Archive | Transgender RSS for this section

Work Can Be Dark & Scary

The Last Warm Day (LazyLens 20130916 090923 HD)[1]

I work as a laboratorian for a major Minnesota healthcare company in both the hospital and clinical settings.  I don’t want to mention their name here, but I will say they have a wonderful and proven track record when it comes to recognizing the rights of Trans* people.  I also have the benefit of generally working with professional and open minded people, most of us in the lab are generally college educated, with an associates degree at minimum.

I have come out to a few nurses, and my laboratory colleagues in the hospital setting, however I have remained in the closet in the clinical setting.  Up until recently, there have really only been 2 issues I’ve considered in regards to fully coming out and transitioning.

1.  When I’m working in the clinical setting, it is a float.  I don’t have a home clinic, I simply float from clinic to clinic, and there are 60+ clinics in this particular system.  While I do enjoy the people I work with, I don’t have the same connection with them as I have forged with my colleagues over 14 years in the hospital setting.

2. I have frequent patient interaction, as phlebotomy is part of the clinical setting requirements.  I find myself worrying about how patients would react to having a trans*person performing a sometimes painful procedure.

At a recent clinic visit however, I encountered something I hadn’t experienced yet at work.  Transphobia from coworkers.  A small clinic, in a very affluent part of the Twin Cities, and a clinic site I had been floating to for a couple weeks.  I thought I knew these coworkers, I thought they would open and understanding.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It was an innocent conversation on a slow work day,  The girls had made a comment regarding what kind of purses they had, and I let it slip I had gotten a great deal on my pink Coach wallet when my wife had picked up her Coach purse.  I tried to play it off as I was kidding, but I wasn’t convincing.  For the rest of the work day I was harassed.

I know this is a step along the journey of transitioning.  I know that I’m taking these punches so that future generations won’t have to.  However it still hurts, and that’s why I’m posting here, because I know that you’ll understand.

And that’s where I’m ending this post.  I just wanted to vent.  I just needed to tell someone who would understand.  Will process this, and eventually grow because of it.  I just wish the processing and growing were easier.

-Maddy

Call for help: please speak out about this joint harassment of a young trans girl by TERFs and the religious right, in unholy alliance

Attacking another human being for your own religious or ideological reasons is sick and twisted. This is a wonderful example of how the Pacific Justice Institute displays their love of Christ.

feministsfightingtransphobia

Please see this post by Cristan Williams at transadvocate.com about the horrible situation involving the coordinated attacks by the so-called Pacific Justice Institute and a certain particularly loathsome and shameless anti-trans “feminist” activist — the latest example of their unholy alliance — upon a young trans girl in Colorado whom they’ve accused of “harassment” in a girls’ room — which, as it turns out, consists entirely of her having the temerity to exist in a bathroom while trans, and  while using the bathroom which she should use and is entitled to use.   At least this one TERF is so single-minded about doing whatever she can to attack trans people, that she’s willing to ally herself (and host the words of) an institution that also devotes itself to homophobia and fighting against (among other things) same sex marriage, gay and lesbian adoption and parenting, etc.

Some media outlets have retracted the…

View original post 455 more words

Um, Excuse me, is that your wallet?

WP_20131018_21_45_34_Pro20131018214841

I have cute shiny pink coach wallet that I picked up on Labor Day (see above).  I love my new wallet, I love it so much that I take it everywhere, and then frequently leave it in the car.

That’s right, I frequently leave it in my car, taking out the card(s) or cash I’ll need.

Perhaps you think less of me.  Or, perhaps you find yourself in similar situations.  You’re not passable, perhaps you even aren’t even trying to pass on a given day, and the last think you want to deal with are the stares, the stress, and the intolerance of those around you.

Typically I do this at a bowling alley, a bar, or somewhere else where I am fearful of intolerance.  There are of course days where I don’t care, where I can put up with looks, or where I understand that my perception isn’t always the same as reality.  It’s that last part I think is the most important.

