stuff. The Beaties have been mercifully quiet and unavailable
which has given things some time to quiet down.
There was an article in yesterday's
Boston Globe by a conservative columnist named Jeff Jacobey titled "Pregnant,
yes - but not a man". In it you'll find the same tired misuse of
pronouns, attacks on Mr. Beatie's gender, reminders that Gender Identity
Disorder is listed in the DSMIV, and comparisons to polygamist sex and incest
that we've come to expect. He doesn't leave many stones unturned.
Gender Identity Disorder is not
"incredible," no matter how politically fashionable it has become to
claim otherwise. It is not just another hue in the rainbow of
diversity. It is a dysfunction. It should be met with sympathy,
counseling, and therapy, not with five-page spreads in People and
appearances on "Oprah."
Headlines notwithstanding, there is
no "pregnant man." There is only a confused and unsettled woman, who
proclaims that surgery, hormones, and clothing made her a man, and
is clinging to that fiction even as the baby growing in her womb
announces her womanhood to the world.
I have no problem with Mr. Jacobey
sharing his opinions with the world other than to lament the fact that we don't
all have platforms like the Boston Globe from which to send our message. The
good news is that it doesn't really matter what he thinks, whether he accepts
Thomas Beatie as a man or not, or even that he's got an opinion on the subject
at all. He doesn't get to make those decisions or to define who or what
any of us are. No matter how loud he screams or how many cliches he adds nothing
that he says or does will change that. I personally take great joy in
celebrating my trans-ness to people like him and I feel no need whatsoever to
argue with them. Sometimes, a simple little "ki$$ my a$$" smile is all it takes.
To all the NCTE Lobby Day
participants who will be heading to Capitol Hill tomorrow - best of luck to you.
Thousands of us who wish we could there are with you in spirit. If you
feel like sharing your Lobby Day experience feel free to sent it along.
I'm happy to post whatever I get here.
One last thing. When I was at
IFGE a little over a week go I used one of the computers in the lobby (the one
closest to the front desk). I have a little USB drive that I carry in my
purse that had a document that I needed so I put it into the USB slot on the
back of the computer. Needless to say, I forgot it. I've called the
hotel about it and they transferred me to lost and found but so far - nothing.
If you live in Tucson and ever travel near the Doubletree I'd be interested to
know whether it's sill in the back of the computer or not (It's a Cruizer Mini).
There's some stuff on there that I'd rather not lose...
Sunday, April 13, 2008
expect I'll have another entry later but may as well start the day by saying a
couple of things so I don't forget.
Obviously, I'm not in Washington DC
at the moment. NCTE Lobby Days happen tomorrow and Tuesday and despite my
best intentions I just can't get away from work to be there. I've got
major stakeholders from NYC coming to town this week and have critical meetings
that it would be very difficult for me to miss. It seems self-defeating to come
to Washington to lobby against transgender workplace discrimination and to lose
my job in the process - there's a balance there and this is one of those times
when I don't get to do what I want. The thing I can provide most is moral
support, so for those who will be participating know that I'm there with you in
spirit. If anyone who is there wants to send me updates on how things go
and their thoughts I'd be appy to post them here.
NCTE is hosting a reception to honor
the 6 members of Congress who are with us, and who voted against the
non-inclusive ENDA specifically because it wasn't inclusive. These heroes
were punished for this by receiving a negative score on HRC's Congressional
at reception at the National Press Club
(Washington, DC)- On Monday, April 14, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) will honor Rep. Jerrold Nadler and the other six members of Congress who stood unwavering in their support of gender identity protections. During last year's disappointing setback in the work to pass a unified Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), seven members of Congress remained true to their commitment to only support legislation that covered all LGBT people. By standing up for the broadest protections, they demonstrated their courage and commitment to ensuring that all people in this country should live free from discrimination.
NCTE will honor the Representatives for their steadfast work as allies. Representative Jerrold Nadler, of New York, will be present to receive his award and address the gathering. Also being recognized are Representatives Nydia Velasquez (New York), Rush Holt (New Jersey), Michael Michaud (Maine), Anthony Weiner (New York), Edolphus Towns (New York), and Yvette Clarke (New York).
"Achieving human rights in America is not only about people standing up and demanding to be treated with justice and dignity, it is also about working together with others who share our passion for equality," commented Mara Keisling, NCTE's Executive Director. "We are very proud to acknowledge Jerry Nadler for his long-time, rock solid support of the LGBT community. These members of Congress have consistently shown themselves to be outstanding and unwavering advocates for a more just, fair and safe America for all, including transgender people."
Representative Nadler began his political career in 1976 in the New York State Assembly. In 1992, Nadler was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election and in 2007 was given the honor of serving as the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Throughout his career, Nadler has been a champion of a host of progressive issues and is considered an unapologetic defender of those who might otherwise be forgotten. He is especially respected for his creative and pragmatic legislative approaches to problems.
The fact that there were mounted
police at the HRC protest in Houston last night is already getting quite a bit
of attention. I can't wait to see some photos of this - I hope someone took
some. I'd also like to hear how many of the local politicos attended (and
conversely, how many did not).
Upcoming HRC Dinners - in the next
few weeks - for those who are interested:
Denver (I spoke at this 2 years ago)
Most cities in this country hold
their PRIDE celebrations in June. Here in Phoenix it gets too hot in June
to have people outdoors like that so we hold ours early. It's going on
this weekend. Yesterday, they held the PRIDE Parade through downtown
Phoenix. One of the grand-marshals this year is Regina Wells, a local
trans-woman who started a halfway house for homeless transgender women.
For those who are interested, there are pics of yesterday's festivities in the
local paper today (see
a slideshow here). As usual, it looks very colorful.
It may come as a surprise to some
but most trans-people in my experience don't have much (as in - none) interest
in PRIDE events. We always see drag-queens as part of the overall "scene"
but most of the people that I know who self-identify as trans wouldn't cross the
street to visit a PRIDE. Many of us don't feel comfortable there for one
reason or another. Some don't feel welcome. Some don't feel any
affinity whatsoever with what happens there. And many are just plain
uncomfortable in that kind of a scene. I get that. Part of the
fallacy of "GLBT" is that we all have some kind of shared queer background when,
in fact, most of the trans-people I know have absolutely zero. Many are raised
in a straight world so suddenly being thrust into a queer one can have any
number of implications. I was no naive about this stuff that I had no clue
as to what a rainbow flag meant until I went to San Francisco for my FFS and was
strolling around the Castro. I have attended several PRIDEs around the
country and particularly enjoyed Atlanta and Austin.
I need to go and finish my taxes.
Safe travels to all who are going to Washington DC for Lobby Day.
Phyllis sent some photos from the HRC Dinner protest in Houston from last
evening. Somehow, as I look at all this ill-advised overkill aimed at
transgender people who remain justifiably angry about HRC's actions around ENDA
last fall, and at the ongoing disrespect we face at the highest levels of the
organization, one phrase pops into my mind: Don't taze me, Bro!
Thank God I'm not a tax-payer in
Houston. I can't imagine having to pay for this.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
As I typed the date at the beginning of this entry I realized that tomorrow is
my ex-wife's birthday. That normally wouldn't spark much interest any more
except for the fact that she surprised me by calling me on my birthday to give
good wishes. I'll do the same for her tomorrow.
I had one of these deep discussions
with a friend at the IFGE Conference in Tucson last week about love. She
believes that love doesn't end - that once it's there it endures. I, on
the other hand, don't believe that for a second. Love is like a plant -
when it's nurtured it thrives, when it's neglected and kept in darkness it dies. There
was a time when I had far more romantic notions about the endurance of love, commitment, and
the entire notion of "soul-mates". I've explained before that life experience has replaced them with more realistic and
manageable expectations. That said, however, I hope to meet someone
somewhere someday who renews my faith in some of those things....
One thing I'll be writing about
shortly are some of the life skills that I have found have been helpful for me
while navigating the sometimes difficult waters of finding inner peace as a
transgender person. We tend to focus on things specifically dealing with
the gender aspects but other things: anger management, discipline, dealing with
fear, being able to
go with the flow, self-awareness - they're all critical for getting through
difficult times in general and coming to terms with being transgender certainly
applies in that regard. Sometimes it's important to brush up on life
skills in order to face life challenges.
I was sitting in the restaurant at
the Doubletree in Tucson having breakfast with Marti Abernathy last Sunday and
someone approached the table to chat. I don't remember the specifics of
the conversation other than she told me how happy she was to wake up each
morning as her authentic self and she liked to start her day by listening to a
song that symbolized her happiness. I was truly happy for her, and told
her that I often start my my morning with music, too. But the morning
music that tends to fill my car as I drive across the Valley is generally harsher
and darker than that. I
explained her one of my favorite early-morning make-yer-ears-bleed tunes is
"Break Stuff" by Limp Bizkit. She had never heard of it but Marti obviously
the video for it here). Sometimes, it just fits.
Speaking of IFGE, one thing in
particular that struck me this year were the number of supportive spouses and
significant others there. I can't even imagine a world where my ex-wife
would have been supportive in any way, shape, or form - much less go to one of
these conferences. But every year we're seeing more and more people who
share this journey and who learn about their own selves in the process. It
fills me with hope that more of us can avoid the pain of losing loving,
committed relationships to people who never even gave us a chance.
Congratulations and thanks to all the amazing couples and families there.
My dear friends at Trans Youth
Family Allies (TYFA) have launched a fund-raising drive. TYFA works with
trans youth and their families and recent visibility has stretched them to the
limit. They need $$$ to continue to do what they do so well, and the work
they're doing is so so important. The minimum donation is only $15. In my
way of thinking if most of the 1,000 or so people who visit here every day can
donate $15 to a specific worthy, under-funded, cause every couple of months we
can turn into quite the army of philanthropists.
The link to donate to TYFA is here. They've already raised a little
over $1,000 so far. Let's see if we can't help push them over the $5,000
mark by the time it ends on April 20. Thanks for helping.
Phyllis Frye has already sent an
update on the protest at the HRC Dinner in Houston tonight. It reads as
Phyllabuster: HRC goes petty:
directs security to escort educators out
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) just
got more petty and immature in responding to protests of its actions
last fall that clearly divided a once united GLBT community.
As we arrived at the site for the
Houston protest of the HRC fundraiser this Saturday, April 12th
afternoon, we were told by hotel security that HRC had changed its
mind about our attempts to educate.
We would be allowed to enter
(without signs or banners, which we had never planned to bring
inside). If we went directly to the event located on the second
floor, we could hand out our lapel stickers that read, "GLBT & ENDA:
United, Not Divided: I Support FULL Transgender Inclusion." And we
could engage in conversation and educate those people who wanted to
listen and learn.
So we walked around, outside the
hotel for over an hour, carrying signs and visiting with each other.
It was very festive.
The Houston Police gave us NO
trouble. There were two very minor incidents where officers got a
bit testy, but when I called their OIC, those officers were told
they were wrong and to stop being testy with us. The rest of the
force were very polite to us.
We joked amongst ourselves that we
hardly warranted the riot barricades or the eight horse-mounted
officers or the other preparations and personnel. But the police
felt it was better to be prepared than not.
The hotel had a guard at each door
and along several parts of the sidewalk. They had placed traffic
It was surreal -- all that effort
for just little ole, inoffensive us.
