May 24th, 2015
lizcommotion: Lily and Chance squished in a cat pile-up on top of a cat tree (buff tabby, black cat with red collar) (cat lily chance pile-up)
posted by [personal profile] lizcommotion in [community profile] dcmetro at 04:18pm on 2015-05-24
Hi, dc dreamwidthers.

My partner and I are downsizing our bikes in hopes of one day moving for reasons of health. We have a lovely vintagey lugged steel Schwinn that is just slightly too big for comfort, and so we're downsizing.

Anyone want to buy a bike? It's in good shape and stored out of rust-inducing weather.

Schwinn DC Metro
Image of Schwinn bike for sale, follow link below for description

If you know anyone bike shopping, feel free to pass on the Craigslist posting.

Selling the bike will help us get funds to move to a healthier situation and we won't have as much stuff to move. Thanks for reading!
May 23rd, 2015
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 06:00pm on 2015-05-23

Posted by Monica Roberts

As many of you long time readers are aware of, ever since I came back home in May 2010, I've been blessed to interact and work with some amazing student leaders at UH, Rice, TSU, HCC-Southeast and UH-Downtown on various projects.

Many of them were freshmen and sophomores at their respective institutions at the time I encountered them or we started talking and staying in contact after I did panel discussions on those respective campuses.

But as y'all are all keenly aware of and was reinforced today, time marches on.  Those collegiate freshmen and sophomores I met have become seniors about to say goodbye to their college years and hello to their post-graduation lives.

So once again I was taking some time out on a Saturday to check out another collegiate graduation.  Today I was at Minute Maid Park to watch four Gator student leaders, Sarah Syed, LaTrina Carter, Tarah Taylor and Kristopher Sharp step across the stage and graduate from UHD with their various degrees.

It started at 9:15 AM with the graduates marching from their staging area down along the left field side stands around home plate to their blocked off area along the right field stands where the stage was set up,  After hanging out near the student seating and waving at Trina and Sarah, I decided to get some seats behind home plate so I could see the massive Jumbotron board which was in operation and get a better view of the ceremony.

It was also amusing to me that while I was there to support these student leaders on their special day, several people and UHD students who walked past my seat in Section 118 recognized and thanked me for coming to UHD to do those various panels.

I also had a fascinating conversation with another woman who was watching the UHD one, and then hit the road at 11 AM to go to the UT-Austin one to see another relative graduate today.

But today was all about the UHD Class of 2015, and I was honored to get an invitation to witness your special day.

ConGRADulations Sarah, Tarah, Kristopher and Trina! You are all amazing young leaders who accomplished much in your time at 1 Main Street.   I salute you for achieving a personal life goal, and I have no doubts that you will continue to do great things for our community, our state and our country.

jayblanc: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jayblanc at 08:29pm on 2015-05-23
People may wonder why I stopped posting "Congratulations".

It seemed that it was no longer appropriate to congratulate regions for maintaining what is now an accepted baseline of civilised society.

However, I commend the people of Ireland, the place I am privileged to call The Old Country, for positively and overwhelmingly voting for civilisation.
twistedchick: (Old South End)
posted by [personal profile] twistedchick at 12:18pm on 2015-05-23
So, as I lie here recovering I'm rewatching the BBC Sherlock. And it occurs to me that what I'm actually watching is something quite different, since Martin Freeman was Bilbo and Cumberbatch was also Smaug. I'm watching the adventures of a Chinese dragon and his hobbit friend solving puzzles in London -- and that's much more interesting. :)

(yes, the painkillers are very nice.)

Posted by Monica Roberts

You long time readers know that I am a rail enthusiast, and one of the things I was happy to see was METRO build a rail component to our transit system that started construction with a 7.5 mile (12.1 km) segment that opened for service in January 2004.

The METRORail Red Line has been wildly successful, with ridership projections four years ahead of schedule.  After a successful  2003 referendum to expand the system to four lines, construction on the 5.3 mile (8.5 km) Red Line North Extension, the 3.3 mile (5.3 km) Green and (6.6 mile (10.6 km) Purple Lines began in 2009 with an original target date of 2012 completion for the Red Line extension and 2014 for the Green and Purple Lines.

But while the North Extension opened early in December 2013, construction delays, rolling stock procurement issues, and other problems caused by non-METRO construction projects pushed the opening of the Green and Purple Lines back to 2014, and eventually to today's opening date.

Harrisburg Overpass Bridge concept drawingThe Harrisburg bridge that will carry the Green Line over freight rail tracks and to the Magnolia Transit Center just broke ground in March and won't be completed until 2016.

The Gold Line through the Galleria area is being built initially as a bus rapid transit lane which will be able to be easily converted to light rail service in the future.   That will allow it to be operational in 2017, while the needed east west University Line is on hold pending funding.

But the long awaited day is here, and METRO is celebrating with a free Railfest concert at BBVA Compass Stadium featuring Ne-Yo Frankie J and a fireworks finale.    BBVA Compass Stadium sits at the junction between the Green and Purple Lines. 

And just as was done when the North extention opened, rides on the rail system will be free all day.

The opening of the Green and Purple lines means that as of today, METRORail is not just one rail line, but a system spanning much of my hometown, with hopefully future expansion to Hobby and Intercontinental airports and the addition of a commuter rail component.

But until then, I'll take advantage of my free rides that start up in a few hours..

synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
posted by [personal profile] synecdochic at 07:23am on 2015-05-23
So, [personal profile] elisem stopped by on her way to Balticon, and we mutually enabled each other: she got me and [personal profile] sarah hooked on Ingress (more info on Wikipedia, since the website is not at all that informative; the pithy explanation for it is "It's a game of virtual capture the flag"), and I got her hooked on Bush Whacker. \o/

Sarah's already level 5 and I'm already level 4. This is apparently a Very Fast Progression, given that we both signed up on Thursday, but I have infected Sarah with a bit of my "that escalated quickly" attitude toward life, so. :)

(If anybody wants to start playing, let me know, I'll send you an invite.)

We are both playing for the Resistance. Baltimore is apparently a heavily Enlightened town, which means plenty of tasty, tasty AP. Last night we were out wardriving (Sarah driving the car with me double-fisting both our phones hacking the portals we were passing to get the loot from them) and on our way back home, we thought, hell, let's capture the portals nearest our house. So we pulled into the driveway of the church nearby -- many of the portals are churches/museums/memorials/sculptures/etc -- and managed to take it down. As we were pulling out of the parking lot, a car came tearing in and two minutes later the portal was green again. We made someone leave the house at midnight to come recapture a portal. It was kind of the best thing ever.

We are leaving tomorrow for a five-day cruise in the Bahamas. I am looking forward to seeing what portals we find on our way. :D
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
posted by [staff profile] denise in [site community profile] dw_dev at 07:35am on 2015-05-23
A reminder, there's about a week left to get your pull requests in if you want to come to Open Source Bridge with us!

I will be out from tomorrow through to 29 May (going on a cruise with limited internet access), but I'll handle registration, hotel, and flights for everybody when we get back.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
posted by [personal profile] sorcyress at 01:42am on 2015-05-23
It's Balticon! How did I get to Balticon you ask, when I had two separate ride-structures fall apart on me and couldn't leave Boston until about 4:00 PM? WELL LET ME TELL YOU!

See, about ten days before the con, I posted on my Facebook being all "boo, my second ride-structure has fallen apart I just don't think I can go since every method is too expensive right now".

And then my friend Dan posted a comment. (paraphrasing) "Well, Abby and I have been meaning to go to Balticon for forever, why don't you fly down with us."

Fly. Because Dan, in addition to being good at tech and photography, owns a plane. And he's been offering to take me up for a right age, we've just never made it work out. So here we go, I have an opportunity to get to the con I love above most others, and an opportunity to fly with a pocketknife. HELLS TO THE YES ON ALL ACCOUNTS.

So at about six thirty this evening, I was sitting in a teeny-tiny four person one propeller plane --the interior is smaller than the minivan I grew up in-- about to take off. I don't think I stopped smiling until the sun set and I immediately conked out because I do not have enough sleep in me.

It was _glorious_. It was so extremely glorious. The windows are so SO much bigger than on a commercial jet, and I can twist around and see out of all of them, even out of the back a little. We cruised at about 6,000 feet the whole way, close enough to see trees and rivers and mountains and farms --David reported on which farms had red barns. We flew over the Hudson and Mount Monadnock and watched a just _beautiful_ sunset.

