Month: October 2008

A Great Man: Studs Terkel, We Loved You

Posted by – October 31, 2008

The news is just in that the incomparable Studs Terkel has died at the age of 96. I knew the news was coming, sooner rather than later, but I was hoping he’d make it to see the first black president of the US.

I’m not going to say more just now. He was one of my favorite people ever, and I’m sad to see him go.

added: the NYT obit is up.

The Nation’s John Nichols has his tribute up on Alternet.

Happy Halloween

Posted by – October 31, 2008

A very happy Halloween to one & all!

halloween jill

(Just make sure you don’t end the evening like this gal, and please don’t drink & drive.)

Patience

Posted by – October 31, 2008

& Really, I will get back to gender & trans stuff. There’s a lot of stuff bubbling, but right now I’m still just worried about Obama winning. Thank you for your patience.

Trans for Obama: Reason #5

Posted by – October 31, 2008

Reason #5: Vote for Obama because he was one of the earliest co-sponsors of the Matthew Shepard Act, which provides hate crimes protections for all LGBT people nationally.

& Here’s his closing argument, a speech Obama gave in Canton, Ohio, a few days ago. If you have been listening, it’s a good re-cap of his ideas and platforms, and if you haven’t, then this is it, in a nutshell.

Another Helen

Posted by – October 30, 2008

Another opinionated Helen blogging about Barack Obama, except she’s 82, the proper age for someone named Helen.

(via Feministing)

Trans for Obama: Reason #6

Posted by – October 30, 2008

Reason #6 to vote for Obama: he welcomes transgender lobbyists to his office, is fluent in our issues, cares about them, & wants to learn about all the different identities and hurdles faced by all of the different types of transgender people.

(Hey, that’s more than you can say about some members of the trans community!)

& Here’s some Obama cake & cupcakes, and even more clever, Barack O’Lanterns (or Jack O’Bamas?), just in time for Halloween!

Trans for Obama: Reason #7

Posted by – October 29, 2008

Reason #7: Because in locations like Montgomery County, Maryland, and in Gainesville, Florida, attempts are afoot to repeal trans inclusive legislation that has already been passed. (The Maryland attempt already failed, thankfully.) But they’re doing so with signs that say “Sign our petition to keep men out of the ladies’ room!” Said Florida legislation wants cities to conform to the state’s civil rights code, which is often far less progressive – and far less trans inclusive – than the cities’. (And there’s something similar going on in Colorado.)

A report, not from AlterNet, not from Mother Jones, but from CNN, about voter suppression and voter roll purging that’s important to read, especially since “identity document mismatch” could get trans people’s registrations thrown out.

Are you voting next week?

Trans for Obama: Reason #8 – Prop 8

Posted by – October 28, 2008

Vote for Obama because: despite LGBT people objecting to both Presidential & VP candidates with the old complaint, “but neither of them are for gay marriage” please keep in mind that in fact, Senators Obama & Biden are both against all of the state and federal amendments that would rewrite constitutions to limit marriage to one man & one woman. Senator Biden, specifically, appeared on Ellen to talk about his dislike of Proposition 8 in California & all other propositions like it.

& For anyone who still hasn’t seen this, the guys from the original Bud “Wassup” ad, 8 years later, are ready for change.

While you’re at it, Californians, Vote No on Prop 4, too.

schadenfreude!

Posted by – October 27, 2008

She was a paid organizer! She was a paid organizer!! & Ted Stevens is guilty!

(Do you hear that sound? It’s Palin, getting ready for 2012.)

Oh, this is too lovely.

Through Being Cool, Pt. 2

Posted by – October 27, 2008

My 3rd relationships column – this one is about monogamy – is up at www.ourchart.com.

Trans for Obama: Reason #9

Posted by – October 27, 2008

Reason #9: Vote for Obama because Senator Obama, while working in the State Senate of Illinois, went out of his way to add explicit language that would include LGBT couples in the Domestic Violence bill there. The version with his language didn’t pass (with the Republicans controlling the state senate), but a very good statute did. The point is: Obama specifically wanted language that informed law enforcement to be aware that domestic violence effects LGBT couples too.

Also, check out this endorsement from The Anchorage Daily News.