After we had watched a lot of folks
enter for the HRC event and it approached the planned 6 PM
beginning, three of us entered the hotel, prepared to chat and
educate for the hour before the 7 PM dinner, using our stack of 3 x
2 lapel stickers to initiate conversation.
We were met at the top of the
escalator by an HRC official wearing a cream colored business skirt
and coat. I asked if this was the HRC event area, and she said yes.
So I offered someone a lapel sticker. I was immediately corrected,
"No, not here, but here (she was indicating a place 18 inches away
on the other side of a rope). Hotel security was poised nearby.
So we walked along the rope to an
opening and around to the other side of the rope. I then offered
another lapel sticker. An HRC man with a pink tie, a pink vest and
dyed blonde hair (clearly who would be discriminated against on the
basis of "gender expression") said, "No, not here, but here
(pointing us back to the initial place that we had just left).
I pulled out my cell phone.
Immediately, the HRC guy told the hotel security to escort us out of
the hotel. An event photographer took a photo as the hotel security
closed and asked us to leave. There was no hustle. The security was
polite. But we had to leave at HRC's direction and insistence!
So we did our gig outside until 7
PM. The weather was beautiful. During this part of our gig when we
had planned to be inside educating, some friends drove up and
lowering their window, asked how it was going. I told them about
being escorted out at the direction of HRC when I began to offer
lapel stickers. Our friends took a stack of lapel stickers and said,
"They won't ask us to leave!"
As our group was packed up and
leaving, I got a phone call that HRC had finally agreed to allow us
to come in now -- after 7 PM, when all the cocktail chatty and
education time was finished and folks would be sitting down to eat
and hear a program. Or we could come back at 10 PM to offer folks
our stickers as they left the event.
After being jerked around by HRC for
the past hour, we were not about to submit ourselves to another
trick or lie. We left to refresh and reflect at the nearby eatery.
NOTE: Protests against HRC are being
planned for New Orleans and Phoenix. I will send info when I get it.
Oy. I expect there will be
more on this in coming days. Friends from Austin, Killeen, and up near
Dallas traveled to Houston to participate.
Changing gears - I got quite a bit accomplished
today. I'm almost caught up on email which is a miracle considering how
far behind I was. My car got new brakes. I ran 5 miles. I met
with someone teetering at the front end of her transition for coffee. I
did a shopping and spent an hour browsing shoes at DSW. I had a nice low carb
dinner and spent some time tinkering on my "other" blog (it's
coming along - still need to be able to upload photos before I flip the
switch). Those are the mundane things that make a peaceful Saturday.
I'll close tonight by sharing
something I saw on my run today. There was a family of ducks in one of the
small ponds outside a bank. I couldn't help but stop and take a picture.
I may not believe in endless love, and I may listen to some edgy music from time
to time, but I'm still a romantic at heart (and I'm a sucker for fuzzy little
Friday, April 11, 2008
The first thing that popped into my fuzzy brain when I woke up this morning is
that it's Friday - almost the weekend - and I'm in the comfort of my own bed for
a change. What a concept! So, as I sip my first cup of morning
coffee I have a couple of thoughts to share.
The first is to add something to Mr.
Joe's statement that he underestimated the level of pain that their ENDA
decision would cause. Even if you can believe that, has anyone seen
anything resembling compassion or contrition from Joe or the organization at any
time since last fall? The appropriate response for causing that kind of
pain should have been to offer a public apology to the entire GLBT community for
being the source of that pain, acknowledging that promises were broken and that
many in the family are feeling angry and betrayed. To me that's a
no-brainer (plus, it's just good manners), especially for a group that considers itself a "Human Rights"
organization. These kinds of organizations have an extra core
responsibility to be (or at least, to appear) Compassionate to people it wants
to believe are part of its family. Unfortunately, the organization's
compassion is in the same place that it's integrity, its credibility, its
relevance, and its right to speak in any way, shape, or form on trans issues is.
It's gone. They call the police on people who are upset about it and who
want to have a voice. Who's responsible for that? Leadership. Joe is.
In the interview Joe recognizes that the way to begin the healing isn't through
words, but through action. I'm stating the obvious here, but this isn't
the kind of action that will achieve that.
So, if you distill all those words
down into a short single sentence it would read something like: "We didn't
realize the level of hurt that our ENDA decision would cause but we stand by it
and, in fact, will do it again." The rest is just window dressing.
I've said in the past that I won't
focus on negatives and I meant it. So, here's a positive suggestion.
HRC can convene something it could call "ENDA Together" or something similar and
actually try to engage transgender leaders to be part of the process. They
could actually engage transgender communities at the steering committee level to
proactively develop educational opportunities so they don't have to call the
police to keep us away. They could be more forthcoming in working as a
collaborative partner rather than dictating to us what they'll allow or do.
There has been no effort to engage as equals, and everything that happens is
suspect because it's done behind a veil of secrecy. I've suggested many of
these things before and nothing has happened. So, when Joe says that
healing will come through actions not through words I'm wondering specifically
what actions he's talking about. The non-actions so far speak volumes.
Autumn Sundeen wrote an entry on
Pam's House Blend titled "Which
Democratic Candidate Would Fight Harder for a Trans-Inclusive ENDA?"
Based on recent statements, she concludes that neither would. I agree.
That's not to say that both wouldn't prefer it, but neither is willing to
put the weight of their office behind it. That doesn't dull my commitment
or my confidence that the right thing will happen, or diminish my efforts to
help get us there. As with my transition, I've learned that the things you
appreciate most in life are the things you have to work hardest to achieve.
I'm fully confident that a fully-inclusive ENDA will be one of those things, and
it will be a lasting legacy to future generations of us that speaks as much
about value and self-worth as it does about employment discrimination.
Lastly, I got an email yesterday
from Dr. Jillian Weiss who many of us know and respect for her wonderful
workplace leadership. It says:
Hi - I've got a
reporter interested in writing an article on transition in the small
business environment. She would like to talk to employers and/or
persons who transitioned in a small business environment. That would
include everything from a tiny organization to $100 million in
sales. If you know someone who might be interested, give me a shout.
I need to get the day going.
Happy Friday to all....
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Michigan is in the spotlight tonight for a couple of reasons:
By a vote of 8-1, the Detroit
City Council voted to amend the city's non-discrimination ordinance to cover
transgender people. It already covered lesbians and gays. One news
article states that the Detroit-based Triangle Foundation "worked for 17
years to get an all inclusive ordinance" (read
it here). Bravo to Detroit and those who worked so long and hard
to make this happen.
The local GLBT paper in Detroit
is "Between the Lines". HRC prez Joe Solmonese recently sat down for a
"wide ranging 45 minute interview" with a reporter there. The end
result is an article titled "HRC
leader stands by non-inclusive ENDA decision". There's very
little new there except for the fact that I get the exact same disgusted
feeling hearing Joe say he was surprised at the level of pain their
wrong-headed ENDA decision caused that I felt when Thomas Beatie said he had
no idea that the pregnant-man story would cause such a fuss. Both
chose not to heed people who passionately warned them of the implications,
and both excuses are equally implausible and unacceptable.
Speaking of HRC, their Houston gala
happens this weekend. Houston is home to Phyllis Frye, and if there's
anyone who's frustration with HRC exceeds my own it's Phyllis. She has
been planning a protest event at the dinner for weeks. If you could see
behind the scenes you'd see an operation that looks almost like a SWAT
assessment of entrances, access points, command centers, and opportunities.
She's not shy about sharing it all, either, and a recent Phyllibuster email went
out with all the details. Apparently, someone in HRC Central wasn't happy
about it and called the Houston Police who paid a visit to Ms. Frye.
Monica Roberts explains in detail on Bilerico.
Earlier this week some of the local
trans community approached 2 Board Members in Houston hoping to set up an
educational initiative similar to the one that was so successfully done in
Austin earlier this year. They were told that if HRC allows them to do
that then they'll have to do it for other groups who might ask, as well.
You guessed it - they were denied.
I'm wondering if the
soon-to-be-hired Transgender Diversity person could or would have been able to
help them avert these two blunders.
One other topic...
There was a story on NPR today about
the transgender talk-show host in India (read/hear
it here). When do you think we'll have something similar in this
country. In our lifetime?
With that - it's time for bed.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
As I have mentioned in the past, as a GLAAD Board Member I receive an email
every day to something called The Interface that is vault of GLBT
news/opinion/media from around the country. One particular story from
yesterday that begs discussion was a multimedia segment from The View on Thomas
Beatie, the pregnant trans man.
Barbara Walters indicates that she
spoke with the couple over the weekend and, as she says, "they have some fears,
to say the least." But the rest of what she says he says couldn't be more
false and stinks of self-indulgent hypocracy.
"I found them very sweet and naive"
Barbara says. "They had no idea that this was going to cause a stir.....He
thought that this would help people understand. They don't see anything
strange about this." Does anyone anywhere believe this? Even for a
second?? They knew all too well the ruckus that this would cause and, in
fact, did what they could to orchestrate it. Understand this well - during
the weeks before the initial interview in the Advocate every major GLBT group in this country tried to talk him out of going pubic with this
because everyone knew where this was going to go. That effort is a story
in and of itself and the lengths to which these efforts went are truly
remarkable. The Beaties didn't want to hear any of it and had their mind
set from the beginning.
Barbara continues: "What they are
worried about now is the legal ramifications. Are they legally married?
The greatest threat to them is that their marriage could be taken away - they
never thought that would be a possibility. Could the IRS come after them?
They filed joint returns - if their marriage is dissolved what happens to that?
What about their life insurance, inheritance, all these different things.
What's going to be on the birth certificate when the baby is born? "
When one of the other hosts questions "Shouldn't they have thought about these
things before they got pregnant?" Barbara responds - "None of this
occurred to them."
Bullsh*t it didn't. Every
single one of these things, and more, was explained to them in painstaking
detail. They just didn't want to hear it, or believe that it could
actually happen. To feign ignorance at this point strips any sense of (a)
credibility and (b) sympathy that they may at one time had and is an insult to
people who may now find themselves affected by this mess. I completely
support their right to get pregnant in non-traditional ways. I even
support their right to make their story public. What I can't find a way to
support is crass commercialism masquerading as more virtuous motivation, and
lies served as feigned ignorance over the the ramifications. The key
concept here, as it is throughout much of my writing , is accountability.
What a mess.
My fellow Bilerico contributor Marti
shared her IFGE experience online today (read
My big-sister, Kate, called me a
couple of weeks ago to tell me about a movie that she had just seen on the
Sundance Channel called "Red
Without Blue". It's sort of a documentary about a couple of twin boys
and at one point one of them decides to transition (see
the IMDB entry here). She thought is was very well done. Anyway,
the entire movie is available online for those who have a little time on their
hands (70 minutes).
Watch the movie here. It's worth watching.
Speaking of watching - I've been
surfing on YouTube a little and there are some interesting, fun videos.
Somehow, I always end up veering towards music. Anyway - here are a few I
came across in 10 minutes of looking:
This stuff can be addicting.
Good thing I'm heading off to bed.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
I don't know why I'm still up - I should have been in bed an hour ago. I
went out with a group of other women from work for Happy Hour and didn't get
home until 9 which makes for a long day. Somehow I usually need a bit of a
"wind-down" period after I get home so that's what this is.
The day had a wonderful beginning.
I left the house fairly early to drop a friend who has been visiting off at the
airport, and stopped for breakfast and one of my favorite little places in
Scottsdale. I bumped into someone from Dr. Meltzer's office who I haven't
seen in quite a while there and enjoyed catching up with her over coffee and an
omelet before heading to Scottsdale Community College for my 9am talk there.