(and I get to do it all again on Monday, squeeeEEEEE!)

This was the best fucking trip to Balticon I have ever taken, beating out (by far!) the year where I arrived on Thursday through a hilarious series of transportation options and beat everyone else to the con by a full hour. Riding in a tiny plane has done nothing to dissuade me from the opinion that planes are the Very Best Things.

I want to learn how to fly. I still can't afford to learn, but it's on the list, and higher than it was before.


As far as the con itself is concerned, well...

The Hunt Valley Inn was bought a few years ago. Between last year and this year, they...redecorated. It is _very_ awful. I described it as "the sort of hotel people who like the place I grew up in go on vacation". Galia described it as "do you know how many little girls are going to have their Bat Mitzvah's here?". It's...insipid and boring and drab. The new scheme is slate grey, cream, and navy. It's grown-up, in the worst way possible.

I miss the ugly carpets from hell. I miss them so _very_ much.

The only upshot of the redecoration is that they have started up this fabulous horse theme, and like all the art hangings are these vaguely sensual close-up pictures of horses. It's completely disturbing and utterly hilarious, and I am SO SAD I did not bring my Equius cosplay, because can you even _imagine_ how much fun that would be to play with?

Anyways, I'ma get Galia to help me take a video of me doing an appropriate big-no vis-a-vis the carpets. She seems to be the only one who feels the depth of my pain (I knew there was a reason she was my favourite robot).


I arrived at the con a bit after 10:30 at night, which was very late. I dropped stuff off, wandered around, and was just...home. I haven't managed to find Kitty-Aaron yet, but I played Junglespeed (with breadMarc and Sonya and Tucker and other people who I should remember the names of) and chatted with Lanthir and Ian-Beastie and Galia, and did my push-ups with Galia's encouragement and got some lascivious hugs from the pervy artist, and oh, it is wonderful.

About the only thing I haven't managed to do yet is dance with Larry or Chort --they weirdly frontloaded on the dancing this year, so I think I've missed the swing dance (BOO!) and the time travelers ball was more'n halfway through by the time I stopped by (I was just too late to get into a quadrille) and the teen/college club dance required you have a special thing on your badge --I have no badge, so none for me.

People are friendly and wonderful. I am happy. Even if the new carpet is the most boring and awful carpet ever. The older carpet may have been ugly as sin's baby, but at least it had character and was interesting! This is so very derivative and insipid I don't even know where to start.

Hope all y'all are okay.

May 22nd, 2015
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 06:00pm on 2015-05-22

Posted by Monica Roberts

In 2005, after the Texas Legislature passed that unjust constitutional marriage ban, Texas State Rep Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) let loose with a memorable floor speech excoriating it.

Ten years later, east of the Sabine River in Baton Rouge, State Senator Karen Carter Peterson (D-New Orleans)  took to the Louisiana Senate floor to rip Governor Bobby Jindal (R) for his unjust executive order intended to do an end run around the Louisiana Legislature to institute HB 707, a 'right to discriminate' law the Legislature rejected and the Louisiana business community didn't want.

But since Piyush is running for president on the GOP side, in his attempt to pander to Iowa social conservafool voters, he decided to unilaterally issue this executive order.that all the states competing with Louisiana for Super Bowls, Final Fours and other convention business are saying thank you very much for your stupidity.

Here's Senator Peterson's floor speech.

marnanel: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] marnanel at 07:44pm on 2015-05-22 under
TW child abuse, sexual assault

so, this is what i have to say about Josh Duggar.
Q: what's it called when you hush up your own children being raped to preserve your reputation?
A: it's called Omelas. and if you, like Mike Huckabee, care nothing about walking away from Omelas, i don't want to know you. that's all.

Posted by Monica Roberts

Mr. T's 63rd birthday was yesterday and we're going to celebrate it properly by doing what we normally do on this blog every Friday without fail.

It's time to call out the fool, fools or group of fools that exhibit mind numbing stupidity, immense levels of ignorance, horrific levels of hubris, and off the chain levels of arrogance.

Yep, it's time for the post-Mr T birthday edition of this week's Shut Up Fool Awards.

Honorable mention number one is a joint one for  the entire GOP clown car, er' 2016 GOP presidential candidate field. Just pick a way too numerous moment this week in which they all said something incredibly stupid.

Honorable mention number two is Maine Gov Paul LePage (R) in the latest GOP War on the Poor move, wants to kick convicted felons off of TANF and SNAP even if they have kids and have turned their lives around.

And y'all wanna know why I hate these evil Teapublicans

Honorable mention number three is Rep Louie Gohmert (R-TX) m who actually parted his lips (surprise surprise) to say that Dubya would have rethought the Iraq War if he'd known that President Obama would have followed him into office.

Still trying to blame the Black Democratic POTUS for the white GOP POTUS' screw ups.

Honorable mention number four is Rep David Brat (R-VA) who is a living example of the be careful what you wish for in political circles.   Brat replaced Eric Cantor, and is far worse than the guy he replaced.   He recently said that DREAMers in the military will lead to the 'decline of Western Civilization'.

Yo David, your white sheet is showing.

Honorable mention number five also goes to someone else whose white sheet was showing in Dork Duke University professor Jerry Hough, who parted his lips to say some racist crap in the local media concerning the Baltimore Rebellion.

Honorable mention number six is Peter Brimelow, who forgot the Civil War ended 150 years and said a white nationalists supremacists conference that stats should consider secession from the US for the protection of 'white rights'.

Dude you have an entire political party and two political movements in conservatism and libertarianism that seek to do precisely that.

And news flash, y'all lost the War To Preserve Slavery, get over it.

This week's Shut Up Fool awards winner  is a joint award for Josh Duggar and his mother Michelle Duggar.    Josh and his mother have spent a lot of time demonizing TBLG people and Josh worked for the Family Fascist Research Council until he had to resign after revelations broke that Duggar molested several teenage girls, including his own sisters.

Michelle slimed trans women calling us predators on behalf of the right wing efforts to kill trans inclusive human rights laws while basking in the hypocritical knowledge that the real sexual predator was her own son, and she helped keep it quiet.

19 Molestations and Counting needs to be cancelled

I takes some serious cojones for you to project your own reprehensible molestation behavior on someone else for your own personal and political gain.

It's even more reprehensible when some of the victims of it are your own sisters and mommy and daddy cover it up.

Josh and Michelle Duggar, shut up fools!.

Posted by Monica Roberts

You know I have much love and respect for my sis Andrea Jenkins, who I met and roomed with during the TransFaith in Color Conference in Charlotte back in 2012 and is a trailblazing girl like us and advocate in her own right up in Minneapolis.

Jenkins recently received two honors that need and deserve to be signal boosted.   She was named as the Grand Marshal for the upcoming Twin Cities Pride Parade.  She is the second trans person to receive that honor.(Debbie Davis in 2000) third African-American after Minnesota Lynx guard Seimone Augustus and her fiance LaTaya Varner in 2012 and first ever African-American trans person to do so.

Andrea on May 20 had her name added to the Congressional Record for the 114th Congress by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), whose 5th Congressional District covers that area.

So what's the Congressional Record you ask?  It is the official record of proceedings and debates of the United States Congress, and from time to time congressmembers will take a moment to use some of their time to do floor speech that recognizes people and organizations in their home districts.

Those speeches, because they happen on the House floor, get recorded, published and at the end of the 114th Congress in 2017 will be placed in bound volumes enshrined permanently in the Library of Congress and online via THOMAS.

Translation, this is a Big Fracking Deal, and so proud of Andrea for getting this well deserved recognition for the work she's done in the Twin Cities.  

She was a longtime policy aide for 12 years on the Minneapolis City Council for Minneapolis City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden where she initiated and helped develop the the Minneapolis Transgender Issues Work Group and produced the first Transgender Summit in the city.

Jenkins also a published poet, serves on numerous boards and is now with the University of Minnesota as the curator for their Transgender Oral History Project

I hear Andrea plays a mean game of tennis, so I'll have to remember to bring my racquet when I get the opportunity to visit her and the rest of the Twin Cities trans fam.

Congratulations Andrea for a well deserved honor!

Posted by Monica Roberts

One of the things I get tired of and pissed off about is the blanket blocking of trans themed sites because of the erroneous assumption that all that deal with trans subjects are porn related.