Old Drugs

Posted by – October 26, 2008

I know I’m often somewhat cynical about scientific studies, but this one especially seems to take the cake. Not because it’s not smart, or comes to wild, unfounded conclusions, but rather because it’s – well, obvious: thoughtful people tend to get depressed.

Verhaeghen, who is also a novelist and describes himself as a “somewhat mood disordered person,” had a particular interest in the connection between creativity and this ruminating state of mind.

“One of the things I do is think about something over and over and over again, and that’s when I start writing,” he said.

Psychologist types can tell me if anything specific is meant by “ruminating” – that is, if the term is used in your field to mean a kind of obsessive thinking and reviewing of thought – because otherwise, to us lay folks, ruminating just means thinking, reviewing. I don’t think of it as being a negative activity by any means, or even an obsessive one.

What they seem to miss – or don’t articulate – is that writing is a kind of thinking for a lot of writers. It’s a way of kind of nailing down a certain kind of looped thinking, following wild hairs to their logical end, sorting out complex connections. In other words, it’s a kind of sanity-making thing to do when you’re thinking all the time.

I had a writing prof who used to say that it’s impossible to tell if people who have a lot of vivid dreams become writers or if writers have a lot of vivid dreams – that is, whether the inclination to write causes someone to dream & think very intensely, or whether people who naturally dream & think intensely find writing is their only good outlet for all the stuff going on in their head. Writing, to me, is an anti-depressant, but in a certain sense it creates this other place you get to go, and like with other drugs, maybe you just get to a point where pushing the button doesn’t result in relief anymore. With DFW, it would be easy to come to that conclusion – he wrote so intensely, so intricately, for a long while, & it’s as if the moment he stopped – he couldn’t stand it anymore. Maybe, as with other drugs, we have to be careful how much we press the button, because we become resistant to its palliative qualities, eventually.

10 Days, 10 Reasons

Posted by – October 26, 2008

betty cast

I had the fantastic opportunity to listen in on a conference call from Obama Pride that was specifically about & for the trans community. Wow. It is so astonishing to hear people from so many states talk about what they’re doing in their own states, and what challenges we face. With Betty’s foot broken, I’m not sure we’ll get to canvas as much as I’d like, so in addition, I’ve decided to use a bunch of what I learned during that call to give you 10 reasons, in these last 10 days, to vote for Obama.

Thanks to Tobias Wolff and Marsha Botzer for hosting it.

Reason #10: Vote for Obama because the people of Omaha, Nebraska – that red state in a swath of red states – are trying to turn their district blue for the first time since 1964. Go Omaha! Gobama! Nebraska is only one of two states that allocates electoral votes by congressional district (the other is Maine), which is what makes this effort important.

Soeur Emmanuelle

Posted by – October 25, 2008

Here’s a woman who got a heck of a lot less press than Mother Theresa, but who, in my opinion, took the best stands on things like contraception. I’m entirely flummoxed at her descriptions of her own desire & flirtation, all of which she gave up at 21 or 23 years old = young to give up a sex life.

I am fascinated by nuns like this, who practice what they preach in terms of living with the poor and having compassion for all. Truly remarkable, as was Dorothy Day before her (though Day was never a nun).

I’m looking forward to reading her autobiography but can’t find it – not even on www.amazon.fr. If anyone else does, or find the English translation, let me know. (Though I’m thinking it would probably be a good book for me to brush up my French!)

Legalize It

Posted by – October 24, 2008

It strikes me that if there’s ever been a good & useful time to legalize pot, now might be it. The economy could use the huge boost, and we could tax the hell out of it to make up for some of the insanity of what we’ve spent in Iraq.

I’m not a pot smoker, myself. I had an interesting moment waiting for Betty to get her cast put on yesterday; one of the admins there saw me smoking and said,

“I’m going to have to take that up.”

“Smoking?”

“Or drinking,” she replied. “I just need a vice.”

And I thought about it a minute later, and really, smoking and drinking are a lot worse for you than pot, but they’re both legal. I mean, none of it’s good for you, but neither are cheeseburgers or chocolate cake.

Trans for Obama: 12 Days

Posted by – October 23, 2008

Goal Thermometer

The Trans for Obama campaign continues! It’s your time to stand up & be counted, trans democrats, independents, and republicans! If you’re voting for Obama, why not make your vote count twice?