The talk went fine and I was at work for my noon meeting. The rest of the
day just seemed to flow, as well.
I've been seriously investigating
replacing this trusty "do-it-yourself" blog with a more formal blog for quite
some time now, as I've discussed in the past. Although I get close to
actually making it happen and even started what I consider a testing period I
find I'm not familiar enough with the tools to overcome what I perceive as
limitations to make the final cut-over so I never actually do it. So, I'm
still on this home-grown thing with which I've become comfortable, but that
in many ways needs to retire. The bottom line is that the move to DonnaBlog 2.0 is
nearly at hand. At least I think it is....
Since returning from IFGE I've
installed a blog package on DonnaRose.com. It was a relatively painless
process the new Blog page is up and running in the background. The next
step is to choose a "theme" for it from one of the thousands available.
That has proven to be time-consuming as there are several that appeal to me and
would work but I haven't found one that has everything I'd like yet. One
of the keys for me is to keep it simple - I don't like blog pages that are
cluttered with too much stuff. The minimalist in me stresses the fact that
most of the blog page needs to be available to for content and fancy graphics,
fonts, or other fluffery are more of a distraction than an asset.
I'll be testing various themes over
the next few days so if you want to get a preview what I'm looking at feel free
to visit it:
www.donnarose.com/MyBlog. My friend Marti knows about these things and
has been very patient and helpful in explaining some of the more technical
aspects and answering my questions so I expect she'll be hearing from me later
today. I hope to make the decisions that need to be made by the beginning
of next week and on the new platform by then.
Before leaving I do want to say
something about this transgender Diversity position that HRC is interviewing
for. I've had several people email me to ask my opinion. Honestly
and truly - I have no opinion other than to be careful. I can see any
number of reasons that it would be a good thing just as I can see any number of
reasons that it won't. I'm probably not a good person to ask because I
continue to have strong emotional feelings about what happened, both to me
personally as well as to our broader community, last fall. I do my best to
control them but to be perfectly honest very little, if anything, has happened
since then to change them. Time has certainly not dulled them. I've
just gotten better at being quiet about it.
This position has been in the works
for a couple of years and there was a time when I would have been tremendously
excited about the potential it provides. Although it is still very much
needed across the broader scope of Foundation programs any excitement about it
has been drained for me. Everything the organization does with regards to
transgender work has been tainted in the mind of the broader community. Any shred of credibility is gone,
the first thing that always comes to mind is to wonder what ulterior motive
is at play, or when the next pivotal decision point will unmask it all for what
it is. I'm a positive person and wish I could offer a brighter
perspective, but I'm not the one who caused all this.
In my resignation letter I stated
that "Principle is not for compromise". I believe that to my core. I
continue to hold the organization accountable for its actions and the word
"immoral" has come from my lips more than once. There are people I know,
some of whom I consider dear friends, who have found a way around that and
that's for them to reconcile with themselves. I'm comfortable with the
path I'm on right now and until something changes I'll stay on it. I have
effectively rendered HRC to be irrelevant in my world, finding other
collaborative dance partners with whom to work on the efforts we all hold dear. A significant learning from last fall is that there is a significant un-balance
of power across the GLBT advocacy landscape so anything I can do to raise others
in that equation is healthy. My own personal strategy in that regard is to
raise others up rather than to tear HRC down. They don't need my help to
do that. They can do it themselves just fine.
Back to the question of his
particular position - they're already on the second round of interviews.
If you're interested and pursuing this, good luck. I can't say enough nice
things about the folks in the Diversity organization. All I can offer to
you is (a) if you don't have thick skin, grow some because you'll need it and
(b) be careful what you ask for.
Monday, April 7, 2008
I'm in the process of resuming my efforts to move my blog to a more conventional
blog platform. I've grown comfortable using the rudimentary tools at my
disposal here but it's time to make the move. I've got a couple of options
and expect to do this sometime in the next week or so. Stay tuned.
One of the local Tucson television
stations did a report from IFGE last week:
I'm giving a talk for a class at Scottsdale
Community College tomorrow. I did it a couple of years ago and enjoyed it.
The professor saw an article about me in the local paper and tracked me down.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
I did something this afternoon that I haven't done in I-don't-know-how-long.
I took a nap. I got home from IFGE in Tucson (only 100 miles away) sat
down, realized how tired I was, and crawled into bed for a couple of hours.
It was wonderful; apparently I was more tired than I realized.
I met some wonderful people at the
conference. Some I've spoken with online. Others I was just
fortunate enough to bump into, or came up to me to introduce themselves.
It makes me think back to how many of the people I consider dear friends at this
stage of my life I first met at conferences like these. In addition to
making new friends it's gratifying to see how far people I've met in previous
years have come in their own journeys. We often talk about community.
In a very real sense, in a way it's about family.
One thing happened in particular at
this conference that I feel compelled to comment about. During lunch on
Saturday a number of individual awards called the Trinity Awards. IFGE
identifies their Trinity Awards as honoring the transgender community’s heroes
and heroines, people who have performed extraordinary acts of courage and love.
I was humbled to be given a Trinity Award at IFGE last year.
One of the winners this year is a
personal friend who I respect and admire for 20+ years of dedicated service to
the community. Her comments, however, seem to represent the thinking of an
older time and, in fact, landed with a resounding thud (that's an
understatement) on the assembled 300+ people attending the lunchtime ceremony.
The initial thrust of her words were that transgender people need to integrate
into broader society - something I think most of us can agree with to varying
degrees. But when she said that trans-men needed to put on suits and join
the local Rotary and the Lion Club, and trans-women needed to look and behave
like women so they could join women's groups like the National Organization of
Women, there was an audible groan - me included.
A message of conforming to
stereotypes is something that, perhaps, at one time made sense.
Transgender people faded into society out of necessity. However, we've
matured and our perceptions of ourselves and the broader ideals at play have
changed. The message of today has evolved from simply being about gender
to a broader one of freedom and about self. It is about
breaking free from binaries and stereotypes to simply be whoever you are.
To judge anyone as not being, looking, or acting appropriately "manly" or
"womanly" enough based on someone's arbitrary standard of gender would be to
stoop to the same stale stereotypes so many of us work so hard to break.
This Trinity Award winner deserves
thanks and respect for all she has achieved. She announced "retirement"
from activism to pursue more personal goals - something I think we all aspire to
do at some point. I wish her the best in that.
All in all, my conference experience
was an enjoyable one. The weather was as close to perfect as you can get.
The hotel was very nice - quiet, comfortable beds, beautiful grounds, friendly
staff. The presenters and topics were diverse. A number of people
who came for the conference extended their stays to visit the Grand Canyon,
Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon, Prescott, and any number of the places and sights we
enjoy here. I had more than one person comment that they hope IFGE returns
here sometime soon. Apparently, it's scheduled to be in Washington DC (or,
more accurately - Alexandria, VA) over the next couple of years but I'd love to
see an opportunity for a late winter/early spring event here in Arizona.
Perhaps that's something worth seriously thinking about.
One new friend posted something on
her blog about the event. More specifically, it was about me at the
it here). Her kind words are certainly appreciated and I can't help
but smile about all the events of the past few days. I've been on the
Atkins Diet for the past couple of weeks so I'm proud at avoiding the cheese
cake, the chocolate cake, and the various other temptations over the past few
days (including alcohol, although I generally find these things more fun with a
drink or two). From doing balancing work and conference on Thursday and
Friday to the event at Old Tucson Studio to hanging out with friends to going
for a run around the park across the street from the hotel - no wonder I needed
a nap this afternoon. :)
Others are already sharing their
thoughts of events and experiences here, as well. For those of us who
consider ourselves "veterans" of these kinds of things it's easy to overlook the
profound impact that they can and do have on people attending for the first
time, and there were lots of first-timers there. One such glimpse is
provided by Jason, an FTM who maintains a blog of his experiences and who
attended IFGE on Thursday and Friday (read
his thoughts here). Kudos to Jason for his honesty and his willingness
I'll close by sharing a couple of
the photos I was taking when Lori caught up with me by the gardens (as she
explained in her blog). There's always time to slow down to appreciate the
beauty of nature - I couldn't let it pass without capturing it. Welcome to
Springtime in the Desert.....
Saturday, April 5, 2008
Remember a few weeks ago when HRC was nominated for a "Pink Brick" Award by the
San Francisco Pride Committee? The Award is awarded annually to people or
organizations who have proven themselves to be particularly unfriendly to the
The "winner" of the award was announced last week, and is
media loudmouth Bill O'Reilly. His is consistently ignorant about pretty
much everything he talks about, as exemplified by his most recent comments about
pregnant trans-man Thomas Beatie - (see
it here). MSNBC was particularly ignorant, as well (see
it here). They're certainly not alone and it's certainly not
unexpected but it hasn't been as bad as I expected. If you really want
some fun go to Oprah's website and
the comments people have posted about the show. She's got a whole
little section dedicated to the show (see
it here) so if you missed it and want to see a clip or some photos - that's
The Kansas City city council
unanimously voted to expand the city's non-discrimination policy to include
transgender people (details
The IFGE Conference is going well.
Jamison Green provided the text of his opening keynote (read
it here). I'm doing a workshop late this afternoon, and have been asked to
be the MC at the dinner this evening. We'll see how that goes....
Gotta run again. My
electrologist and dear friend, Maria, is presenting a workshop at 9:15 that I
wouldn't miss for anything. :)
Friday, April 4, 2008
I had a full work-day today. Somehow, it all came together. The good
news is that I camped myself out on the restaurant veranda where I could enjoy
the spring warmth, the fragrant spring air, all of the color, and just generally
soak up the day. Although Fridays are busy work days, the fact I could to
most of it outdoors made it almost actually fun.
Now I can concentrate on what's left
of the Conference - after I go for a run.
Here are a couple of photos from the
conference so far. The one on the left is from Old Tucson Studios last
night (Dr. Michelle Angelo, Monica from Colage, me), and the other is from lunch
today (Dr. Christine McGinn and her girlfriend, me, Dr. Angelo). If you're
here and you've seen me over the past couple of days I most likely have been
attached to my laptop. It's time for the weekend to begin!
The downside is that I've been on
Atkins since Easter so I'm high protein/very low carbs right now. That
means no alcohol, even though an ice cold Margarita is feeling like it's just
what the doctor ordered to cap off the week. <Sigh>. Oh well.
I'll have more stuff later. I
need to get out for my run before it gets too late.
This entry will be short and sweet because I've got to get the day going.
I arrived in Tucson for the 2008
IFGE Conference yesterday morning. At the opening Plenary yesterday the
mayor of Tucson welcomed everyone and warned about rattle snakes and other
desert critters that take a vacation in the winter but reappear in the spring.
And, the keynote was delivered by Jamison - all about welcoming diversity in our
community - and it was as always - powerful and on target.
I've been balancing my need to stay
plugged into things going on at work and things happening here at the conference
which doesn't make me happy but it's the reality of the need for balance in my
world right now. Lots is happening there and I need to manage it - it's
that simple. I'm fortunate to be able to do it remotely and it's going
well so that's not the problem. It's just that I wish I could focus my
complete attention here. I expect to be able to do that later today.
I spoke during lunch and talked a
bit about corporate work before presenting this year's Diversity Award. I
shared some of the exciting things that are coming up, and I spent a few minutes
talking about what happened during ENDA and why it was so important.