I had this issue with Uniguest until they finally saw the light and recognized my GLAAD Media Award nominated blog is exactly that, an information site that happens to tackle trans topics, and looks like I'm going to have to bitch and yell until Megabus (or whoever is managing their Wifi for them) gets that message as well.

On my last trip to Dallas from Houston a few weeks ago, since I had four hours until I arrived there, I wanted to write some posts for my blog, but the Megabus WiFi wouldn't allow me access to do that, much less see if the auto posts I'd set before leaving actually went up on the blog because its filter assumed it was porn related.

And you know what has been said about when you assume...

Now I've had the same crap happen on my Houston-Austin run, and I'm beyond pissed off about it.

Hey Megabus, news flash for you:  There are transgender themed blogs that are legitimate news sites.   Some of your passengers also happen to be trans people who spend our hard earned T-bills to use your double decker buses for inexpensive intercity travel from one place to another like I and others do inside the borders of the Lone Star State.

I'd like to have the ability when I'm traveling to Dallas, Austin, San Antonio or in the future to New Orleans and other Megabus destinations, to have the ability to not only work on my blog that has garnered 6 million hits since its 2006 founding, but also read other trans themed sites that cover the new that pertains to my community.

Can we make that expeditiously happen Megabus?  Sure hope so.
May 21st, 2015
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 12:00am on 2015-05-21

Posted by Monica Roberts

You longtime TransGriot readers know that my inspiration for my Friday Shut Up Fool Awards is a certain 1980's tough guy, and today is Mr.T's birthday.

But before he was named to the WWE Hall of Fame and had roles on The A-Team and Rocky III, Mr. T was born 63 years ago today in Chicago.

His heyday was the 80's in which he won the World's Toughest Bouncer competition twice in addition to his acting roles and advocacy for kids.

So yep I have much love for him, and hope he continues to celebrate many more birthdays to come.
tb: (bullseye)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
posted by [personal profile] redbird at 12:01pm on 2015-05-21 under
I've had a twitter account for a long time, and am now reading and posting enough that I think it's worth following, though LJ and DW still get more of my attention, and anything detailed goes here. (This is partly the nature of the respective sites: I usually want to say more than will fit in 140 characters.) What I'm posting over there includes some of what's going on day-to-day; the retweets are more political, and also include science and some humor., and retweeted politics (of course), science, and some humor.

I'm @vicki on twitter (I signed up early and then ignored it for ages).
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 12:00pm on 2015-05-21

Posted by Monica Roberts

I've done the speech, it was well received and I enjoyed my all too brief time in Austin and on the UT-Austin campus.

Now it's time for me to go back to Houston and deal with my life back home.

Thanks to  Melinda Bogdanovich and her family for allowing me to hang out in their home while I was here in the ATX, and to Liz Elsen for making this event a smooth one logistically for me.

Thanks to all you students, faculty and allies for expressing your appreciation for the speech.  As long as y'all liked it and especially the graduates, I'm happy.

Enjoyed coming to Austin to do something besides running up to our state capitol to lobby for a change.

Where's Moni headed next?   Hopefully to Philly for the PTHC.  But some things have to happen for me to be writing posts from the City of Brotherly Love again.

Anyway, hope the wifi is working on this bus.
mrs_sweetpeach: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] mrs_sweetpeach at 11:10am on 2015-05-21 under , , ,
I've seen this commercial for State Farm Insurance a bunch of times. Am I the only person who has realized that the guy is wrong about everything and that therefore his "I'm never letting go" really means I'm gonna end up divorced? Now when I watch I feel bad for him and his family.
location: Work
Mood:: 'melancholy' melancholy
twistedchick: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] twistedchick at 09:58am on 2015-05-21
The surgery failed. And now, looking toward another one, more comprehensive.

I can't really say any more right now.
twistedchick: (sunset/sunrise)
posted by [personal profile] twistedchick at 09:57am on 2015-05-21

Posted by Monica Roberts

This is the text of the speech I'm delivering at UT-Austin's Lavender Graduation.

Good afternoon to the UT-Austin faculty, alumni, students, guests, friends and the UT-Austin Class of 2015.

If UT alum Matthew McConnaughey can speak to the graduating class at my alma mater UH as he did last Friday, I guess y'all can indulge having this Cougar speak to you today.

I am honored to be here as your keynote speaker for this 8th annual Lavender Graduation that is co--hosted by the Gender and Sexuality Center and the UT Queer Students Alliance (QSA).    The Gender and Sexuality Center is celebrating its 10th anniversary of service to UT campus community, and I salute the wonderful work that they do in providing opportunities for all members of the UT Austin community to explore, organize, and promote learning around issues of gender and sexuality.

The center also facilitates a greater responsiveness to the needs of women and the LGBTQ communities through education, outreach, and advocacy, and I thank Liz Elsen for the opportunity to address you today.

I also thank Melinda Bogdanovich for being here with me today and opening her home to me while I am here in the ATX.  I spent a long enjoyable night catching up with her, and so looking forward to the next time I get to spend some quality time with her and he family.

It's also an anniversary for myself in that 35 years ago today I was in the Astroarena back in Houston graduating from high school and preparing to take that next step and get my college education.   But I was also dealing with wrestling with a word that I'd heard just five years earlier that perfectly encapsulated what I was struggling with.


In Houston until 1980 we had an anti-crossdressing ordinance on the books that criminalized people wearing opposite gender clothing, and it was used at times by HPD to harass the Houston LGBT community.   A trans woman by the name of Toni Mayes was being messed with by HPD to the point that every time she used a female restroom consistent with her gender presentation, she was arrested,   She got tired of it, sued, and won her case.

Then Renee Richards transition and her legal case in which she sued for the right to play in the US Open as a woman blew up in the news less than a year later.   A soon to be high school age TransGriot was contemplating the fact that what seemed to be impossible was a very doable thing in terms of being her true self.

It took me almost two decades and a few twists and turns to get to that point when I summoned the courage to take that next step, but here I am, a proud, internationally recognized unapologetic Black trans woman.

But enough about me.   This Lavender Graduation is  about you, the Class of 2015. about to step out into the world as your true selves armed with not only the knowledge you gained as you walked across the UT-Austin campus, but the life skills and acquired knowledge you gained just by living your out and proud lives.

And as one of your trans elders, time for Moni to arm you with more of your history before you leave this campus with those hard won diplomas.

As we are quite aware of, it has become fashionable in liberal-progressive circles to beat up on Texas because of our conservative leaning government that believes in oppressing people rather than investing in people.

I know you're tired of it and so am I of being told by people on the coasts for us to leave our beloved state and come to the so called liberal oases that in some ways  may seem to be better, but have their own problems and issues.

But hear me now East and West Coasts.  You got the opportunity of passing your LGBT friendly legislation in an era that was less politically partisan.  We here in Texas and the rest of what you derisively call 'flyover country' have to fight tooth and nail for whatever progress we get.   

And yeah  we  heard the sneers that we wouldn't be able to stop those 18 anti-LGBT bills, but  we did. it because we're Texans and it's in our DNA to do what's considered the impossible.

Now we'll have to be vigilant until June 1 to ensure those bills stay dead, but tom line is we did what the rest of the country thought we couldn't do.

So in order for us to get the human rights in our red state that you enjoy in your blue states, we have to stand and fight for them.  Changing Texas for the better and making its laws and policies more TBLG accepting cannot be done from New York or San Francisco. 

But what many people also fail to realize outside of the borders of the Lone Star state is that much of the modern LGBT human rights movement has a Texas twang to it.

Ray Hill, who is a legendary activist in the Houston area, was a key player in the early national LGBT ranks that included Harvey Milk and Frank Kameny.  

And without Texans such as Phyllis Frye, Sarah De Palma, Tere Prasse, Jane Ellen Fairfax, and Dee McKellar, the modern trans rights movement would have taken a lot longer to get organized, get its messaging on point, and even do lobbying at the local, state and federal levels.

That organizing happened at the ICTLEP conferences held in Houston starting in 1992 through 1996., and were responsible for not only putting out an International Bill of Transgender Rights, but focusing our early direction of passing an inclusive ENDA, passage of the hate crimes bill and passing local trans inclusive ordinances.