First, here’s a reminder of an event way early in the campaign that has been forgotten by the “they’re both against gay marriage” set: Obama made a point of shutting down homophobic sentiments when he could have just let the moment pass. For those who think that them both being against gay marriage means there’s no difference between them when it comes to LGBT issues, please remember that McCain chose a running mate who is for “ex gay” therapy.

Then go look at these photos. I love that this photographer just kind of knew – as did Richard Avedon (watch till the end) – that Obama would become President Obama. Look at the one of his shoes. Of him cleaning up the drips from his ice cream. At the faces of the young people listening to and looking at him.

My firm belief is that Obama is an extraordinary president for extraordinary circumstances. That we are in the latter is in no doubt, considering this week’s economic news; there are lay-offs happening in all sectors of the economy. That the former is true – that Obama is the right president for this time – is only something I can be sure of in my head and heart. His decision to run when he did, his unbelievable good planning with making it to the nomination = all of these things, the odds he’s beat, tell me that his time is now.

And now it is yours. Go out and vote – early, if you can, to avoid the lines, or on November 4th.

Weiss Woman

Posted by – October 22, 2008

More and more we’re starting to see some very serious venues take on some aspect of trans issues, whether it’s 20/20 last year with GID and trans youth or The Atlantic Monthly’s current article on the same topic.

But I didn’t really expect Harvard Business Review to publish an article about workplace issues, or rather, I wouldn’t have if I didn’t know how fantastic Jillian Todd Weiss is.

I had transitioned from male to female in 1998, and my new employer neither knew nor suspected that I was transgender. Now I was receiving the condescending treatment that some of my female colleagues had complained about all along. After several such incidents, I quietly left the practice of law, never to return. As a male attorney, my competence had never been questioned so harshly by my employers, so I assumed that reports of gender discrimination were bogus complaints brought by females who didn’t measure up. As a male, I had been privileged, though I didn’t know it at the time, to avoid much of the harsh treatment reserved for females in a male bastion.

I didn’t know Ms. Weiss before her transition so I can’t say “I told you so” but I’m going to anyway! No, women aren’t blowing smoke up anyone’s ass about this stuff. I appreciate her honesty in admitting she thought they were “bogus complaints” and am pleased to know that transitioners, as I expected, are turning out to be the last tool in the feminist toolbox.

It’s one of the reasons I find the slogan “equal pay for equal work” problematic, because so much of the struggle is getting people to see your work as equal to your male peers’ — even when it’s superior.

(via Bilerico)

Back to Mike

Posted by – October 21, 2008

It looks like the person we’ve all come to know as Christine Daniels is de-transitioning, and has returned to work as Mike Penner.

Kevin Roderick of highly-respected LAObserved.com reports late Monday that “Eighteen month after writing a column about becoming Christine Daniels, veteran sportswriter Mike Penner has quietly returned to work at the Los Angeles Times, according to multiple sources close to the LAT’s Sports staff.”

Anyone know any more than this? All of the articles/blog posts written by Christine Daniels are gone – sports ones, as well as the ones about the transition.

If anyone has more information, let me know. As far as I know, this is the most famous person to de-transition I’ve ever heard of, and it’s surely going to cause additional confusion to people who are just starting to get why people transition in the first place.

So – why do people de-transition? I’ve met people who did because they couldn’t find a job as a female, especially if/when there were dependents in the picture. Others realize they weren’t transsexual – and that is the point of RLT, after all, & that means it’s working. Any other reasons people have come across?

Break Up the Concrete

Posted by – October 21, 2008

“We like to travel on trains,” she says. “That’s part of the whole drive: Reinstate public transportation, especially trains. Get out of the cars. Destroy all the streets and roads and bridges and dams. Just get rid of it.”

Hey, me too! Does this make me a rock star?

Sadly, no. But it does mean The Pretenders have a new cd out, & it’s called Break Up the Concrete, and you can listen to samples.

Bloodlust

Posted by – October 21, 2008

A little early for Halloween, Natalie Angier has written a NYT article about sanguivores – yes, those who eat/drink blood. Gruesome, but exactly in keeping with her lovely fascination with the darker side of the natural world.

Angier is of course the author of Woman: An Intimate Geography, which is one of the books on gender that I highly recommend.