Anyway - I thought it went well.
The big event of the evening was a
trip to Old Tucson studios in the outskirts of the city for an evening of fun.
It's a complete western town that has been used as a movie set in dozens of
movies and has all the things you'd expect from a western park - gunfights,
dancing girls, etc. Amanda Simpson and I had our photo taken in saloon
girl attire - it's cute. I'll share it here if I can scan it.
The talk of the day was that Thomas
Beatie appeared on Oprah yesterday. I've seen parts of it and from
everything I've seen and heard Oprah did a pretty good job with it. I'll
write more (a) when I have more time and (b) after I've had a chance to see the
entire thing. My friend Eden called afterwards to share her thoughts and
provided them in her blog (read
it here). If you want to see more all you need to do is go to Google -
Before the Oprah show aired I
got an email from a friend who said some unkind things about the Beatie
situation. How it made her ashamed and how she felt she needed to distance
herself from it. I responded to her, and my response is as true now as it
was before he was on Oprah:
I agree that everyone has the right
to be treated with respect, and that includes Mr. Beatie, his wife,
and his child. Mr. Beatie represents many in our community who
cannot or choose not to fit into the neat little boxes of masculine
and feminine simply for the sake of making other people comfortable.
As long as he conducts himself with dignity and respect, he has my
total support and I in no way feel that he is anything but
courageous and brave.
Culture change starts with expanding
the discussion of what is "normal". Whether it's interracial
marriage, or women in the workplace, or any number of other things
that we accept as commonplace today there has got to be a first. I
understand that many will seize upon this opportunity to ridicule,
to question, to attack, and to undermine many of the things we
struggle to achieve. However we cannot abandon brothers and sisters
simply because they're trying to achieve the same things that others
take for granted - they just take a bit of a different path to get
I find it to be the height of
hypocrisy that the message of the day is "education", that we need
to tell our stories, but in the same breath there are those who
would decide which stories are "normal" enough to be told. Our
experience is broad and sometimes overflows the boundaries of
traditional or even acceptable. The bottom line here is that Mr.
Beatie and his wife wanted a child, she couldn't carry it, he could,
they made a decision, and they're proud of that. I can't find
anything to fault them about.
I'm sorry if their efforts impact
you in negative ways. You know I respect your commitment and your
dedication. But at the same time as long as I'm comfortable that Mr.
Beatie is doing things for the right reasons he will have my respect
I have a dear friend who is trans
and has recently returned to the church. She goes to a church in her town,
and as far as she knows they don't know about her background. She's very
careful around them because she's concerned that, if they find out about her
trans history, they won't accept her there any more. I have asked her more
than once how she feels about going to a place where she believes that, if they
knew about here, she wouldn't be welcome? That same concept applies here.
Many of us live in a society where we can hide to varying degrees. We can
escape having to explain our unique histories because society accepts what it
sees, and we don't press the issue. But in reality, what we're saying is
that if society knew about us it wouldn't accept us in any number of aspects of
our lives. Going to an unaccepting church or hiding in an unaccepting
society are both borne out of the same prejudice and ignorance and if you can
frown upon one you have got to frown upon the other.
Gotta run. The day is already
ahead of me...
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
There were a couple of stories today on impending events that are worth
An Associated Press article implies
that Sen. Ted Kennedy is getting ready to move the non-inclusive version of ENDA
in the Senate (read
it here). I don't know that this is actually news, as we've known it
for quite a while. The question has never been if, it's when.
He said early on that he expected to introduce whatever version of the bill was
passed in the House, and we know how that turned out. Anyway, the story
doesn't indicate any impending movement of the bill but it makes it seem as
though something is happening. Is it a coincidence that this non-news came
out in the middle of another, more sensational, trans news frenzy? Oy.
Speaking of the news frenzy - get
ready. My DVR is already set to record Oprah tomorrow. There really
hasn't been much for the press to write about on this for the last week or so -
Thomas has an exclusive agreement with Oprah and People so he's laying low until
after the show tomorrow. That has probably been wise, and if he's smart
he'll continue that strategy indefinitely. In the absence of anything
resembling real news, the fact that he'll be on Oprah has become news (see
one of the articles here). Oprah generally treats us with compassion
(compared to others) and I can't imagine that she'll be hard on him. I
envision that there will be some kind of a doctor on the show to talk about the
medical aspects, and a psychologist to talk about the potential impacts on the
child. That's all just a guess - we'll see how close I am. I just
hope it comes off well. The implications are enormous.
David Letterman took an opportunity
to use his "Top 10 List" last night as "Messages Left on Pregnant Man's
Answering Machine". He called Thomas an "androgynous freak show" - I don't
know how anyone can perceive that as funny. (See
it here). Unfortunately, I expect that kind of crap will be more
rampant than any of us wants to believe by the weekend. I've been getting emails from people
back-pedaling from the story for the better part of a week now. I'm not
For anyone who is interested, the
GLAAD Media Awards in LA are coming up at the end of the month. They
recently announced that Ellen DeGeneres will be presenting the Vanguard Award to
Janet Jackson in what promises to be an exciting event at the Kodak Theater (April
1 Press Release here). I've still got a couple of seats at my table so
if you're in the area (or can get there) and want to sit there let me know.
It should be a blast.
There's an interview with comedian
Margaret Cho in The Edge in Boston this week. She'll be performing there
over the weekend, and had some important words about the transgender community:
When asked about the
marginalization of the transgender community, specifically the lack
of female-to-male (F-to-M) portrayals in pop culture, Cho’s tone
transforms from playful to passionately articulate.
"They’re the people who face the
most homophobia, the most hatred and the most violence," she emotes.
"They’re the area of our community that needs to be protected and
nurtured the most because of heterosexual fear.’
I saw a young dog that intrigued me
online on Monday. It was a German Shepard/Golden Lab mix that had been
picked up as a stray and was in the custody of the county Animal Control.
I called about it and got some details so I could check back with them after
IFGE. Worried that they might euthanize the poor thing I called back today
to see if he was ok. I was relieved (and a little disappointed) to learn
that he had been adopted this morning.
I'll be heading to Tucson to attend
IFGE in the morning. It's too hectic to try to pack and get down there
this evening. I'll be balancing my job and my attendance at the conference
for the next couple of days in the unique pull and tug that is my life. I
had meetings from 9 this morning straight thru until 5 this afternoon, and had
to meet my son for a quick lunch. I've got a meeting with the Singapore
team in the morning and a couple of other obligations later in the day as well.
Friday is status reporting so I'll be busy making sure that gets done before I
show my face much at the conference. Anyway, my main goal is to get as
much video of people sharing their stories as possible so we'll see how it goes.
I booked a vacation today. A
friend wrote to tell me that she made arrangements to go to Hawaii in early July
and that her girlfriend can't go so she's got an extra spot. I've been
tracking airfare and it reached a long-time low this morning so I booked it.
I'll be on the Big Island for a week over July 4. I'm thrilled.
Perhaps it's no coincidence that my last vacation was at Glacier National Park
and that, too, was over July 4 this past year.
I've been looking at some of the
photos I took while were were at Glacier and am just loving them. They
represent the opposite of frenzy. In my
never ending appreciation of the simple peace and beauty of nature, here are a couple I
particularly like because of the colors. Enjoy -
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Happy April Fool's Day. The good news is that nobody tried to fool me
today, and I didn't try to fool anyone either.
I can only write for a couple of
minutes because the crowd is beginning to gather here in AZ for the IFGE
Conference in Tucson this week so I've got to go to the airport to pick up some
friends. Tucson is maybe 100 miles from here and I'll most likely head
down there this time tomorrow, after work.
I got the job description and other
particulars for the HRC Assoc. Director of Diversity that I mentioned yesterday.
Here it is.
I provided Cuc's contact information in yesterday's post so feel free to contact
her with questions. She's one of the best things to happen internally in
the organization in a long time. My diversity co-chair, David Wilson, and
I fought long and hard to define the Chief Diversity Officer role and the make
sure it reported directly to the President. We interviewed candidates for
the better part of 9 months before we found the perfect person for the job -
that's Cuc. I can't believe she's only been there for a year - it seems
like forever ago. Anyway,
the job posting
will be online shortly.
That's about it for today.
Work is busy, but manageable. I'm looking forward to the craziness of the
conference this weekend (thankfully, it's close to home). Weather is good.
All things considered, I really can't complain. :)
I've got several things to say tonight.
First, I added the 2nd part of the
"Hope" series - photos of an Obama poster on an abandoned building in Austin -
to my comments from yesterday. Same theme, different angle.
Speaking of Barack, I wrote to the
GLBT steering committee leadership reminding them of my ask to be able to speak
with Sen. Obama for a couple of minutes. They wrote back promptly (a
pleasant difference from my experience on the Clinton side of the fence) and
assured me it is still being worked and that it is far from dead. We'll
Speaking of politics, a second major
"first" occurred last week. The first first occurred when Diego Sanchez
was named to the Platform committee of the Democratic National Convention by DNC
Chair Howard Dean (read
about it here). Now, Merissa Richmond has been named as a Delegate to
the convention from Tennessee (details
here). Trans people are getting involved in the political process like
never before, and we can only hope it pays dividends in the end. Anyway,
congratulations to the always wonderful Merissa.
I know I've taken a vow of silence
with regards to HRC but I'll share something that was forwarded to me - it
didn't come directly to me, mind you, but I feel comfortable sharing it.
When I was co-chair of diversity we worked hard to get funding for a role that
would provide transgender outreach as part of the Diversity organization.
That has happened, and they're looking for a trans-person to come and work at
HRC as an Associate Director of Diversity:
This is your friend
Cuc writing to let
you know that HRC
has just posted a
looking for a
who will join our
team and help HRC
and advocacy. I
appreciate your help
with getting the
word out and helping
us recruit great
All my best,
Cuc Vu |
| 202-572-8966 |
1640 Rhode Island
There was also a brief paragraph
indicating that a job description will be forthcoming (it's not up
on their website
yet, either). I will forgo any personal opinions other than to say that there
was a time when I would have seriously considered something like this there.
Contact Cuc if you want more information.
Speaking of corporate stuff, one of
my mantra's between now and the fall will be "Out and Equal". If you can
possibly go - GO. If you can't go - BEG. The annual
Workplace Summit is a transformative event to anyone who attends, so I urge
you to start bugging your HR/Diversity/Management people to get on the list of
attendees as soon as possible. They also offer scholarships to people who
can't afford to go so that's a viable route, as well.
They're accepting proposals for workshops so if you've
got something to share follow the link and download an application.
The deadline is May 9 so there's still a little time. I'm happy to
help anyone and everyone fine-tune topics you've got on your mind if you'd like
some help. Just say the word.
Since we're on the topic of workshop
proposals the Southern Comfort Conference is accepting workshop proposals, too.
Here's part of an email I received from them yesterday:
through October 5th
Welcome to the 2008
process! Every year
you help make this a
better and more
conference in the US
and perhaps the
world. This year
you have the
opportunity to help
us be even better.
We are in the same
hotel for the
conference this year
as last and the
planning process for
the 2008 conference
has begun and our
presenters are a
crucial part of the
success of Southern
Comfort. Every year
we make the
topics. This is the
first step and we
need your help.