Just down I-35 in San Antonio,  Linda and Cynthia Phillips were busy not only running a trans group called the Boulton and Park Society, but what would eventually become the largest trans gathering in the country until Southern Comfort overtook it in the Texas T Party.

The T was for transsexual, not teabagger.

Even two critical trans marriage law cases, the Littleton v Prange one and the ongoing Araguz v Delgado one both involve plaintiffs from the Lone Star state.

And yeah, there some award winning African-American trans blogger from Houston y'all might have heard about who helped organize a muticultural trans rights org called NTAC in 1999 and has a blog with 6 million hits as of yesterday nobody reads.

That legacy of pioneering Texas trans leaders that we proudly uphold also extends to people like Carter Brown, Lou Weaver, Katy Stewart, Dr Oliver Blumer, Lauryn Farris and Dee Dee Watters just to name a few on the trans Texan end of the LGBT leadership scale.

There are also outstanding Texas leaders who are also proud members of our community like Rep Mary Gonzales,  Rep. Celia Israel, Omar Narvaez, Rafael McDonnell and countless others all over the 268, 820 sq miles of Planet Earth we call home who are doing that they can in their own way large and small to make their communities and Texas a better place for all of us.

Yes graduates, you have a proud history, and you'll hopefully get an opportunity to put your stamp on that history.   I have no doubt that some of you sitting here today will go on to do great things and I hope I'm around to see you accomplish them.

But your biggest accomplishment will be to simply become the best human beings you can be.

The best thing you can do is live your life boldly and proudly as the wonderful people we know you are and are evolving to become.   Know that you are not alone in this quest.   In addition to family members, and family in this instance doesn't necessarily mean the people related to you by blood, but chosen family.    You also have friends, allies, your BTLG elders and other interested parties who will be invaluable to you as you continue on this path to being the best persons you can be.

In closing, I want to once again say congratulations to the UT-Austin Lavender Graduation Class of 2015.  As you step off Forty Acres and the world know that we love you, we're proud of you, and as you fulfill your lifelong dreams in whatever field you choose on behalf of our LGBT community and yourselves, I;ll be eagerly watching for it to unfold and write it down.

Congratulations graduates!
May 20th, 2015
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
posted by [personal profile] redbird at 07:44pm on 2015-05-20 under ,
Cattitude spoke to someone at Premera (the health insurance company) today. My understanding, which I'm putting here partly for my own reference after describing it to Adrian in chat:

We're supposed to go ahead and use the existing health insurance cards (but not the health savings account card, because we'll be getting replacements on that). There may be a couple of weeks when claims are denied, so let doctors, PT, etc. know to just wait and they should automatically be re-submitted and approved. If nothing has happened in a couple of weeks after a first denial, let us know so we can yell at them. And in the short term, pay for prescription copay etc., keep paper receipts, and submit for reimbursement. (If I have this right, we used up our deductible for 2015, so the HSA shouldn't be relevant anymore.) I suspect this means that they are in the process of denying my PT session from last week, but we'll see. (I cancelled this week's to avoid insurance hassles, but am going back next Thursday.)

It's going to be a nuisance, but no worse than that, I think. The key point for the short term is that my health insurance card is still valid (so if I get sick or in an accident right now, I don't need to worry about whether I'm covered).

Having said that, I will probably fret until I get the new card and the next "this is not a bill" statement from Premera (they send one of these every time either of us sees a doctor, PT, dentist…, telling us what the retail price would have been, what Premera paid, and what we owe. The last few have had "what we owe" as nothing, because we used up this year's deductible.)

ETA: the new HSA cards were in today's mail.
sorcyress: Drawing of me as a pirate, standing in front of the Boston Citgo sign (Default)
posted by [personal profile] sorcyress at 07:33pm on 2015-05-20 under
Tamra looked at me a couple times while she was visiting, and pointed out that I get really passionate when I talk about dancing. Like, she can tell it's important to me --tell that it's one of the most important things in my life-- because of the way I light up, and start moving, and stumble over my words in my haste and enthusiasm to explain everything I love about it.

During the social part of professional development this afternoon, I found myself doing it again. I was talking with one of the ELL specialists, about language and music and dance, and my whole body just felt electric and engaged. She seemed entirely charmed, and not at all horrified by my exuberance, which I found very polite. When I think about it harder, I find it not polite but _correct_ that she be charmed, because people being passionate and sharing knowledge is the most charming thing, and yes Kat, that applies to you too.

(I will never win the war against my own self-esteem, but I'll be damnded if I give up on it without a fight.)

Dancing is important.
Dancing is incredibly important.
Dancing is, if not the single most important verb in my life, certainly in the top three1, and my life would be radically, shatteringly, different (and worse) without it.

Dancing is an activity that has significant connections to freedom, sex, kink and power dynamics, kinesthesia and body awareness, gender, GENDER, costuming, teaching and learning, performance, mathematics and patterns, joy, flirtation, and fun. That list is basically the complete "things wot Kat will perk up for", minus the spiders and board games, and both of those can be found in spades at Pinewoods.

I love dancing. If this post somehow does not convince you, catch me in person and measure the jump in wattage behind my eyes when you ask me to explain the differences between "allemandes" throughout set dances. I love dancing and I am fucking passionate about it. If I could spend all my time and energy on it, I easily would.


I have been spending a lot of serious time with people who are serious believers in Getting Things Done and changing the rules of the world until it is working for you and your passions. I don't know that Tamra was specifically scouting me for life-coaching, but then again, I don't know that she wasn't either, and a lot of her other observations/suggestions re: my life were the sorts of things that made me wish it was socially acceptable to carry a notepad and transcribe constant notes from casual conversations.

I am passionate about dance. What can I do with this. How can I --for lack of a better term-- monetize my passion.

(It's not about making money. It's about taking money. Destroying the status quo because the status is NOT quo It's about creating a world for myself where I can spend as much of my time as possible doing things that make me wave my hands around and physically bounce up and down. There are two ways to find this world, and one of them involves finding a method of capital acquisition that I love so much that I feel genuine joy participating in it2.)

How can I work out my world so that, at the very least, I get to engage, and meta-engage, in this most wonderful activity as often as possible.

How can I bring my passion to other people, how can I find other people with similar minds, how can I better do teaching, and outreach, and gosh I don't even know.

Dancing is important. How do I bring it to the rest of the world?

I'm gonna keep mulling this over in the near future. In the meantime, well, if only there were some sort of dedicated space online to put these sorts of thoughts.


1: It ranks behind writing and ahead of teaching, but then we get into verb-combination and sometimes I get to teach people to dance.

2: The other involves finding a method that will get me as much capital as possible, in as little time as possible, and then spending all of my non-capital-achieving hours engaging in activities that bring me genuine joy. There's a third method, but I'm no good at dismantling capitalism.
maevele: (awesome)
posted by [personal profile] maevele at 04:10pm on 2015-05-20
I'm finally caught up enough with everything else to just be super excited that wiscon is so soon, omg. I get to see so many awesome people!!! I'm on the free range kids panel, and the one about extraterrestrial languages, otherwise mostly drifting.

Also, regarding the stuff with my co-op, a lot of shit turned around in the last few weeks/months, full repair was approved, volunteer work started last weekend, and we are working out the details about filling the rooms when it opens up in august. Viva Lothlorien. Which is why I have been too busy to be excited about the con until now.
mrs_sweetpeach: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] mrs_sweetpeach at 09:17am on 2015-05-20 under , ,
I'm on my sixth rereading of Astolat's Life Sentence so I figured it was deserving of a recommendation. Slash, of course, and fandom is the Fast and Furious Series (with a bit of a twist), and holy cats is it ever good.
location: Work
Music:: Guns N' Roses: Paradise Cit
Mood:: 'calm' calm
mrs_sweetpeach: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] mrs_sweetpeach at 09:13am on 2015-05-20 under , , ,
location: Work
Music:: Guns N' Roses: Paradise Cit
Mood:: 'cheerful' cheerful
misschili: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] misschili at 02:35pm on 2015-05-20 under
Yes, I have a scooter. Despite my need for such things to get around in larger spaces than our flat, I do feel a bit embarrassed about using it, due to certain cartoon series (SP, perhaps?) or other tv shows discussing how scooters are made only for the fat and lazy.


Last week, I mentioned to Per that the scooter front tire was looking a little flat, so he got out a tire pump and gave it what it needed, and he did the same for the two back tires while he was at it.

