#RealLiveTransAdult

My wife is a #RealLiveTransAdult who is 45, works at at university, and would love to take your photo.

#RealLiveTransAdult, which was started by none other than the amazing Red Durkin, is making the rounds on FB and on Twitter and I’m borrowing it because there are so many people out there who would have helped Leelah and who still want to help others like her.

It’s a great response to what is heartbreaking news: this young girl who knew she was trans and whose parents dismissed her and cut her off from all possible support by pulling her out of school, taking away her phone and any/all access to the internet.

Leelah, we love you.

Sadly, her parents have now been doxxed and no doubt are already receiving hate mail. I can’t say they don’t deserve it – they do – but they were, we have to remember, acting in what they thought were the best interests of their child. They were terribly, tragically, wrong, but they were acting, too, no doubt, on the advice of Christian therapists and other people who Still Don’t Get It, people who think that if you are stern enough, or determined enough, you can force your child to be some other way, to be not trans.

This beautiful young person is dead and her parents, who are, no doubt, grieving the loss of this beautiful child, are getting hate spewed at them by people who know better.

The only way through this and the only way to get through to people is love.

If you are alone and suicidal, you can call The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386 or the newly-minted Trans Lifeline at (877) 565-8860.

NYC

I’m on my way to spend most of the holiday season there because I can. My mom is 84 and not in awesome good health (that said, she hasn’t been for nearly a decade now) so it’s nice to be home and feel like I’m home and go visit her when I can.

Otherwise, just friends and bagels and decent slices and a lot a lot of walking.

I’ll still, of course, be making calls for The December Project and otherwise trying to get some work done, but I may not blog much.

#blacklivesmatter

Oh, #alllivesmatter people, please, just listen for a minute.

For those of us in communities that are targeted for violence – from both people who hate us and often the police who are supposed to serve and protect us – we’re aware that our lives are supposed to matter. We know our own lives matter.

But for LGBTQ people, that is not often the case.

For trans people, it is rarely the case.

For Hispanic people, it is rarely the case.

For black people, it is almost never the case.

The reason #alllivesmatter is an insulting response to a racial problem is because it whitewashes the problem. Being more humane doesn’t work; racial prejudices and homophobia go so deep historically, personally, unconsciously, that unless we pay special attention to the kinds of hatred that fuels the killings of trans women and black men, trans women of color in particular, young black men in particular, our systems don’t get any better.

Look, the hippies tried loving everyone and that was a long time ago, and if the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner teach us anything, it’s that people refusing to call our national race problem a race problem is part of it.

Please. Of course #alllivesmatter. But as Orwell once wrote, the problem is that some lives matter a hell of a lot more than others, which is why we need to highlight that #blacklivesmatter and #translivesmatter and #queerlivesmatter.

Step away from your white privilege. We are part of a system that kills black men and imprisons them and throws them away. “Universalizing” is exactly what disappears black lives in the first place.

Arthur Leipzig, Photographer

NYC has lost one of its greats – Arthur Leipzig, photographer. So many of the classic shots of NYC are his – kids playing stickball, the opening night at the opera, sunbathers at Coney Island. He was 96.

Mr. Leipzig’s 1943 photograph “King of the Hill” — in which two Brooklyn boys square off atop a mound of dirt — was chosen by Edward Steichen, director of the Museum of Modern Art’s photography department, for his celebrated “Family of Man” exhibition of 1955. The show’s theme was the universality of human experience.

To look at these pictures today is to catch intimations of the evanescence of both youth and a city. In his 1995 book, “Growing Up in New York,” Mr. Leipzig called himself “witness to a time that no longer exists, a more innocent time.”

“We believed in hope,” he wrote.

These are two of my favorites, but there’s more and more and more.

The December Project 2014

Hello there!  For the fourth year in a row, we are doing THE DECEMBER PROJECT.  The plan is simple.  If you are trans– or if you love someone who is trans– and you need a friendly voice, email us and we will call you on the phone.

Jennifer Finney Boylan began this project in 2011 because she had been thinking about how hard the holidays can be for people– but they can be especially hard for trans people and their families.  Charles Dickens had it right when, in the CHRISTMAS CAROL, he suggested that it’s Christmas, not Halloween, that’s the most haunted of holidays.  Our memories are heightened at this time of year– we think back to our childhood, to our many struggles.  For some of us it’s a time when we’re acutely aware of how cut off we are from those we love.  The world is full of transgender people who are unable to see their children, their parents, their loved ones, all because of the simple fact of who they are.

We cannot undo all the hurt in the world.  But what we can do is CALL YOU ON THE PHONE and remind you that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  You don’t have to be in crisis to take advantage of this project.  All you have to do is want a friendly voice.

The project this year will be run by five people – four to make calls, and one to organize the emails. Dylan Scholinski, director of Sent(a)mental Studios; Helen Boyd, Professor at Lawrence University; Allyson Robinson, pastor-teacher, and Brynn Tannehill, journalist and educator. We are two trans women, a trans man, and a spouse of a trans woman.  Between the four of us, we have heard many different kinds of trans narratives.  If we can help you, we would be glad to do so. Our fifth person, who will receive your emails and get the right ones to us callers, is Donna Levinsohn, a lawyer and old, trusted friend of Helen’s who has been involved in trans activism for years.

How do you get us to call you? By emailing decemberproj@gmail.com. If (1) you have a particular preference to talk to one or the other of us, let us know– although I can’t guarantee that you’ll always hear from the person you request.  Also (2) please tell us the time of day and the date you’d be free for a call; you might want to give us a couple of options.  And of course, (3) tell us your phone number.  WE WILL KEEP YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION ABSOLUTELY CONFIDENTIAL.

We will start with calls as soon as possible after December 1, and keep this going until New Years.

Sound good?  I hope so.  We hope we can help, even if just a little.

Three other caveats I should mention at the end here:

1) First, no one in the December Project gets a dime out of it.  This is a shoestring operation, largely consisting of four people trading phone numbers.  If you want to support our causes, you can let us know, and we’ll tell you how to give.  But this is not about that.

2) If you are in serious crisis, please bypass us and go directly to the national suicide prevention lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. WE ARE NOT TRAINED AS THERAPISTS or as counsellors for individuals in crisis.  If you need something more serious than a “friendly voice,’ please call the lifeline.

3) For the moment we are content with this project consisting of only a few of us;  in past years, we have been a little overwhelmed (and yes, deeply touched) by the many, many of you who have wanted to join us.  While we thank you for your grace and your love, it’s also overwhelming for us to sort through the requests; we hope you’ll understand if we ask that folks writing us be primarily those who want a call. There are many ways you can get involved in your own community, and we heartily encourage everyone who wants to spread some love around to do so in their own way, starting right at home.

Thanks so much!  Wishing you all the best for a positive, hopeful, loving holiday season!

Sincerely,

Helen Boyd, on behalf of the December Project

Tidy Your Room, Kai

Yes, it’s real.