You can cut and
paste this link in
your browser or just
click on it. Please
use only this form
as it will
publication of our
program guide and
Click on the
“Submit” button at
the bottom of the
form to submit your
proposal. Should you
contact me at
In order for us to
preparations for the
conference and meet
due by MAY 15, 2008.
This year there will
be NO exceptions to
Please complete the
form in its
feel free to cut and
paste your bio and
seminar summary in
the spaces provided.
If you are on a
panel, we need a
form for each
can be considered.
Southern Comfort rocks, so if you've
got something on your mind that you think needs to be discussed please submit a
proposal. We always need new and interesting topics and new presenters so
don't be shy. You'll be in good company.
As some my know I'm on the Board of
the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. They came to Southern
Comfort last year and came away from the experience jazzed about the
possibilities working with the trans community. They've been working
diligently behind the scenes ever since but the fruits of some of their work
will soon be available. It's exciting stuff. I'll go into some of it
in more detail in a future entry.
One of my fellow board members is
the Vice President of Communications for McDonalds USA. Apparently, one of
the right-wing groups isn't happy about that.
about it on their website today. Similarly, Focus on the Family
(think...James Dobson) has decided that lobbying Congress for workplace
discrimination protections is asking for "special" rights (read
it here) and are unhappy about NCTE Lobby Day coming up in a couple of
weeks. Their spokesperson calls us "hurting, but misguided".
As the week passes we'll get to the
Oprah show with Thomas Beatie on Thursday. Thomas is already getting a
significant amount of scrutiny,
a story in the Daily Mail in the UK is just the excruciating beginning.
Remember when I said it was a hurricane warning? Hold on tight.
A couple of other things.
Remember HB1722 in Massachusetts from a few weeks ago? After a heroic
effort to move it forward it was sent to committee for further review (details
here). Typically, that's where bills are sent to languish and die.
There is still hope that it will fight its way back, but as the headline says,
"history says otherwise".
Donna needs a companion and since
options seem pretty limited in that regard right now I expect that there will be
a dog in Donna's future. It may not be in my immediate future, but the
wheels are already in motion. Stay tuned on that.
Lastly, I saw a list that intrigued
me today. It's a list from Money Magazine of the Top 100 Cities in the US
to live and launch a business. It's got some surprises. (see
the list here). If you click on the city it tells you why it's such a
spent the morning making travel arrangements. April and early May have
many moving parts so getting from here to there to there sometimes takes quite a
bit of planning and a big dose of luck. I still haven't nailed everything
down yet but I'm better off than when I started.
I went to get my hair done on Friday
morning and the always wonderful Heather was telling me about her new boyfriend.
She explained how he still makes her feel all jello-y inside. I told her I
miss that. I haven't had that feeling in a long time. I got my hair
cut, too, and it's pretty short. My mom likes to tell me that the first
week after a new haircut it's too short, the next two weeks it's just right, and
the 4th week it's too long. She's usually right. Anyway, I'm wanting
a sassy angled bob by the summertime so we'll see how things progress.
Every once in a while something
jumps out to my photographic sensibility, and that happened as we drove down one
of the downtown streets in Austin. There was an old, gutted building (that
had some character) and on it there were a number of posters in various stages
of tatter. The only full poster was a drawing of Barack Obama, and the
only word on it was "Hope". I thought the symbolism was neat so we stopped
and took some photos of it. After playing with it for a couple of minutes
in the photo editor (made the background black and white - there wasn't much
color to start with, and saturated the colors in the posters a bit) here's the
A highlight of the weekend was being
able to attend a cook-out held by one of the local gals in Killeen (thanks
Autumn!). It's about an hour away from Austin, and a number of folks from
both Austin and Ft. Worth drove there to attend. Although I had only an
hour and a half to visit before I had to be back to the airport to catch my
flight I had a great time. My friend Michelle was there, celebrating her
first day full-time. She's amazing, lovely, incredibly nice and someone
I'm thrilled to be able to call a friend. I have no idea how she passed as
a guy for these past many months and I'm just thrilled for her that she doesn't
need to play that charade any more. I finally got to meet Kelli B., as
well, which was nice. All in all, it was fun, although all too brief.
A main landmark in Killeen is
Ft. Hood, a
huge Army Base. On our way to the cook-out we ended up on Tank Destroyer
Blvd., and sure enough there was a huge tank sitting there by the side of the
road. I don't know about anyone else, but I generally don't see armored
artillery in my day to day world. Anyway, it was interesting.
Contrast that with the fact
that I've got a
Mourning Dove nested on my back patio. She's up there night
and day and I expect she's probably sitting on something precious.
Mourning Doves are a symbol of Peace, and of Gentleness. I like to
think there's some symbolic reason that she's back there. I'm sure
it's just because it's a great place to build a nest.
In my own
life I still haven't found that perfect place to build my nest.
I'm still looking.
I've got a number of errands to run
so I'll need to go. More later...
I'm back from my 48 hour trip to Austin. I'll have some things to say
about it in tomorrow's post. For the moment I want to catch up on a couple
of news items from the past few days.
There was an article about Jenny
Boylan on CNN a couple of days ago (read
it here). It was generally well done and sensitive.
Unfortunately, it's over shadowed by the continuing frenzy over the "pregnant
man" story. It was on 20/20 last night, and I'm told it was on Nightline
as well. Oprah's website say that the Beaties will be on her show next
On other topics, there was recently
a Transgender Job Fair at the San Francisco GLBT Center. It was arranged
by the Transgender Law Center and received some positive press coverage (see
the CBS affiliate report here). The turnout and the response looks
wonderful. I hope we can arrange these kinds of things in other cities.
Lastly, I recently got an email from
my friend Sara in Houston. I met Sarah at IFGE in 2003 or 2004. She
worked at Shell Oil and was working with their Employee Resource Group SEAShell
to get their Discrimination policy updated to include protections on the grounds
of Gender Identity. It seemed to get to the executives every year, but
there always seemed to be an issue and it never got passed. I spoke there
in 2005, and several of the people that I've known there have slowly moved to
other companies. Not Sara. She has hung on there despite some
Last week I got the following email:
Subject: Gender Identity
accepted into Shell's EEO policy! Importance: High
Gender identity is now officially
included in Shell's Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy! John
Jefferson succesfully presented the business case for GI inclusion
to the US Country Coordination Team today. According to Wayne
Shelton, the new policy will be out within the next month or so.
Congratulations to us all! This is a major accomplishment for SEA
Shell and demonstrates the positive influence our network can have
on the organization. We all have reason to be very proud.
Elaine and I will prepare a brief
communication to all SEA Shell members shortly.
Anne M. Knisely, APR
Director, U.S. Communications
Shell Oil Company
This is great news. Sara
started this work in 1996 and admits that "I personally gave up two years ago
after three failed attempts in 10 years and hundreds of pages of documents
submitted in favor of inclusion. I can't help but think my efforts over the
years certainly got the ball rolling...." Congrats to Sara and all the
folks at Shell.
That's really all I want to say
tonight. I'm tired, and going to bed.
The story is everywhere tonight. See it in
Eugene OR, on
Kansas City, in
Pakistan.... This story has legs (metaphorically, of course).
Remember that Thomas' story was originally buried deep in the "current print
edition" pages of their website? It's now right there on the main page,
and I'll bet it's gotten more hits than any story they've done in a long time
I need to get to bed because I'm
traveling to Austin tomorrow, but there are a couple of things I wanted to
First, I wanted to thank Cathy - the
HR person at the company where I transitioned - for meeting with me this
morning. She had no idea who I was or any of my background and I really
enjoyed our conversation. The irony is that we sat in the exact office
that my HR person at the time had, where I first came out to her. It's odd
to re-visit a non-descript little room where one of the biggest events in your
life happened. Although I knew it was big at the time I don't think I
really appreciated the magnitude of it which was probably a good thing. It
would have been more overwhelming than it was.
Second, the pregnancy story is
causing media to do outreach to the transgender community. Here's a
follow-up note from PFLAG from this afternoon:
Hello All -
This is a very time-sensitive message, so if you are able to, please
respond to the PFLAG National Communications team today, March 26,
ABC News in New York is looking to do a story on trans parents. This
story began in response to the transman in
Oregon who is pregnant (as
covered in the Advocate and other publications).
They would love to be able to interview a trans person who is a
parent, and how they handle raising children as trans. If you are
interested, please contact me at the information below...
Adam M. Ratliff
1726 M St. NW Suite 400 Washington, D.C.20036
Phone: 202-467-8180 ext. 212
Contact them if you're interested.
Today is the day that things start to get crazy with the pregnant transgender
man in OR. The story hit the Associated Press, so it'll be everywhere by
noon. It's already on
reported in the UK, and it's moving fast. It's going to get every
narrow-minded creep saying ridiculously ignorant things that are sure to get
blood boiling so get ready. In
a report out of Australia they quote one of his neighbors as saying that
"its a hoax". That's taken from
Portland, OR report questioning the legitimacy of the story.
In Coatia the headline is "American
Transvestite Five Months Pregnant", and the photo that they cropped is
obviously not Mr. Beattie. All of this has come out in the last 12-18
hours and it's just the tip of the media (and cultural) tidal wave I'm sure will
As we've known, this story has been
out for a couple of weeks, but it has brewed quietly in the background.
That's done, and it's out there now for all to see. Here's what one writer said:
And, right now, the gender shift
has hit the fan. "It's a very touchy thing, this deconstruction of
our biological reality," McGill University ethicist Margaret
Somerville told the Canadian newspaper The National Post. "I think
we're just playing with fire."
This is sure to be a major news
story in the annals of reproductive rights and gender identity, and
it looks like Oregon is again pioneering uncharted territory. We'll
keep you updated as the story—along with the baby—develops.
On a lighter note, The Task Force is
celebrating Women's History Month by collecting names of GLBT women to be added
to an honor roll they're keeping. If you've got someone you'd like to
nominate or would like more information
there's more on their website.
And, PFLAG has a unique opportunity
for those who might be interested. Since shoes are involved, I just might
try this out. :)
St. NW Suite 400 Washington, D.C.20036
I've got an interesting morning
ahead of me. In my never-ending quest for closure I'm meeting with someone
from HR at the company where I transitioned 9 years ago. I'm not quite
sure what I expect to get out of it other than the inner peace of having gone
back with a strong sense of pride and self-worth to a place that I left with
little of either. I'll let you know how it goes.
I'm in a bit of a funk this evening. Same old complaint - job is
unfulfilling, so much more to life than settling for the same old-rut, I came
home to an empty house. Again. Usually it doesn't bug me so much.
I'm sure the delayed impact of losing Molly has something to do with this, and I
expect it will pass by tomorrow or the next day. That doesn't mean it's
not real, though. It just means we find ways to work through it. I
need a vacation.
The story in the Advocate about the
pregnant Trans-Man that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago is slowly gaining some
traction. Some are surprised that things have unfolded as slowly as they
have but little by little it's seeping out. How can you not look at that
photo and not be amazed? The entire lid will pop off next week when he's on
Oprah, and featured in People Magazine. If things don't get crazy about
this at some point I'll be pleasantly surprised. Don't think for a second
that phone calls aren't happening to get ready for it.