The next day, we went to the mall to go shopping for food and stuff, and I did a long round on Gossamer. Yes, my scooter has a name. Yes, I refer to it as 'she'. That's the same as boats, right?

When we came home, I parked Gossamer out on the landing strip or in the hangar or wherever ... oh, okay, I parked her outside our front door, near the stairs.

Last night, Per and I were in the living room when we heard something BOOM from the hallway outside our front door, so he went out to see what happened.

Bringing in shards of plastic, he said that one of the rear wheels exploded. Yow, really?!

He wheeled her in through our front door, where she sits still, her right rear tire flat and the inner half of its wheel/rim that was made of plastic is utterly in shards, while the outer half of the rim that was metal is still solid.

Someone will be coming by in a day or so to fix her up and hopefully to explain how this could have happened.
Mood:: 'yip yip yipe!' yip yip yipe!

Posted by Monica Roberts

It's May, and in addition to it being prom season, we also have people walking across stages across the country to receive their diplomas.

The topic is on my mind because I'm about to deliver a keynote speech on the UT-Austin campus in a few hours for their lavender graduation ceremony, and witnessed a trans feminine friend of mine get her degree from Prairie View Saturday.

I love being on a college campus whether it is a ginormous one like the UT-Austin one is or as small as the HCC-Southeast one that I've had the honor to do numerous events and panel discussions.

The common thread with both is those campuses are in the important business of educating our next generation of citizens and future leaders

And some of the citizens being educated on our college campuses in Texas and around the country are transgender ones who either transitioned in their teens or on those campuses.

Trans people go through hell and if they manage to get their high school and collegiate diplomas, they have beaten the odds that see 71% of them drop out before finishing high school.

If they managed to beat those odds and graduate, then its getting through college while trans, which can be a feat in itself in addition to just dealing with collegiate classwork.

And a trans person getting their education while trans is a revolutionary act.
May 19th, 2015
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
posted by [personal profile] redbird at 06:32pm on 2015-05-19 under , , ,
I went to pick up prescription refills today, and they tried to charge me a lot more than last month, because the health insurance coverage isn't showing.

[personal profile] cattitude's last day at Microsoft was April 30. We filled out the COBRA* stuff as soon as they told us how, and then sent in the check as soon as they sent us the paperwork so we could. (Starting next month we can do it online, but they want a check for the first month.) "As soon as we could" means the check was mailed this morning, so of course it hasn't arrived and been processed yet.

They're supposed to backdate the insurance once they get the payment (that's in the COBRA law), but the pharmacist didn't know whether we'd get reimbursed for that $99, let alone how long it would take. So I told her I'd go home and count pills and come back when I need to, and we will call the insurance company. Extremely modified rapture.

Meanwhile, I cancelled my physical therapy appointment for Thursday morning; they'd been charging me something like $11.73/session, until the most recent paperwork from the insurer which said I owed nothing because we'd used up our deductible (dental surgery is expensive). The no-insurance fee would be $200/session. If I was sure I needed this appointment, I'd chance getting reimbursed much later or even not at all, but we're at the tapering off stage where it's mostly strengthening exercises (and basically the same ones the last few weeks), with some stretches, a quick diagnostic check beforehand, and then ice and ultrasound after. If we were still doing traction, I'd probably take the chance of not being reimbursed.

As a side note, apparently there's very little evidence that the ultrasound makes a difference.** My theory on why everyone keeps doing it, other than inertia, is that it's the only part of standard PT that's basically pleasant for the patient, so we all want it. (It's pretty definitely harmless, so if I'm there anyway and the therapist thinks it might help I want it.)

* Explanation for residents of more civilized countries: COBRA is the law that says if an American loses employer-provided health insurance, they have to be allowed to continue for up to 18 months at their own expense, for no more than I think 2% more than the employer was paying. So continuing coverage, and the price advantage of buying in a group. (This is separate from and earlier than Obamacare.)

** The lack of evidence is specifically with regard to low-energy ultrasound as part of physical therapy. The stuff they do to break up kidney stones is also called "ultrasound," because they both use very high frequency sound waves.
Mood:: annoyed
twistedchick: arrow pointing left-can we have sanity now? (sanity now?)
posted by [personal profile] twistedchick at 09:55pm on 2015-05-19
twistedchick: Cam Mitchell pitching a holy fit in the kitchen (pitch a holy fit)
selki: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] selki at 06:12pm on 2015-05-19
What a month+ it's been.  For those who don't know, my father died, and I was in North Carolina a lot, going down on short notice both times (thanks work for understanding and letting me telework some!) first to look after him a little, and then be with him when I found out he was rapidly getting much worse.  In between, when I thought maybe he was going to be ok (as ok as one could be with aid of oxygen), I flew off to Penguicon (he said I should go), was very busy making the presentations I'd committed to go well, lost my grip and fought with a friend there, made up, but not what any of us needed then.   And some of my friends and family are going through grief and job stress of their own.  Oof.

One of the disorientations about the second trip to NC was being around family all the time.  I'm really glad we siblings were all able to get there and be with him when he could still talk with us a little, and mostly support each other through the process, and work together on arrangements afterward.  I'm so used to being on my own, though, and usually I like it.  It's unusual to have to consider others when thinking of doing laundry (noise) or whatever.  I was so relieved last weekend to have absolutely nothing scheduled, and I was a total hermit ...

except for going out to get a pedicure.  You see, I took some long walks in NC, and my toenails had that pinchy feeling (not ingrown, but pinchy) that I thought a pedicure might help. I've had one before, and it helped then.  But this time, they offered me a color instead of clear polish, and I thought I'd try pink.  And she laid down a vibrant fuschia, except for a little chip? rub-off? problem on each big toe.  And now my feet do not look like my feet, every time I glance down!  It's summer-ish (muggy) right now, so I feel like going barefoot in my house.  But my feet look wrong.  OTOH, in a way it's a relief to have something *tangible* to feel so ooked out about, even if I also feel vaguely guilty about the triviality.  And my toenails aren't pinchy any more.

In other news, I'll be over at Balticon some this weekend to see friends I don't get to see much of, and will happily share hugs if you see me there.

Posted by Monica Roberts

Another month, another trip, and I'm headed back to the ATX, but not for lobbying purposes.  Now if something blows up while I'm in the Austin city limits, I won't be too far away from the capitol building to handle lobbying business if I get the phone call.

I'm heading there because I was asked to be the keynote speaker for UT's Lavender Graduation.

It's happening May 20, and is co-hosted by the Gender and Sexuality Center and the UT Queer Students Alliance (QSA).  The goal of the Lavender Graduation is to provide a venue to demonstrate the success of our community members in a personal, entertaining and celebratory way. The Lavender Graduation will take place at the Student Activity Center starting at 4 PM CDT on the UT-Austin campus at Speedway and 21st Streets.  

Hope to see you there!.

But first
, my Megabus needs to get me to Austin, and in addition to hoping we leave on  time at 1:30 PM, hope the wifi is working.   We'll see if I can access TransGriot since it was blocked the last time I traveled on Megabus, and I was not a happy camper about that.  

See y'all in a few hours, ATX and UT-Austin..
posted by [syndicated profile] transgriot_feed at 12:00pm on 2015-05-19

Posted by Monica Roberts

Another day, another amazing milestone at TransGriot as my 6 millionth visitor graced my electronic pages at approximately 11:59 AM CDT

A little apropos it happened on Malcolm X's birthday and also on a day in which I'm traveling to Austin to deliver a keynote speech on the UT-Austin campus.

6 million hits in 9 years.   Can't thank you TransGriot readers enough for not only taking time out of your busy day to read the posts I've compiled, but share them and tell your friends about the blog.

I also thank those of you who from time to time drop some change in the TransGriot tip jar.   It helps me pay for Internet access, build up a repair fund when I need to repair a computer, or save for the day when I need to replace one.

Thanks once again for helping me reach 6 million visitors!  On to the next milestone.

Posted by Monica Roberts

You TERF's don't get to play that game in which you gleefully oppress and attack trans women's humanity and then climb on your white femininity pedestal and claim you're being 'bullied' or 'attacked'. You're getting called on your transphobic crap and if you don't like it, tough.
TransGriot, July 10, 2013

And yeah, I have no problem calling your asses out.

Had a female activist friend in Louisville who asked about the TERF designation, felt it was a slur and who didn't understand why there is major animus between the trans feminine community and our TERF oppressors.

