I just got back to Appleton after driving from here to LA with my wife. I left her there to act. To leap. To take another jump at the acting career she left behind when she transitioned. As she puts it, she made a deal with the universe: that it could have her acting career if she could sort out a decent life as a woman.

And it did, for a very long time. The film she made this summer, And Then There Was Eve, re-lit her spark, so we figured out a way to get her back to LA so she could see what she could see. We had so many kind people in our lives – not least of which is the musician Cory Chisel, who for reasons I can’t explain seems to like us – contribute to the fund that made it possible.

We’ve always lived a little on the knife’s edge but this would be a little more than usual: usually we leap between gigs, when a job has ceased to be, or when something else (trauma, transition) opened that metaphorical window where a door used to be. But this time, we got to leap because there are so many in our lives who wanted to help. A local magazine just did one of the finest stories about us I’ve ever read — which, if you notice, doesn’t mention our genders or sexuality or transness at all, which is so goddamn awesome I can’t even begin to tell you. A special thanks to Justus Poehls and David Aragon for such beautiful work.

At one point in our interview, Helen joked, “Every story begins with Rachel, and ends with Rachel, and she’s the whole middle of the story . . . I just occasionally show up.” They lovingly jostle, but it’s apparent after spending just a little while with them that the mettle of their relationship was forged in some serious hellfire. At another point, getting up to grab a drink, Rachel laughingly noted after a bit of repartee, “We have lots of ways to tell each other to fuck off.” Through the haze of their edgy humor, there’s this rare, almost tangible sense of their solidarity.

And for that? 2016 brought so much sadness and fear and isolation, even, too, but it also brought us all this love and kindness and cheer from so many people, from every stage of our lives.

Thank you. We are happy to be able to cheer whoever we can with our antics, our love, and the endless story of our ongoing relationship with each other, with gender, with life.

Onto 2017. Happy New Year.

For Aleppo

There are times a tragedy is too great, the violence too unspeakable, for me to make any sense of it. There is none. So I retreat in the ways Catholicism taught me to, to be quiet and solitary and, simply, to challenge myself to feel more deeply, not less.

This song, the only kind of prayer I’ve ever felt in my bones, gets me there.

For all the souls who lost their lives in Aleppo yesterday, last week, in the past year.

Unerased: New Resource on Trans Murders

Mic has introduced a new resource for tracking the murders of trans people. It includes murders in the US since 2010, only, but it does a little more digging into the statistics and how transness is “negotiated” not just by the reporting of these crimes but also by their representation in obituaries, the press, court cases, etc.

The actual database includes not just numbers but faces, info on rulings (if there is one), and can be filtered for year, age, race, gender, circumstances of death, and outcome.

The occasional pullquotes throughout are sobering, like this one: “People who kill black trans women and femmes are usually convicted of lesser charges than those who kill people of other trans identities.

And this, from Shannon Minter: “Other factors contribute to underreporting. Minter said that while murders of trans women are visible and documented to some extent, those of transgender men may be harder to track. ‘I also think there’s a lot of unreported violence against transgender men that gets recorded just as violence against women,’ he said.”

And all of this is far more troublesome because the statistics are already so high, and yet:

But it’s difficult to know the full scale of the problem. When a transgender person is killed, each step in the process of accounting for their death risks erasing that person’s gender identity. Many can’t spare the expense of having their names and gender markers updated on government documents. Law enforcement and coroner’s offices are not trained to identify transgender victims. Immediate family members who reject a trans person’s identity often withhold it from authorities. When the press learns of these murders, local reporters often don’t have the knowledge or information to investigate whether the victims were trans. The United States Census does not track transgender people, and while the FBI added gender identity as a category in its annual self-reported hate crimes report in 2014, the agency does not track gender identity along with its homicide statistics.

Please take care of each other out there.

US Trans Survey Now Out

Today, the most recent US survey of trans people is out.
Tune in at 1PM EST for a live launch event. Register to watch it.

Here are some of intitial findings, about bathrooms:

  • 59% have avoided bathrooms in the last year because they feared confrontations in public restrooms at work, at school, or in other places.
  • 12% report that they have been harassed, attacked, or sexually assaulted in a bathroom in the last year.
  • 31% have avoided drinking or eating so that they did not need to use the restroom in the last year.
  • 24% report that someone told them they were using the wrong restroom or questioned their presence in the restroom in the last year.
  • 9% report being denied access to the appropriate restroom in the last year.

  • 8% report having a kidney or urinary tract infection, or another kidney-related medical issue, from avoiding restrooms in the last year.

A recording of the event will be made available after the launch for those who are unable to watch live.

love notes for america

A colleague from Boston published a horrible letter sent to a mosque there – I’m not going to reprint it, but it was filthy and evil – and my immediate thought was to send them a letter of love, of welcome, of inclusion.

And I mentioned that. And another colleague ran with the idea and created this amazing website that provides you with the places that have received this hateful letter and others like it. She’ll send a postcard for you if you’re out of stamps, even.

So in these days where the constant question is: what more can I do? Here’s another answer. I’ve already sent out a bunch.