I had teenagers, so the every day drama of mistakenly believing the world revolves around you and is constantly worried about what you’re doing and what you’re wearing isn’t new to me.  I understand in the vast majority of cases, people take one look at me, pigeon-hole me into the “freak” or “one of those” categories, and move on with their own lives.  There are also those more progressive minded thinkers who see me and are grateful I am on the front lines of tearing down gender divides, knocking down gender barriers, and making the public more aware of the gender diversity in our culture, and the world at large.

Which group do I live for?  Which group should I live for?

The answer, as you no doubt already know, is neither.  I shouldn’t live for either group because both groups are simply pigeon-holing me into a stereotype that I’m not.  I should live for me, I should grab my wallet, and take it into the blowing alley.  I should be always be myself, unless my safety is at stake.

Of course, the reality is, I will probably leave my wallet in the car this Tuesday when I bowl.

Instead of letting this bring me down, I’ll instead view it as a goal, a small attainable goal, that will one day lead to being able to not be worried about how the world sees me.  A wallet with more than cash and cards, a wallet with an identification that I choose to make, not an identification the world has chosen for me.

“Excuse me, is that your wallet?”

“Yes, yes that is.”

-Maddy

Florence High School (Updated)

Strawman Cartoon

The blogosphere of the Christian Right has been actively discussing a case of transgender harassment at the Florence High School in Colorado.  You can read all about it here, here, and here.  Or you can read about it from the original source piece at the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).  In fact, every single piece of reporting I found on this story, was simply a parroting of the original piece from the CBN.  The CBN’s source story itself is not exactly brimming with journalism, as there are no details given, with the lone exception that a letter was sent from the Pacific Justice Institue “warning against squelching privacy rights”.

So what’s going on here, how can a have a rational discussion on how to best solve the problems facing the teenage girls of Florence High School who are being harassed by this transgendered individual?

Perhaps there is another way to approach this problem.  Begging the question is an informal logical fallacy in which the original assertion that becomes the foundation of the argument is itself is not established as factual or accurate.

In the case of this story, the original underlying assertion is a transgender person was harassing other students in a restroom.  There are no facts given to state the exact nature of abuse or harassment.  There is no indication if this was the transgendered students first offense, or if there is a history of disruptive behavior from this student.  There is no timeframe given for the original assertion.  Did this harassment occur last week, last month, last year?  What was the prior relationship of the alleged harasser to the students claiming harassment?

Many of the details would of course not be able to be released as all parties involved are most likely minors.  However, with basic facts missing, there is no way one can construct a rational opinion based upon facts on the best solution to a problem I’m not even sure actually exists.

Here is where we encounter another logical fallacy, that of the straw man, an argument which distorts a viewpoint into something easier to argue against.

If you take the CBN story at face value, if everything reported in this story is factual and accurate, then it is obvious who is at fault.  It is easy to understand and come to agreement that having transgendered students in the bathrooms of the cis-gendered students is only asking for harassment, trouble, and is unfair to the cis-gendered students who feel violated.  The implication of this story is that all male to female transgender students are secretly trying to get into the girls bathroom where they can wreak havoc on the purity of the naïve and innocent cis-gendered girls.

It doesn’t take much critical thinking to realize reality is rarely as simple as a straw man argument.  Why would the CBN and the PJI make such an argument?

The PJI is currently in the middle of a legal action to overturn California School Bathroom Bill AB 1266 which allows transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender they identify as.  Having a villain to use as an example to voting parents who are on the fence is not out of the realm of possibility, although I must stress, there is purely conjecture on my part.

Whether the events which transpired at Florence High School were in the manner described by the CBN, or if the events that transpired were more innocuous, or perhaps completely fictitious, a discussion needs to take place.  We need to decide how we are going to handle the integration of non-binary gender into society at large, including our public school spaces.  It’s not going to be an easy discussion to have, too many heels are already dug in deep, and there is a lot of misunderstanding, fear, and downright bigotry to contend with due in no small part to the religious fundamentalists.