Well, here's my response to her, and it's one I need to share with you readers as well.

TERF, Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist is NOT a slur. It is a term to accurately describe them that was created by other feminists because they were sick and tired of being lumped in with those racist and transphobic fauxminists who really need to be declared a hate group.

Dr.+Janice+Raymond.gifAnd no, they have had a 40 year run to demonize trans women. Too bad if they don't like being called out on their BS.  New century, new decade, new rules.  

They started the anti-trans attacks back in 1973, gleefully worked in their words 'to morally legislate us out of existence', worked to get trans medical care excluded from insurance coverage, called for our extermination, and as part of the senior leadership of LGB organizations gleefully worked (and still are working) to cut us out of human rights legislation or fight our addition to it.

What made them think in their vanillacentic privileged minds that trans feminine women weren't going to get sick and tired of being attacked and wouldn't respond to their repeated provocations?

And now TERF's are attacking our trans kids in conjunction at times with right-wing hate groups, it's on like Donkey Kong.

The TERF War On Trans Women, their stirring up of animus toward trans women, and the deliberate oppression of us has had a negative effect on trans women of color.  So when a group of predominately white alleged feminists have taken a long, documented series of actions dating back to 1973 that have had disproportionate negative effects on POC trans women, and they are now attacking trans kids, that doesn't engender warm and fuzzy feelings toward them.

And as part of the group of trans women who have been disproportionately harmed by their racist rhetoric and actions, I'm not (and neither is the trans community) going to twiddle my thumbs as they continue to peddle their anti-trans hate speech.   I give zero fucks when I see the TERFs play the game of crying white women's tears when we justifiably react to counter their nekulturny behavior and call them out for their reprehensible actions they refuse to take responsibility for.

I'm glad you went to MichFest and had a positive experience there.  That's not the case for many trans women who were booted off The Land

People evolve over time.
  However, it seems that the TERF's have refused to evolve since 1973, so until they realize that trans women ARE women, their efforts over the last 40 years have caused real harm to us, and they respect our humanity, we have noting to discuss with them.

The bedrock position we have as trans women is that our humanity is non-negotiable, and until TERF's respect our lived experiences and our femininity as just as valid as their own, there's no point in having a dialogue with a group of people that don't respect us.

We didn't start the Rad Fem War On Trans Women.  But if the TERF's want to keep it going, for our survival we have no choice but to finish it.
misschili: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] misschili at 04:37pm on 2015-05-19 under
MS sucks. We all know it. Still and all, there are so many aspects to this f#€%ing disease that some might possibly sneak up on us when we're not looking.

I'm trying to look out for what could trip me up, even as I'm reallyREALLYreally trying not to look at other things that may well make me sit down in my closet, shut the door and be so quiet as to hope the monster won't know where I am. Okay, not literally. Yeah yeah. But reading bits on MS lists/whatever about someone who was once a vibrant girl, became a vibrant woman, but was crippled into what sounds like a bundle of sticks wrapped loosely with a piece of twine ... yeah, I'm referring to a Mouseketeer, and you can look it all up online, but I'm trying not to do that.

So, to wrap it all up for the day, I'm enclosing a bit from a blog written by someone else who's having a really rough time of it. So:

I’ve always vowed that if these things take me down they’ll take me down swinging, but with so many targets to swing at it’s hard to know precisely where to aim. Especially when taking a swing with a weakened, emaciated, and agonized arm doesn’t amount to all that formidable an attack.

I can still spit with the best of them, though, and if that’s going to be the only weapon left to me, then spit I will. Ha!

(Oh, the subject is meant to refer to the term 'making a beast with two backs', a rather ancient -- if you consider Shakespeare to be from ancient times, which some people might, but other people wouldn't -- term meaning sex. But my rephrase from beast to MonSter refers, of course, to the MS monster I deal with every day. If only I could figure out its tell, I might be able to beat it. Ah well, I'm about as good at card games as I am crap with much of anything else.)

Mood:: 'yip yip yipe!' yip yip yipe!
nancylebov: (green leaves)
posted by [personal profile] nancylebov at 10:08am on 2015-05-19

Posted by Monica Roberts

Yesterday Maya Avant told her boyfriend Rick Forrester on the CBS soap 'The Bold and the Beautiful that she is trans.

Rick didn't take the news well initially, but when Maya was about to walk out of the door of that Big Bear cabin and out of his life forever with her heart breaking in the process, Rick once again declared his love for her.

We'll see how the rest of their relationship transpires, especially as media mogul Bill Spencer is about to blast Maya's trans business all over the tabloids in upcoming episodes along with the various reactions of the B&B characters to that news..

But the happy tears I was shedding as this episode transpired led to me doing some hard solid thinking in the wake of it.   I know that many relationships in which a cis man dates a trans woman don't survive her telling her partner, and in far too many instances, the trans woman faces the risk of intimate partner violence when she does disclose her status.

But the other question I pondered in the wake of this broadcast is will the broadcast of the Maya and Rick romance finally lead to a honest discussion about the stigma that cis men like Rick endure for dating a trans woman they love and the attacks on the femininity of the trans women that are the objects of their affection?

While we have instances in our community in which you have couples like Myles and Precious who are trans masculine and trans feminine people who love each other enough they are engaged to be married, far more prevalent are hetero normative relationships in which a trans man is coupled with a cis feminine partner and a cis man is coupled with a trans feminine partner.

It's been happening ever since Christine Jorgensen stepped off the airplane from Denmark in 1953 and Cupid's arrows stared targeting their hearts.  

Pioneering French trans woman Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy married her first husband at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral in 1960.

But that was in an era before the TERF's started attacking the femininity of trans women in the early 70's, and the rise of the gay rights movement led to a social conservative backlash and attack on the human rights of LGBT people.

The bottom line is that trans men are MEN, and trans women are WOMEN, but for far too long cis men who love us enough to pursue us and put a ring on our fingers have had their masculinity questioned.  

Some of those cis men have even experienced the discrimination their trans partners get as the trans women, especially if their trans partner was low or no disclosure until yanked into the spotlight.   And as Mister Cee discovered, your masculinity, especially when it is revealed that you like trans women, is rigidly and at times viciously policed.

That scrutiny and hostility is magnified if you are a cis man who admits that you like and prefer dating trans women as my brother Troy has pointed out to me in numerous conversations over the years.

Even Hollywood has demonized trans women and the men who love us.  The movie Ted 2 has a scene in which derogatory comments are made by the teddy bear when he finds out his friend has trans porn on his computer.

We need to have an ongoing conversation about our relationships in which the baseline for having it is that our femininity as trans women is not erased and the cis men who prefer us as their partners are not demonized for doing so. 

The cis men who love us are going to have to step up and meet us trans women halfway.  They are going to have to come out of the shadows and say in no uncertain terms they love us, we are the women they want to marry, and to kiss their behinds if you don't like it.  

If a soap opera storyline can lead to an enlightened conversation about a real world issue, then by all means lets get that conversation started.
posted by [syndicated profile] wapsisquare_feed at 05:00am on 2015-05-19
May 18th, 2015

Posted by Monica Roberts

After the initial flurry of trans women that were killed in the first two months of 2015, things had gotten quiet on that front in the United States until today.

News stations in Philadelphia are reporting that 21 year old London Chanel Allen was stabbed tin the back and neck after a fight between her and her 31 year old attacker that occurred in an abandoned rowhouse on North Philadelphia at 12:40 AM EDT in the 2200 block of Ingersoll Street

She was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital where she was pronounced dead just after 1 AM., police said.

"My heart goes out to her family, friends and the community as we mourn her death," said Nellie Fitzpatrick, Director of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia. “I know that the police department will work tirelessly to fully investigate the case."

Allen had a Texas connection.  She was born in Victoria, just 127 miles southwest of Houston and moved to Philadelphia several years ago.   She'd reconciled with her mother Veronica Allen, was in the process of getting her name change done and moving back to Texas when she was murdered

“She was going to go to court to change her name and then she was going to come home," Veronica Allen said. “That’s what we were working towards, but that man took it away from me."

A candlelight vigil is set to be held this Friday at that location, and a bank account has been set up to collect funds to pay to return  London's body back to Texas for burial

But once again, we sadly have another young trans woman of color dead before her 25th birthday.

RIP London

TransGriot Update:  31 year old Raheam Felton has been arrested and charged with London's murder.