I get an update from GLAAD President
Neil Giuliano each week providing a Weekly Snapshot of GLAAD's work from the
week before. There are always a number of things specific to the trans
community, as media coverage of us has increased along with our general
visibility. The good news is that coverage isn't limited to daytime talk
shows or sweeps documentaries any more. The bad news is that much of the
work is to combat the negative and horrific stuff about us. Thankfully,
this week there're more positive work than defensive work. Anyway, here's
some of the info from this week's GLAAD Weekly Snapshot:
GLAAD ASSISTS ON
On March 16, the
Dayton Daily News
published a series of
articles and videos
about the transgender
provided resources to
the reporter, and also
worked with the primary
Caden. The articles and
transgender life in
Dayton, Ohio, in a fair,
accurate, and inclusive
way. They also serve as
a great “Trans 101” for
people who are
Sarah Kennedy, Central
Media Field Strategist,
TRAININGS AT TRANSGENDER
Pacific Islander Media
Strategist traveled to
Berkeley, Calif., to
provide two media
trainings at the Annual
Summit presented by the
Transgender Law Center
and Equality California
Essentials training for
25 transgender community
leaders that focused on
infrastructure for media
communications plans and
exploring various media
platforms to share their
GLAAD also offered an
Training for 30
that concentrated on
drafting talking points
and message development.
A majority of the
transgender leaders will
utilize their skills to
generate a stronger
localized presence for
United ENDA, a national
campaign advocating for
discrimination based on
a person’s sexual
orientation and gender
Andy Marra, Asian
Pacific Islander Media
Every month they send out a list of
"Best" and "Worst" of the month. Their picks for March are already out (see
I'm going to close tonight by
posting a photo I took a few weeks ago in Fountain Hills. I call it
"Serene". It's a reminder to stop and smell the roses. As I say - I
need a vacation.
8:00pm: Elizabeth had upwards of 30 people
over at her house today. Part of me wishes I could have been there with
her. Another part of me appreciated being alone. I talked with my mom, and
wished her a happy Easter. I took a good long morning bike ride. I
spent time working in my back yard. I made a point of dressing up today, I
even curled my hair, to go out and do some errands and meet my son for lunch.
And to top the day off I grilled a ribeye streak, and cooked up some spinach
with garlic and olive oil for dinner. I have come to peace that Molly is
gone, and I have made it a goal to bring a puppy into my life sooner rather than
I hate to talk politics on a
weekend, especially on a Holiday, but the Democrat presidential candidates
recently submitted completed GLBT surveys in PA.
Obama both expressed their views and although nothing earth-shattering I
nonetheless found their responses interesting. Regarding ENDA, Barack says
"As President, I will place the weight of my administration behind the
enactment of a fully inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act to outlaw
workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender
identity." Hillary expresses similar sentiments, although her comments
are not as powerful: "I strongly support the Employment Non-Discrimination
Act that includes protections for transgender individuals, and I will fight to
have that be the version that is signed into law when I am President."
I've got some big things on tap this
week. Next weekend I'm off to Austin for a couple of days. I've got
a few things to take care of there and wish I could stay for a while.
Unfortunately, my time is rarely my own and I need to be back.
Thanks to those who sent kind words about Molly. She will be missed.
The good news is that I didn't spend the evening wallowing in sadness, which
could have very easily been the case. A good friend stopped over and we
ended up going out for dinner. It was a much needed diversion, and our
conversation set the foundation for some exciting possibilities in other aspects
If those of us who endure the harsh
summer heat in Arizona need to wonder why we move here this weekend is a perfect
reminder. Skies are crystal blue, sun is bright, afternoon highs are in
the upper 80's. I can't imagine nicer days, and as I went for a late
afternoon run today the sights and scents of spring are everywhere. It's
glorious, and I'm glad to have some down time to be able to enjoy it.
As if Molly's passing wasn't
depressing enough, I was up this morning at 6:30, made myself a cup of coffee,
and immediately started my income taxes. I've got tequila ready for later
- either to celebrate the fact that I'm getting some money back or to drown my
sorrows at having to pay. I'm about 90% done at this point (thank God for
TurboTax!) and things are looking ok. I'm breathing a cautious sigh of relief.
I spent time editing another video
today. If I knew what I was doing with this stuff I'd be dangerous.
Even with the little bit I know - it's just a blast. I've been tinkering
around with some of the tools and options. The disappointing thing is that
the quality of the original versions of these things is so nice - just beautiful - but the
grossly compressed versions that I need to create to load to YouTube just don't
do them justice. It's very frustrating. I'm very strongly
considering burning monthly DVD's of the videos I create and making them
available to anyone who wants them - I could provide quite a bit more stuff that
way. I could put more photos, more video, more everything.
The video I created today was a
mini-interview I did with Monica Canfield-Lenfest from COLAGE (Children of
Lesbians and Gays) at the Transgender Leadership Summit in Berkley last week.
She's a full-time staff member managing their
Kids of Trans
Program and is working on some very exciting stuff. If you go to any
of the trans conferences you'll probably see Monica there. Her energy, her
dedication, and her experience being the child of a transgender parent make her
an invaluable friend and resource for the community.
I'm going to be posting quite a few
of these kinds of things in the coming weeks and months. There are so many
amazing people, important resources, incredible stories, and exciting
opportunities available that need broader visibility so I'm happy to provide
whatever help I can make sure they get it. How many of us had to come out
to our children and wished there were more resources or support for them?
Coming out affects everyone in your life so these kinds of things are so, so
I got a call from my ex-wife today. Anyone who has visited here for any
length of time knows that my ex has effectively shut me out of her life since
the day in 1999 when given a choice to stay and be a husband or leave until I
could do that. We have seen each other less than a half dozen times since
then. We rarely talk and, in fact after 16+ years of marriage I still
marvel at how we could have become such complete strangers to each other. The
only things we share right now are a son, a ton of old memories, and a monthly
spousal support payment.
She called me last month on my
birthday, which came as a pleasant surprise. Actually, I was mildly
shocked. Unfortunately, today's surprise was not a pleasant one.
Shortly after she and I got married
we bought a German Sheppard that we named Murphy. We decided that we
needed to try our parenting skills on something that wasn't actually a person
first, to make sure we could do it, before having a child. A few short
years later my son was born and the four of us were, by all external
indications, a very happy family. Over the years Murph outgrew puppyhood, became
a trusted family member, grew old and gray, her hips started to give way, and
one day after a very full life she was gone. Our entire family was
traumatized at losing her and I remember the three of us huddled around in a
circle, my son and my wife crying together, and me wishing that I could but the
tears just wouldn't come.
Several months later we moved to
fill the hole in our lives by bringing another puppy into our family. We
wanted a Golden Retriever and some friends pointed us to a breeder way out in
the country. We particularly liked the lighter colored Goldens and these
breeders promised to call us when the mother and father that we liked best had a
litter. Several months later, we had another new life in our family.
Her name was Molly.
Molly was smarter than many people I
know. She was tremendously intelligent, well-behaved, even-tempered, energetic, and fun.
And, she was always a lady. I can't think of anything I'd want more from a
companion than Molly. When we moved across country in 1996 it was my son
and I in the front seat of the car, and Molly in the back. She loved to swim, and there was a time when we
needed to block the stairs of the pool to keep her out. When life was
extremely difficult at my house and my wife and I couldn't stand being around
each other I kept my sanity by taking Molly for long evening walks.
Although that time of my life was pure hell at the time the best part about it
were those evenings - out with Molly.
After I left home in 1999 I still
came back to visit her whenever I could. Those visits have become more and
more rare. On those very isolated occasions over the past few years when
I've been allowed back to our old house she remembers me, and the puppy that I
remember comes to life despite the passing of time. I called my ex- a
couple of weeks ago asking if I could come to the house and take Molly for a
walk. I missed her. And, as always happens, I was told my ex-
wouldn't be around so it wouldn't happen. That's a shame.
All that leads up to the phone call
this afternoon. After 13 years Molly suddenly got sick. My ex-
brought her to the vet today and got some very bad news. Molly is in doggy
It's almost appropriate that this
should happen on Easter weekend, when themes of rebirth and renewed life are the
order of the day. And, although I never get to see Molly anymore I'll miss
her, knowing that she's not here. She was loved. As my wife sobbed
on the phone today I remembered days gone by. I remember when Murph passed
and we grieved together as a family. I offered to come over to the house
tonight so we could grieve together. She said she'd rather grieve alone.
So, I guess I will too. And that's a shame....
On my son's bed.
Molly: May 1994 - March 2008
I'll never forget those eyes....
weekend is in sight. I'm already salivating at the thought of an ice cold
Margarita or two. Or three. :)
I promised some photos from the
GLAAD Awards so I'm going to deliver....
photo 1: One of the fun things about
going to the GLAAD events is the opportunity to meet people you have no
idea who they are and later learn that they're just flippin' amazing.
There was this incredibly handsome guy with the bluest, most amazing
eyes, at the pre-event VIP reception. I spotted him from across
the room, went up to him, and told him, "I have no idea who you are and
I'm sorry about that but you have them most amazing eyes. Can I
get a picture with you?" It turns out that he was Cheyenne Jackson
from the Broadway musical Xanadu. I watched
some video of him on YouTube since getting home and wish I had known
who he was. He's amazing.
photo 2: Comedian Kate Clinton was there to introduce Judy
photo 3: The amazing Bishop Gene Robinson was there, too, and was one of many
who accepted the award when "For The Bible Tells Me So" won.
photo 4: The person that Elizabeth would most liked to have met was Mariska
Hargitay from Law and Order: SVU. She loves all those police
photo 5: Mariska gave the award to Barbara Walters for the 20/20
show on transgender kids.
photo 6: Lastly (in terms of my photos, anyways),
Sedgwick were there as presenters as well. I loved Kyra in the
All in all, we had a great time and will be revving
up to do it all again in Los Angeles at the end of April.
My friends at GLAAD have been busy.
Today they announced the launch of "Newsroom '08". The press
release describes it as "a Web site which will serve as a resource on
how media talk about issues affecting to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender (LGBT) community as they pertain to the local, state and
national elections in November." (Read
the Press Release here).
There was a report on CNN today about a
British paratrooper who recently transitioned.
See it here. She's amazing.
In closing for tonight, I find
it hard to believe that this is Easter weekend. There was a time
when Easter was a big deal in my life. Now it's around the corner
and it's odd to realize it has no real meaning to me - other than
memories of years past and symbolism of rebirth and renewed life.
I think part of it is that many of my memories are family memories and
since my son is grown and gone there aren't any reminders for me
anymore. My son and I are planning to get together this weekend
but that really has nothing to do with Easter.
My first Easter on my own was in 1999, shortly before transition, and
was one of the darkest days I can remember. The good news is that
I've come a very long way since then. That's truly something to
6:00pm: I'm home
and have much to share about my non-stop trip back East. But there's
something I want to say that's more important first. To have this
discussion I'll need to break my self-imposed gag-order on talking about HRC
here on my blog. They're actually not the main theme of this, but they
play a role.
Cyndi Lauper will again be doing her
True Colors Tour across America this year. Last year's event was a huge
success, and provided an opportunity for GLBT communities across this country to
come together and celebrate. The main draw wasn't politics, or
legislation, or anything particular to the challenges many of us face day in and
day out. If anything, the Tour provided an opportunity to escape that and
get back to more basic things: music, fun, diversity, acceptance, and community.
Those are the things that made the tour special and that's why it's back bigger
and better this year.