However as the Florence High School Student Handbook tells its students:

You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.

Perhaps we can set a goal of acceptance, and work to make every person understand and feel accepted, regardless of their gender identity.

-Maddy

[UPDATED 10-20-2013]

So it turns out that entire story was fabricated, and as I had guessed (see above story) it was a way to create a strawman argument to build support for their opposition to legislation in California.  For a complete breakdown of this story, and interviews from the family of this poor girl follow this link.

Shifting Gears

Shifting Gears

When I began this blog a few months ago, the intention was to have a website for the TransAtheist Podcast.  We now have our first episode recorded, and on the web.  We’re in the iTunes library, the Xbox Store, Pocket Casts for Android, will shortly be available for Stitcher.  What I discovered, though, in the interim between the first blog posting and the posting of the first podcast episode, is that I still love to write.

What I love about writing, is that even more than speaking into a microphone, I can distance myself from the audience in such a way that enables me to think clearly and form thoughts.  I can make a nuanced argument, without fear of you interrupting me.  I can take my time to really think about what I want to say, and then after I say it, unlike in real life, I can use the backspace button – because I realized it just came out wrong.  I love writing, regardless of how well you the reader love my writing.

This is exactly how I feel about my gender and sexuality.

I love to dress as the woman most days I feel I am.  When free from stares and mirrors, I begin to feel transformed, I feel “normal”, happy, and forget which gender my body thinks I am.  Alternately there are days when I am grateful I don’t have to deal with a sweaty bra, or when at a baseball game I’m grateful my bathroom line moves more quickly.  I don’t always mind the male parts of my psyche or anatomy.  I want to delve deeper into this gender dichotomy, and plan on discussing it further in either a future podcast or blog posting, or more likely, both.

What I am starting to discover on this personal journey of self discovery, is the labels I’ve used to identify myself for a lifetime, should remain just those, labels, and they should be easily peeled off.  Instead of being labeled, perhaps I would rather be post-it noted.  This is who I am right now, but in a few minutes, hours, or days, I will be different again, and require a new label.

I don’t want to be all things to all people, I just want to be all of me.

Thanks for reading, listening, or both.  I’m setting a goal for myself to put out two blog posts a week.  One more of a personal diary of my road to discovering who I am as a person in relation to gender and sexuality.  I also want to continue tossing my two cents in when it comes to discrimination and pseudoscience, especially when it comes to transgender discrimination issues and pseudoscientific healthcare claims.

However, as a girl who has a problem with deadlines, I’m not promising anything, except that I will continue to write as long as I find it enjoyable.

-Maddy

Still A Country for Old Men (and Women)

bush wedding

Generally when we in the LGBT community discuss the older generation, it is a somewhat dark subject.  While there are very few people in the world I wish death upon ( ok maybe this guy ) there is a general consensus in our community that the only way for us to gain a complete victory on our civil rights, is to have the older generation die off.  But is this really the case?

While there is an obvious demographic split with younger people far more likely to be supportive of LGBT civil rights as seen this graph from 2009, this is not the only factor to consider.  It is my firm belief, that young people in the 1960’s and 1970’s were more likely than their parents to be accepting of interracial marriage and civil rights in general.  However, one only has to look around today to see that racism is unfortunately still present, and still an evil that permeates our society.  We ostracize those who make their hate public, make laws in an attempt to prevent that hate from influencing employment and house, and still the hate persists.

In a similar manner we should expect to be fighting against the hate, intolerance, and secret bigotry against the LGBT community for decades.  This doesn’t mean we need to take it laying down, but rather we need to fight back, we need to not forget our allies, we need to make sure we are not being discriminatory even as we are being discriminated against.