Posted by Monica Roberts

Y'all know how much love and respect I have for Angelica Ross, the founding CEO of Trans Tech Social Services and She's one of the leaders in our national trans feminine community that people need to be paying attention to.

She was the keynote speaker at a March 31 event revealing the 2015 HRC' Corporate Equality Index Awards, and had some interesting things to say as she stylishly stood at that podium.

And now, here's Angelica.

tb: (agriculture)

The circumference of the Circle of Life – our birth and death, and the major events of receiving and passing along our heritage – is an outline. Within that, we are changing every day, continuously dying and being born. The present moment and its opportunities for kindness swirl at the center. This sermon was offered to the Unitarian Universalists of Fallston on May 17, 2015.

posted by [syndicated profile] revlyncox_feed at 05:43pm on 2015-05-18

There is more to the Circle of Life than the circumference. Not only do we turn the wheel at great turning points, we are continuously dying and being born. The kindness we send forth in the present moment makes a difference. This sermon was written for the UU’s of Fallston, May 17, 2015.

A couple of weeks ago, I took the kids to meet my brother and sister-in-law and their daughter at a petting farm in Ellicott City. (Clark’s Elioak Farm ) It’s a working farm, and also a place where kids can get pony rides and feed the goats. They also have brightly painted statues and playground features based on fairy tales. The fairy tale items were refurbished and moved from the old Enchanted Forest theme park that closed in the early 1990s, just a short distance down the road from the farm.

My parents took me to the Enchanted Forest when I was a kid. I have a picture of me, around age three, sitting inside the mouth of the whale statue. My visual memory of these artifacts is so strong, from a place in my mind formed before words, that I get a little emotional seeing my kids climb on Cinderella’s coach, peek into the Three Bear’s house, and zoom down the slide inside the old woman’s shoe.

There’s a model tugboat named Little Toot, sitting right next to a pond to make it look like it’s really floating. It’s a fraction of the size of a real tugboat, but big enough for passengers to climb aboard. Kids can go inside and turn the wheel. Grownups can sit outside, going on a journey that moves through time if not space.

My brother and sister-in-law and I were out on Little Toot’s promenade deck, admiring the view of the water. Tiny little dots wiggled through the pond below. “Tadpoles,” my brother observed. I pointed them out to my kids. They had seen exhibits about frogs, but I don’t think they had seen actual tadpoles swimming in “the wild.” We talked about how tadpoles turn into frogs.

“Oh, cool,” said my daughter, but that was it. She was ready to move on to piloting the tugboat. I was caught up in having an iconic experience of the circle of life. I was contemplating the nature of birth and death as seen through the amphibious life cycle, thinking about our connections with the local watershed, and experiencing this connection to the past by way of the scenery.

The kids were fully present in the moment, just as they should be. All of those sweeping thoughts about connections between generations and species and life itself are true, yet there is also truth in this very moment, this time in this place with these physical realities. Some things echo with familiarity in each swing around the circle. Some things are different. Right here and right now is a universe of its own.

Maybe you are familiar with the Joni Mitchell song: And the seasons they go round and round, and the painted ponies go up and down/ We’re captive on the carousel of time. We can’t return we can only look behind from where we came/ And go round and round and round in the circle game.

The Wheel

The term, “The Circle of Life,” evokes lineages of birth and death, one generation leading to another in due time. Except that the circle doesn’t always turn in an orderly fashion. People leave each other or pass away sooner than expected. Families are built through serendipity as well as planning, not always in the traditional ways. Some of us send children forth into the world, and some of us don’t. We also send forth ideas, mistakes, acts of kindness, and other legacies of our hearts and hands. Existence is not a neat, theoretical, geometric form. Life is actually pretty messy.

Not only that, but there’s the multiplicity of births and deaths we experience in between the big ones. Hope emerges and recedes. Developmental stages overlap in a daisy chain of abilities that come and go. Careers rise and crash and perhaps transform into something new. Every phase of life requires new skills. Many of these changes happen gradually, yet they are happening all the time. We are continuously dying and being born.

The Buddha taught that the construct we call the “self,” the individual being, is a convenient fiction. It’s like assigning a capital letter “I” to a set of variables, recognizing that the separation of those variables from all of the other parts of the equation is arbitrary. The so-called self is a snapshot of interwoven physical and mental energies, all influencing each other as they move through the universe at different speeds, but in the same direction for now. These forces are grouped into five major strands, called aggregates, although each aggregate has individual threads within it.

(I am not a Buddhist, let alone a Buddhist scholar. I’m drawing here from What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula and Buddhist Philosophy: A Historical Analysis by David J. Kalupahana, as well as from two graduate classes on Buddhism. For further reading, there are several articles in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, including “Mind in Indian Buddhist Philosophy” )

Loosely translated, the Five Aggregates are matter, sensation, mind, perceptions, and mental formations. That last one, mental formations, includes volitional activities, willful acts of body, speech, and mind. Willful acts carry karma. The aggregates are bundles of forces. The physical bits of flesh and associated mind-objects that we’ve decided to set aside and call your body represents one bundle, the aggregate of matter. Matter is associated for the moment with fleeting sensations, inferences, mental faculties, and willful acts. Each one of these aggregates is on a trajectory, mutually influencing the others as well as influencing and being influenced by conditions outside of what we would perceive as the self.

Think of it this way: You buy a used car. On day one, it rains. You buy new windshield wipers. Speaking of rain, you decide to upgrade the tires. Soon after that, your radiator cracks and you replace it. The next week, you come back to your car in the parking garage and see that it needs a new rear bumper. As long as your car is in the body shop, you decide to get a custom paint job in your favorite color. One by one, each piece is replaced. We keep referring to it as the same car, but each part is constantly changing in different ways from the other parts, even as the parts are working together and temporarily traveling in the same direction.

According to Buddhism, if you look back on some time in the past and think you have changed, you are right, except that there’s no “you,” there’s just the constant process of change. Buddhism allows for the convention of speaking about “I” and “you,” because our world and our languages are set up for that, yet cautions against loyalty to the illusion of self. There is no need to defend yourself against the inevitability of change. We are change.

The Moon

The Buddha referenced a teaching from Araka, a sage who came before him, saying: “It is just like a mountain river, flowing far and swift, taking everything along with it; there is no moment, no instant, no second when it stops flowing, but it goes on flowing and continuing. So … is human life, like a mountain river.” (Rahula, p. 26)

Let’s reflect on that for a moment. Water droplets come in and out with new streams, rain, evaporation, and being consumed by living beings. The river is not just the water. The river is also the earth rising up in banks on either side; it is the soil underneath and mixed with the water’s flow. Animals swimming, diving, damming, and fishing also comprise the river. What we call the river is a set of parentheses around a bundle of energies that come from different places and change from moment to moment. The river is change. We are change.

I felt that when I lived for a summer by a river. I took a four-month job as a house manager at an outdoor summer theater in southern Virginia. With all of my worldly possessions crammed into my car, I made my way down highway 81. I found the office, a storefront in a historic section of a college town. The theater management had sub-let housing in various places for the summer artists and staff. The administrator chatted with me for awhile before she handed me a map and keys, saying, “You’re at Beans River Bottom.”

The apartment I shared with the props manager was around the back, down a steep set of stairs next to the house, in a basement unit with its own entrance facing the river. Grass grew along a long, gentle slope to the water’s edge. Cattle grazed on the opposite bank. “There are cows in my yard,” I thought. It was a distinct difference from midtown Baltimore.

There was plenty of work that summer. There was also solitude when I wasn’t working. I was away from the people and places I had known my entire life, which opened up a lot of time. My little Pagan heart was very pleased to be in the middle of so much “nature,” practically on retreat. I bought a new Tarot deck and worked with it almost every day, spreading them out on a blanket next to the river.

Some people use Tarot cards for divination. I was more interested in them as explained by the author Rachel Pollack, as a symbolic system for analyzing and understanding ourselves and our lives. Each card has a meaning. If the card is upside-down with respect to the other cards, the reader might interpret it to mean the completion of task represented by that card, or perhaps the opposite of that card’s usual meaning.