As happened last year, HRC is
getting a dollar from every ticket sold. I should clarify - the HRC
Foundation is getting a dollar, not the PAC. The Foundation is where the
Workplace Program, and the Religion and Faith Program, and other educational
efforts live. It's not the political side that lobbies Congress, or
supports candidates, or otherwise gets spent politically. Still - a dollar
from every ticket goes to HRC and for those who hate HRC that's reason enough to
hate this tour, too. Frankly, I find it to be misguided anger but I
certainly get it.
HRC isn't the only beneficiary of
the tour. PFLAG gets funding from it too (details
here). Other local and national organizations are getting a piece of
the pie, as well. If ever there was a tour giving back to a community that
desperately needs funding to do its work at a critical time - this is it.
Whether anyone goes or not should be
a personal decision, based on any number of things. And, to be perfectly
honest, although I'd love to see Cyndi and the B-52's (they rocked at the
HRC National Dinner a couple of years ago) I don't know if I'll go when the Tour
passes through Phoenix on June 25. As far as I'm concerned, that's my
personal choice to make and has nothing to do with the tour, the artists, or
concerns of inclusion. It does have something to do with HRC but that's a
personal battle for me to fight, not a public one.
Against that backdrop, a trans-woman
has decided that the fact that HRC is involved calls the entire tour into
question. She started an email campaign to tour promoters and artists
accusing them of being un-inclusive, of not trying hard enough to engage the
transgender community, and of other perceived slights. She threatened to
call for boycotts and for picketing as the tour crossed the country.
In her most recent email to denounce
the tour she uses my name. She is somehow implying that I support this
misguided effort. So, I'm here to say publicly and loudly to anyone that
cares that I in no way support an organized boycott of this tour. I do not
feel that the tour planners and promoters are in any way behaving in ways that
are not supportive of the trans community and, in fact, are going above and
beyond to be supportive. I respect that this person feels a need to
vent and has decided to make a name for herself by doing this. I respect
the desire to make sure the performers understand why the transgender
community is still so uncomfortable with HRC right now. But as a
community I truly believe that calling for an organized "boycott" does more harm than good and I won't have any part
of it. Part of life is picking your battles. This is not a battle
worth fighting. In fact, it should not be a battle at all.
I'll tell you this now. If I
decide to go to this concert at any of its tour stops and this person organizes
an effort to picket it that's a line I'll step across. I refuse to make
one person's personal war my own. If she wants to try to whip up more
HRC-hate and hysteria then she's on her own. I'll have no part of it, and
I encourage similarly minded people to do the same. There are far more
productive outlets for our energies and talents than harassing supportive
artists and sabotaging tour plans for events that give back to the broader
community. I can't see how that's positive.
It's late and I've got lots to catch up on, not the least important of which is
sleep. This has been my schedule over these past few days:
Arrived back in Phoenix late
Sunday from several days in the Bay area. Unpacked, repacked, in bed
Up at 3:30am on Monday to catch
a 6:15am flight to NYC. (Thank God I sleep well on planes)
Arrived in NYC at 3:45PM.
My friend Mel picked me up and we drove through St. Patrick's Day revelers
to Times Square for the GLAAD Media Awards.
Changed, freshened up, got down
to the Cocktail Reception by 5:15.
Stayed at the event until it
ended at 11. Changed into some comfy driving clothes and hit the road
Arrived at Mel's in Philadelphia
at 1:30am. Collapsed in bed at 2am.
Up Monday at 8, dialed into
Left Mel's by 5 to drive to the
University of Delaware for a speaking engagement.
University of Delaware event:
7:30-9:30pm. Back home by 11.
In bed by midnight.
Alarm went off this morning at
4:15am. Packed, got to the airport for a 7am flight to Boston, and
then a connector for the 5+ hour flight from Boston to PHX.
Landed at 12:30 PT and went
straight to work. And, here we are.
I'm beat tonight. I'm coming
down with something - I've got a scratchy throat and fully expect to feel
horrible by this time tomorrow. And, I'm about to do something at work
that will cause a change. Since I generally go out of my way to avoid
giving details about work I'll leave it at that for now. But there's some
I'll try to catch up on things as
the week progresses. It'd take too long to do in one blast. I've
taken some good photos over the past few days and will begin uploading them.
I'll start with a few from the Transgender Leadership Summit at Berkley over the
Jamison and I in thought, getting ready for our
A high point from the GLAAD Media
Awards was when Barbara Walters accepted an award for the report she did on
20/20 about Transgender kids.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Television
journalist Barbara Walters was honored by the gay media watchdog
group GLAAD on Monday for her reporting on transgender children and
she said the award was among the most important she had even
"You can forget all the Emmys,"
Walters said in accepting the award for television newsmagazine
journalism at the 19th annual Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation Media Awards. "This means more to me."
The veteran television personality
won for the story "My Secret Self: A Story of Transgender Children,"
which aired on ABC's "20/20" and examined the lives and struggles of
young children who experienced conflicted gender identity, feeling
their true sex was the opposite of their physical one.
An other high point was GLAAD
Executive Director Neil Guliano's remarks. One of his mantras these days
is about the importance of telling our personal stories. He says, "it
doesn't make a bit of difference - it makes all the difference."
His delivery and his comments were right on and as he spoke you could have heard
a pin drop. That's saying something in a huge ballroom filled to capacity
where wine and Absolut Vodka had been flowing freely for a couple of hours.
Although I was generally very happy
with the evening there were some disappointments.
It's too bad there were less
than a half dozen trans-people out of the 1,400+ folks who attended.
We need to find creative ways of making these kinds of things available to
people in our community.
The good news is that almost all
of the talking was inclusive (people didn't fall into the pattern of saying
"gays and lesbians" and leaving off the T). The bad news is that none
of the presenters, speakers, or other stage presence was trans. We
have to change that, too.
I was disheartened to see that
the magazine article about transgender that made the cover of Newsweek
didn't win Outstanding Magazine Article. It was absolutely historic,
and somehow the magnitude of seeing that story covered in that way seems to
have gotten lost.
Bravo to Neil, the staff, the
volunteers, and everyone involved in the evening. It was a smashing
success and I look forward to doing it all again in LA in April.
I'm fading. So, I'll say
The trip to the Bay area was wonderful. I can name a dozen highlights
without even stopping to think. From the meetings downtown on Thursday and
Friday, dinner with Jamison, Mara, Dr. Ousterhout and Mira on Thursday night,
dinner on Fisherman's Wharf with Kate on Friday evening, morning coffee down by
the beach in Pacifica, the powerful comments by National Center for Lesbian
Rights Executive Director about community at the morning plenary yesterday, the
wonderful energy at the University of California at Berkley, spending time with
old friends and meeting new ones, an absolutely breathtakingly sunny and bright
day today - it was a trip of which memories are made. I took many photos
and did some video, as well, so I expect to have some things to share soon.
Kate too some photos, as well, and
has already forwarded a few for me to share.
The first two photos below are
of me taking photos at the beach yesterday and today.
The third photo was on the side
of a bus in Berkley and I felt compelled to take a photo of it. We
need that kind of visibility for transgender awareness - a snappy slogan on
busses and billboards. Very cool. That'd certainly start the
I'm also sharing a few photos of
Kate and I through the years (including one from today). She is truly a
wonderful big sister and dear friend. It's truly incredible to see how
life has changed for both of us over the years. She is currently the
Executive Director of the
Golden Gate Business
Alliance, the oldest GLBT Chamber of Commerce in the country. I never
in a million years would have imagined the paths we've both been on. The
good news is that we're both still going strong.
2000: Mid-transition. Heading out for
craziness on my birthday
2006: My last visit there. At a winery in
March 2008: at the California Transgender
A very heartfelt thanks to everyone
who attended the closing plenary this morning. Asking people to show up on
a beautiful Sunday morning is a significant request and we had a very nice
turnout. The theme of our talk was about moving forward and we wanted to
engage people in a dialogue. I'm happy with how thing went an very
appreciated of all the effort that went into making it happen. They
video-taped it so I'm not sure where it will surface but when I find out I'll be
sure to share the link here.
On to other topics...
I'll share what I was hesitant to
share last night, although I won't put any text description to it. I don't
want to pop up as some Google pointer to it because it'll get more visibility
than you can imagine soon (Oprah during the first week of April, People
Here it is.
There have been several interesting
media articles about the trans community over the past couple of days:
That's all for tonight. It's after 9
already. Somehow, having breakfast by the beach seems like a couple of
days ago already. I have a 6am flight to NYC tomorrow morning meaning I'll
need to be up at 3:30am to leave by 4:30 to get there by 5. Ouch. I
better get some sleep on the plane. I land at LaGuardia at 3:45pm and a
friend is picking me up to go straight to the GLAAD dinner in midtown.
After the dinner is over we're driving the 3 hours to Philadelphia.
Finally, I'm speaking at the University of Delaware on Tuesday evening as part
of Trans-Week there. I'm pretty jazzed about that. Then, I'm flying
back here early on Wednesday morning. If this all works out without a
hitch it'll be a minor miracle.
Wish me luck.
It's late and I'm tired. Getting up this morning and having coffee down by
the beach before heading over to Berkley seems like days ago. I've met so
many great people here - it has been wonderful. And, I've been collecting
a few more video mini-profiles to share. It's just a matter of finding the
A major story about our community is
about to hit so get ready. If you know where to look it's already out
there but the biggest thud won't happen for a couple of weeks. I hesitate
to provide additional visibility to it yet - it will get enough of that in the
weeks to come. So for now let's just say that this is a Tornado Warning -
meaning that one is imminent. Some who know about it are already wondering
what impact it will have. I can see both positive and negative outcomes. I
don't think anyone can change it at this point so it will need to run its
course. We'll just need to be ready to deal with it.
Jamison and I will do the closing
plenary tomorrow morning. My flight leaves at 4pm. I arrive back in
Phoenix at 6pm. And I need to be on an early morning flight to New York
City to get to the GLAAD Awards there on Monday night. This schedule is
just crazy, but the end is in sight. The question is where I'll be working
at the end of the week. Again - Tornedo Warning. A storm is
I'm the the San Francisco Bay area. I arrived yesterday afternoon and
despite a brief snafu with luggage the rest of the day went brilliantly.
Jamison Green and I had a very productive meeting with the people from Out and
Equal about some things we'd like to do together. We met Dr. Ousterhout,
Mira, and Mara Keisling for dinner. And we had time to relax and unwind
Tonight I am staying with my "Big
Sister" Kate. The view from her patio in Pacifica overlooks the ocean and
although it's too dark to see it from here you can certainly hear it. I
can't wait for the sun to rise tomorrow l though I hope I get quite a bit of
sleep between now and then. This visit is divided into two
parts - yesterday and today taking care of business and dialing into work to
manage my project.
Tomorrow and Sunday will be spent at the California Transgender Leadership
Summit in Berkley. A bonus is the opportunity to see friends I haven't
seen in a while, and to meet new ones.
Kate and I had dinner on Fisherman's
Wharf tonight before heading over to the opening Plenary for the conference.
The view from our table was spectacular, and it was one of those meals you
remember for a long time. Things like that often make me stop to truly
appreciate life. I had Dungeness Crab Cakes, which is what I ordered back
in 1999 shortly after my FFS and I was finally allowed to work my way back to
solid food (due to sutures in my mouth). I could never have imagined the
life path that has led me here since then, and I'm excited about the life paths
waiting to disclose themselves to me. I'm thrilled to be here and I'm looking forward
to participating in the conference over these next couple of days before heading
back home late Sunday afternoon.