The picture above is George H. W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, and was a Republican president from 1989-1993.  He is 89 years old, he and his wife Barbara Bush just served as official witnesses to a same sex couple’s wedding.  I’m not going to get bogged down into the politics during his presidency, or what his positions were 20 years ago, I wasn’t a fan of his then, and looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I am still not a fan of decisions he made during his presidency.  What’s important here is my opinion that we have people of a much older generation, supporting LGBT civil rights, and they shouldn’t be written off as our enemies.

Why is it we in the LGBT community, who understand what prejudice feels like first hand, are so quick to prejudge others based solely upon their age?  We need to understand and fight our own prejudices, even as we work to fight against the prejudices of others.  Let us not forget our allies.  Let us not forget how many of the older generation are veterans in the war for civil liberties, how many fought for racial equality, women’s rights, and who will fight for LGBT equality.

Let us not marginalize our allies simply because they have grown old, let us instead remember it was an 83 year old woman named Edith Windsor who brought the case to strike down the Defense Of Marriage Act in the US.

Edith Windsor

Edith Windsor

H. Adam Ackley

RNS-H-Adam-Ackley

“I did not get a sense directly from the individuals with whom I was speaking that they had a theological problem with transgender identity. I did get the message that it has to do with their concern that other people, such as donors, parents and churches connected to the university will have problems not understanding transgender identity.”

H. Adam Ackley was not fired from his teaching position due to poor performance, student complaints, or misbehavior.  According to statements, he was not even let go for violating Azusa Pacific University’s, the private Christian college, theological position on transgender.

No, H. Adam Ackley was let go because he might make some potential donors feel icky.  My words, not his, not the college’s.

The current evangelical church in America, and across the world are finding themselves facing a real theological divide, one that is more generational than biblical.  The Christian bible is pretty clear on its stance towards homosexuality with passages in both the old and new testaments proclaiming death or damnation for homosexuals and effeminate men.  However, this same holy book, supposedly written by an all knowing and all seeing god, didn’t appear to anticipate a world where we accept some people are not born the gender their genitals would have us believe.

Gender is not binary, human sexuality is more complicated, and for a group like the Christians who continually try and impress upon how “fearfully and wonderfully” made we are, they seem reluctant to embrace the wonderfulness of diversity.

There are many Christians who are willing to reinterpret their holy book, to forget the nauseating passages regarding bigotry, in the same way they forget or reinterpret the passages pertaining to genocide, infanticide, rape, and slavery.  While I think they are fooling themselves, and I believe as a whole the world would be better off without religion, the LGBT movement should remember these liberal religious folks are our allies.

Its sad to see anyone lose their job over bigotry, perhaps the Christians on the left should begin to stand up to their brethren on the right.  Perhaps the Christians who have chosen to define their faith in a manner that encompasses love and compassion for all their fellow humans regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should make their voices heard.  Make colleges like Azusa Pacific University fear losing your donation, support, and future education dollars, not just those from the bigoted right.

-Maddy

Unkind Stranger

Transgender-Flag-9851062_177422_ver1_0_320_240

I tell myself its going to be easy.  I tell myself the people who don’t understand don’t matter.  I tell myself lie after lie, amazingly i know I’m lying the whole time; yet, despite that knowledge, I go out anyway.

If you normally pass, does make it easier or harder to deal with the laughter, the whispers, the stares that shift when you look?  If you know you don’t pass for one gender or the other does shouldn’t that make the heartfelt pain easier to deal with?  After all, you knew what it was going to be like before you went out, you knew those were lies you were telling yourself.

What is it about a stranger’s rejection that we find so hurtful?  Why is it a loved ones acceptance can wipe away the hurt and trauma of a stranger?

I’m not looking for answers.  I’m not here to deal with my emotional trauma the best way I know how.  I need to examine it,  try and understand exactly what it is that hurts, to question this as I do everything.

Unkind Stranger, your laughter, rejection and dehumanizing behavior will have their intended effect.  You will break my heart.  You will make it harder for me to leave my house.  You will make it harder to love and accept myself the way I should.

Unkind Stranger, you will not break me.