Where Buddhism warns against trusting too much in the illusion of the self and identifies willpower with the cause and effect of karma, mystics who study Tarot tend to see willpower as a good thing and the spiritual journey to be an intentional development of the self. One thing those two philosophies have in common is the acknowledgement that everything affects everything else. All influences are interdependent. Your choices will have effects that reverberate back. Both systems acknowledge change, creative and destructive. Both emphasize ethical responsibility, given the knowledge of change and interdependence.

Throughout that summer, cards would show up and give me something to think about. If it were the five of cups, I reflected on acceptance of grief and loss. Seeing the Chariot prompted me to give myself credit for accomplishing something, and maybe to look out for getting over-confident. I thought a lot about the Hermit and the Hanged One, both of which have something to do with turning inward.

Meanwhile, the shows at the theater rehearsed, opened, and closed. Patrons filled and emptied the stands. The river kept rolling by, taking and leaving bits of sand and water. Days ran together, yet not exactly the same. As the saying (by  Heraclitus) goes, you can’t step in the same river twice.

The Hanged One

One afternoon, I was at the apartment for a lunch break before heading back for an evening performance. We had a couple of weeks left in the season. I sat by the river with my cards spread out on the blanket and turned over the Hanged One, reversed. The Hanged One depicts a person hanging upside down with their legs crossed in a kind of yoga position. The upside-down card meant that the little cartoon yogi was standing right side up, ready to return to the everyday world after a period of spiritual retreat. It was time to think about going home.

Just then, I looked up and saw a woman walking down the steps from the street level and across the back yard. I had never seen her before. She introduced herself and said she was from the apartment’s managing company. She asked if I had heard that there were storms upriver. I had. She suggested that I consider packing my car and spending the night on higher ground. I thanked her for the advice.

Once she had gone, I looked up at the blue sky through the branches of the trees and listened to the birds coming in to roost. It seemed like a nice day. I remembered that the name of this neighborhood was Beans River Bottom. The bottom of the river did not seem like the place to be. I jumped up and packed up as much stuff in my car as I could before I rushed off to work. A gentle drizzle started to fall as I put the last few items in the back seat.

By the time I got to the theater, torrents of rain were cascading over every surface. One of our performance spaces was under a circus tent, so the show went on. I did feel bad for the actors, trying to compete with the sound of the storm as they delivered sensitive, character-driven lines. The Education Director invited several of us to camp out in her living room that night.

The next day, I drove by the apartment. What had been the back yard was underneath a wide, choppy, swollen river. The water level was up to the top of my front door. I spoke a bit about this in my Easter sermon five years ago. Losing my home, even my temporary home that I was about to move out of and didn’t have homeowner responsibility for, was a lot to process.

I began to understand a popular Pagan chant (written by Shekhinah Mountainwater) in a new way: We are the flow, we are the ebb, we are the weavers, we are the web. We are part of this earth. We are mutually influenced. We can resist our interdependence and try to push back against the storm, or we can observe the current and move with it in a responsible and responsive fashion.


When I came back to Maryland after that summer, I was not the same person I had been when I left. For awhile, I felt disoriented. I could barely remember the names of college classmates. I would dream of floating and crashing.

I started to feel more grounded when I got my cat back from the friends who had cared for him over the summer. He was not interested in the past or the future, only in the food and scritches of his immediate experience. A deep breath. A purr. The perception of a firm cushion underneath me. This very moment is a world.

One might forgive me for wondering at that time: if it’s possible that there is no self, and no such thing as permanence, no immortality, and no guarantee of order or reward in the circle of life, what is the point? If all we have is this very moment, why should we do anything other than sit in stillness in the company of two-legged and four-legged fellow travelers?

Here’s what I think the sages would say, which I might work with or resist at any given time: everything affects everything else. We can’t avoid changing and being changed in any given moment. Our decisions for non-action impact the interdependent web to the same degree as our decisions to act. (Meditating is an action.) Whether we’re on the path attempting to escape the wheel of death and rebirth, or we’re mystics following a magical road, or following Jesus, or just doing the best we can based on common sense, the love that we send out into the world bears fruit. We might not perceive the good results of sending forth love. Maybe we just have to expand the horizons of our vision to see it happen. We are not separate from the world. Kindness makes the existence we inhabit more hospitable.

How we do that is the hard part. Every moment, every context, every phase of life carries different opportunities to increase love in the world. Some of us provide comfort and healing, personally or professionally. Some of us teach children to carry the message of compassion further into the future. Some of us are sanding down outdated self-concepts, healing our souls so that our original blessing can bring more sparkle to the world. Some of us are gurus of marshalling fruit salad and casseroles into the kitchens of neighbors in crisis. Some of us are speaking truth to power, making the spirit of love visible through justice. Deeds of compassion reverberate across time and space. We send them out, not knowing what the outcome will be, but with attention to love in the present moment.

The chant by Sara Dan Jones in Singing the Journey goes: When I breathe in, I breathe in peace. When I breathe out, I breathe out love. When I breathe in, I breathe in peace. When I breathe out, I breathe out love. Breathe in. Breathe out.

The Fool (Conclusion)

There’s a joke about a new farmer, someone who had never kept sheep before, and was trying to figure out how much fence to buy for a sheep pen. Fence is expensive, so the farmer sent out a request for proposals to the smartest people they knew to help them figure out how to buy as little fence as possible. The farmer’s friends who responded were an engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician. I’ll spare you the solutions offered by the engineer and the physicist. The mathematician bought just enough fence to wrap around herself in a circle. She then pointed to the side of the fence where she was standing and said, “I define this as outside the fence.”

If you accept the mathematician’s definition, the sheep were all inside the fence. In a theoretical universe, inside and outside are just concepts. But theoretical sheep don’t wander, and real ones do. The mistake was in thinking that the circumference of the fence was all that matters. The middle of the circle is not empty space. The center is where paths cross and cross again. It is where we are fed, where we find companionship, and where we grow.

The circumference of the circle of life is the part we usually think about: our birth and death as conventionally understood, our receiving and passing along the heritage of mind and heart. That is important. That circumference provides a context and a focus for our place in this vast, interdependent universe. Yet it’s not the whole story.

Within the boundaries of that circle, we can zoom in and see matter and energy constantly in motion. We see life and love weaving together in a dizzying dance of connections that flit in and out of our view. Change is a constant. We might notice that more at some points than others. Life is continuously beginning and ending and beginning. We are change.

Realizing that change and interdependence are built into this universe from the level of electrons jumping to new molecules to the level of galaxies being born, where do we put our feet? Where do we begin? This present moment is what we have. The love we send out, in myriad forms, reverberates across the web. We don’t control outcomes, but we can increase compassion in the world. Begin here and now with the circle of your breath. Breathe in peace. Breathe out love.

So be it. Blessed be. Amen.

liv: Stylised sheep with blue, purple, pink horizontal stripes, and teacup brand, dreams of Dreamwidth (sheeeep)
posted by [personal profile] liv at 08:18pm on 2015-05-18 under ,
My plan for [community profile] three_weeks_for_dw had been that between 25th April and 15th May I'd post three diary entries, surveys or queries, one substantial thinky post, and ten pointers. In fact I did manage 13 posts, which was about right, but they don't quite fit [ profile] siderea's classification scheme.

I didn't really make a substantial post at all, but then again I did put lots of thinky thoughts in my five link posts. So instead of 10 quick "here's some content" things and one essay, I made five posts that fall somewhere in between those two stools. In terms of posts mainly about me, I did in fact make two diary posts and one post asking for advice and opinions, plus bits of diary and survey style things in the other posts. So that's about right.

The rest of my activity was two reading Wednesday posts, one meta thing about DW and the fest itself, and two posts about the UK general election, which happened to fall within the fest but was important enough that I wanted to talk about it. I think that constitutes a reasonable contribution to keeping up activity on DW, even if it doesn't quite match what I set out to do.

I'm about to go away for an exciting trip with [personal profile] ceb and some other awesome people, so I expect to be quiet for the next week and a half. I'm just coming to the end of my busiest time at work, and I've been as usual cramming a bit too much into the weekends in between. Highlights were [personal profile] kaberett's party at the weekend, and dinner with [ profile] ghoti at the Plough last week, and with [personal profile] cjwatson at Mestizo on the way to [personal profile] kaberett's party.
location: Dreamwidth
Music:: VNV Nation: Arena
Mood:: 'rushed' rushed
jayblanc: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] jayblanc at 11:04am on 2015-05-18
Mad Men final episode ending discussion behind the tag...
Read more... )



          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25