There are a number of things to talk
One of the organizations for which
I'm on the board (The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce - NGLCC) was
in the news this week for work it's doing with Supplier Diversity efforts.
This most recent article was prompted by the announcement the UPS is adding GLBT
owned businesses as part of their supplier diversity efforts (read
about it here). They also work with GLBT owned businesses to become
certified as a GLBT provider. It's all very exciting and there will be
additional news on this - specific to the trans community - coming shortly.
National Center for
Transgender Equality released its analysis of the Real ID Act and the impact
it can/might/will have on Transgender people. Some of us have unique
challenges when it comes to personal identification and names that might not
match our "official" documents, or genders that don't match, or other
disconnects that not only can become an inconvenience but can put us at risk for
March 14, 2008
Department of Homeland Security REAL ID Final
NCTE Analysis and Review
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued the
final regulations for implementation of the REAL ID
Act on January 11, 2008. After a thorough review,
NCTE continues to have grave concerns about REAL ID,
but we are pleased to see that the collective work
that we and our allies have done has made a positive
impact on these final rules.
The REAL ID
Act of 2005 establishes standards and procedures
that states must follow in issuing driver licenses
and identity cards, and creates a de facto
national ID. REAL ID was passed by Congress with
almost no discussion. So far, seven states have
refused to comply with REAL ID, an additional 10
states have passed legislation opposing REAL ID, and
several others have pending legislation.
The REAL ID
Act specifies that in order for driver licenses and
ID cards to be accepted for federal "official
purposes" (defined specifically as commercial air
travel, entry into federal facilities, entry into
nuclear power plants, and other uses to be
determined by DHS), those cards must meet certain
The REAL ID
Act requires driver license and state-issued ID card
holders to prove their identity, date of birth,
Social Security number, address, and citizenship or
lawful presence in the United States. Even
long-time driver license holders must re-establish
their Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) record.
are required to verify the issuance, validity, and
completeness of every document that each person uses
to provide this proof. DMVs are also required to
store a digital image of each document presented and
a digital photo of the license applicant. The
verification process requires sharing DMV records
state-to-state and with the federal government,
effectively creating a national database with
questionable privacy protections.
The Good News
NCTE and our
allies found a number of problems in the draft
regulations that DHS released in March 2007. We
worked on those issues and our influence is evident
in changes to the final version. The most notable
success is that:
leave the determination of gender up to the States
since different States have different requirements
concerning when, and under what circumstances, a
transgendered [sic] individual should be identified
as another gender."
important changes from the draft regulations to the
gender history will not be contained in the
barcode on the back of the cards.
(Radio Frequency Identity) chips will not be
used to store data on the card (which could have
made it possible for a great deal of personal
information to be read by anyone with a RFID
reader up to 30 feet away). A two-dimensional
barcode will be used instead and is only
required to contain the same information as on
the front of the driver license or ID card.
can keep name and gender history confidential,
if state policy allows. States can cite "for
reasons of public safety" or similar statements
in DMV records, as a generic way to keep
information private and not share it with other
can create "exceptions processes." This gives
states flexibility in accommodating atypical
circumstances, such as when transgender people
have one gender marker on driver licenses and
another in Social Security records.
provision has been added that "allows States to
record information from birth certificates in
lieu of retaining an image or copy if state law
permits and if requested by the applicant."
This would help transgender people and other
people protect medical and other personal
information not relevant to REAL ID.
Timelines in the Final Rules
required to begin issuing REAL ID-compliant driver
licenses and IDs before May 11, 2011. And by
December 1, 2014, everyone under 50 must have a REAL
ID for federal official purposes. Those 50 and over
on that date have until December 1, 2017.
While the Act technically requires states to fully
comply by May 11, 2008, DHS rules provide for a
series of extensions that would lead to the May 2011
date. This is significant because, as of the date of
this publication, Montana, Maine, New Hampshire, and
South Carolina (four of the seven who said they will
not comply) have said they will not apply for an
extension. According to DHS, driver
licenses and IDs from these and other states that do
not apply for an extension will not be accepted for
commercial air travel (and other uses outlined
above) beginning May 11, 2008. If DHS enforces
their threat (which is still very much an open
question). residents of those non-compliant states
will need to show passports or submit to secondary
security screening at airports.
the Final DHS REAL ID Rules
final regulations are improved from the draft
version, they still have significant flaws. The
final DHS rules still invade personal privacy,
create a bureaucratic nightmare, and will cost
Americans billions of dollars. The rules fail to
provide adequate privacy protections (including
protections against data capture by third parties),
fail to offer recourse for individuals caught in
bureaucratic breakdowns, fail to provide funding,
fail to provide systems as required by the REAL ID
Act, and fail to provide any protections against
terrorism, the supposed purpose of REAL ID. These
failures illustrate fundamental problems not just
with the final rules, but with the REAL ID Act
Furthermore, no state can meet the May 11, 2008,
compliance deadline in the REAL ID Act, even if
attempted, since DHS has failed to establish the
systems necessary for compliance. With
deadlines pushed forward into as many as three
Presidential administrations, DHS appears to
abdicate its responsibilities to create a workable
system for implementing the REAL ID Act, and instead
leaves it as a problem for future administrations to
Purposes" Mission Creep
commercial air travel and entry into federal
facilities and nuclear power plants, DHS has the
unfettered power to require a REAL ID-compliant
license or ID for "any other purposes that the [DHS]
Secretary shall determine." Already DHS has
suggested that REAL IDs could be required for
purchasing some over-the-counter medications.
What Can Be
encourages not just transgender people, but all
Americans to work against the REAL ID Act. Contact
your Representatives and Senators at both the
state and federal levels, and tell them you support
repeal of REAL ID.
federal level, ask your U.S. Senators and
Representatives to co-sponsor S. 717 and H.R. 1117,
respectively. On the local level, urge your state
legislators and governor to reject compliance with
REAL ID. For updated REAL ID developments and a
breakdown on each state's position, see the ACLU's
Radio Frequency Identity (RFID) chips use
radio waves to transmit information and can
be embedded in things, animals, or people.
Georgia, Oklahoma, and Washington have also
said they will not comply with REAL ID, but
have applied for the first extension.
The government has kept secret exactly what
occurs during secondary screening, but it is
generally understood to be a more invasive
search than going through the standard
screening airport screening line.
Transgender people may be uncomfortable with
the extra scrutiny that secondary screening
entails and may prefer to show ID over
submitting to inspection of this detail.
Share this Report
You can download a printable copy of this report
from our website. Go to our
page to view the information and to download a
PDF of the document.
I've got more, but I'm tired and we
need to be up early to be back at Berkley by 9am. So, I'll save it for
I should be packing for my trip to the Bay area but I'm too tired. I'll
have to do it in the morning. The hectic pace catches up with me from time
to time. This is one of those times.
I had another of my ongoing One on
One sessions at the Apple store this morning at 7am. Believe it or not
they open that early for nuts like me who get up early and want to learn.
There was another woman there sitting patiently outside the locked gates with
her 17-inch iMac wrapped in what looked like hand-made custom plaid clothing,
stuffed into a basket with wheels on it so she could roll it to and from her
car. Too funny. The cool thing is that I get alot out of these
sessions and can't wait to get home to use the stuff I've learned. These
classes are on video editing software (Final Cut Pro) and the things you can do
just make me so jazzed.
One of my goals these days is to do
7-10 minute "Mini-Profiles" from people in the community. I expect to get
a number of them at the Conference this weekend, and I'll be out to get many
more at the IFGE Conference in Tucson at the beginning of April. As my
skill with the editing tools expand we'll just have to see where this goes.
Stay tuned on all of that. I feel like a kid in a candy store sometimes -
it's just too much fun.
That said - I need to get to bed.
I'm too tired to type. I'm off to San Francisco tomorrow where Jamison and
I have a follow-up meeting with Out and Equal about some exciting things we
started discussing when I was there in late January. I've got a couple of
other meetings, as well, and am looking forward to seeing my "Big Sister" Kate.
It has been far too long since we've had time to catch up with one another...
I had a belated birthday dinner tonight with a wonderful, dear friend. We
have the deepest, most interesting conversations and I truly value her
friendship and opinion. I told her early on that she reminds me of me in
some ways so I'm not quite sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I
suppose that depends on how you feel about me. Anyway, we did a
shot of a very nice Tequila for dessert, which was just what the doctor ordered.
I'm sure I'll have a headache when I wake up in the morning.
I came out today publicly supporting
Sen. Obama for President. I spoke with several people from the Obama
campaign over these past several days and have been very comfortable with how things
feel to me. As the campaign has unfolded I've had the same opportunity that most
Americans have had to gauge the candidates, to evaluate them, and to make
choices. After careful consideration, I'm more comfortable with Sen. Obama
than I am with Sen. Clinton. His message feels better to me - it resonates
in ways that Hillary's doesn't. The fact that I haven't felt engaged as
part of the Clinton GLBT steering committee wasn't really a factor and I
perceive that to be my fault as much as theirs, but the fact is that I never
felt any passion for her as President the way others have. I wrote to her
GLBT steering committee leadership last night and asked that my name be removed
from her list. I wished her and her supporters all the best.
I did an interview with Kerry
Eleveld at Advocate.com today about my move to the Obama Campaign (Read
her article here). We had a far-ranging conversation that
touched on a number of things that had nothing to do with politics. She
did an interview with me shortly after ENDA and I enjoy our discussions.
Queerty ran the story as well (read
it here), and included me as a "bold name activist". I must be moving
up in the world or something. Anyway, I'm happy to do what I can to help
Sen. Obama's campaign and am willing to break the cardinal rule of not talking
politics or religion if anyone wants to chat. Know this, however - there
is no right or wrong answer. This is simply the right answer for me,
and I'm confident that this is the candidate who will make the biggest
difference as far as broader recognition of Equal Rights for all is
One thing that does not feel
inclusive is some of the other reporting on it. One reporter said the
following: "This continues to show the momentum that the Obama camp is
demonstrating in all different slices of the electorate," said Eric Stern, who
has been actively courting gays and lesbians to join the Obama team." See
anything missing? I do.
I also accepted some other
significant honors today but will hold off on sharing until they are publicly
announced. All it all, it was a big day. And, I see that the Dow
jumped 417 points today. Coincidence? :)
I did the Rebecca Juro radio show
last Thursday and had a blast. I see that Becky has put the audio of the
show online (it's
here). I joined during the second hour (and it seems as though I
talked for two hours straight) but it was certainly an honest and candid
discussion. One of the things I find most exciting about the show isn't
anything I said - it's that Becky got a job and she talks about it! We
discussed it offline and she's just thrilled about how things seem to be going.
When we talk about what a job means to people, and why ENDA is so important -
it's more than just a paycheck. You can hear it in her voice, ya know?
Anyway, Congrats to Becky.
8:30pm: More and
more workplace stories will be surfacing in the upcoming months. One of
the most public and compelling is the story of Diane Schroer. The last time I visited
her I marveled at a paperweight made of various sizes and shapes of ammunition.
In person she's quiet, personable, and she seems shy. She gives little
indication of her unique background. But I wouldn't want to make her mad,
though. That doesn't seem like a healthy move....
Diane was a colonel in the Special
Forces who was offered a job in the Library of Congress as an international
terrorism analyst, only to
have it rescinded when she disclosed that she wanted to begin work as Diane, not
There's a CNN report on her case:
There's a more detailed explanation
of her life on YouTube as well (produced by the American Civil Liberties Union):