You will not take away the strength and solace I find in the arms of my wife.  You will not remove my will and desire to make this world a better place for generations to come.  You will not change my gender, you have however changed me.

When I come out of my house tomorrow, I will have healed, but I will not have forgiven, and I will not have forgotten.  I will remember there are others out there who don’t have a wife like mine to go home to.  Others who have no refuge from you and the Strangers like you.  Others who have no refuge from a family who treats them the way you treat them.

Unkind Stranger, there are people like me out there you have killed.  People who couldn’t handle living with your scorn, and people who couldn’t live with themselves in the manner you demanded.  Unkind Stranger, you are responsible for their destroyed lives, and for their death.

Tomorrow I will get dressed, and lie to myself.  I will tell myself its going to be easy.  I will tell myself the people who don’t understand don’t matter.  I will do it so that one day those lies will he true.  That one day you Unkind Stranger will be having to go home to the arms of a loved one, upset, angry, frustrated, miserable, depressed; because the world moved on and left you behind.

Good bye Unkind Stranger, we will meet again tomorrow.

-Maddy

Representative Democracy

Paula_profile

This is not a political blog or podcast, however, from time to time we will bring up relevant political information.   The following conditions, both pro and con are in my opinion fair game:

–          Implications for the Transgender community

–          Anti-Science (creationism, global warming denial, etc.)

–          Pseudo-science (alternative medicine & “quantum” mumbo jumbo)

–          LGBT friendly people running for office.

It is this last category which I wanted to mention today.

Paula Overby is running against John Kline (incumbent) for the Minnesota 2nd Congressional District, which also just happens to be my district.  Ms. Overby has stated she wishes her campaign to focus on issues rather than her gender.  While we at the Transatheist blog cannot more heartily agree, we look forward to the day when no one should have to even mention this, although it would be humorous to see certain candidates such as Rick Santorum have to continually answer questions regarding his gender and sexuality…..but that’s just me trolling.

So where do the candidates stand on the issues relevant to this blog?  Her opponent, Representative John Kline has a long voting record against the issues many of us in the Transgender community find important.  In 2007 and 2009 he voted against expansion of the Federal definition of hate crimes to include gender and sexual orientation.  In 2010 he voted against the repeal of Don’t ask / Don’t tell.  In 2012 he voted to disallow the use of federal funds to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

To be fair to Representative Kline, Ms. Overby does not have a voting record on these issues to attack; however, I am going to make a radical assumption and predict Ms. Overby’s voting would be different on all of the above.

As this campaign progresses updates will be posted here, and this campaign will definitely be discussed on an upcoming episode.  We are in the process of putting together a questionnaire of science & athiesm topics, which we will be emailing to both Representative Kline, and Ms. Overby.  We’ll post the questionnaire and responses (if any) to the blog.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ms. Overby’s positions on issues you can head to her website at Paulaoverby.com, you can follow her blog , or follow her on Twitter @PaulaMirare.  Finally you can read an interview she did with the Mintpressnews.com here .

-Maddy

Visual Bodies Photo Exhibition

My favorite of many images, someone I can identify with

My favorite of many images, someone I can identify with.

A picture is truly worth a thousand words, doubly so when its some nobody’s blog such as mine.  This photo exhibition, and the short essays that accompany it, offer a glimpse into the hearts and minds of those who too often are scorned by the ignorant.

Link to Photo Exhibition

There’s not much I can add to the essays, except to toss in my own feelings.

I can readily identify with the photo above.  There are so many days where I wonder if I truly am a transwoman, or simply genderqueer.  I don’t have a burning desire to shave, however I do wish I could dress how I wanted to in public without receiving gawks, double takes, and whispers.  I truly hope that when my grandchildren are raising their children, this issue will be dealt with the way my mom dealt with race when I grew up.  People are people, the color of their skin doesn’t matter.  People are people, their gender is their business, now mind yours.

As always, comments welcome.

-Maddy