Thanks to Deborah

I just wanted to especially thank Deborah for her kindness and help with my ongoing insanity. I’ve developed some major neck/back/shoulder pain (a combination of a bad computer setup, one fallen arch, and – oh, stress, for some reason) and we all know how hard it is to get a doctor on the phone! But Deborah is always ready with advice and help.
She’s done it before, too, and I’m insanely grateful. I literally couldn’t work for a few days there – leaning forward at all was incredibly painful but is oh, just kind of required when one is writing and editing.

Betty (Not) On the Rag

Poor Betty. The other day while wearing her trademark summer thongs, she bumped her toe really, really hard. Her doctor predicted the toenail will fall off in not too long, and so she complained to me tonight that “just as it’s about to be summer, my season for wearing flip-flops, I’m going to be missing my toenail, and I like having manicured toenails.”
Oh, sad, sad day.
I said: “Wow, it’s a good thing you’ve never gotten your period at the absolute worst time, eh?”
She stopped complaining pronto. We will buy her pretty band-aids to cover up her lack of big toenail, instead, if it even falls off, which I doubt it will. (Did someone say Drama Queen?)

Happy Memorial Day!

A very happy Memorial Day to you all, with especial good wishes to anyone who has lost a loved one in a war – current, recent, or past. (I was relieved to find out my own cousin quit the Navy, & so is no longer stationed in Iraq.)
I would personally like to thank my great uncle, who stormed the beaches at Normandy – because he kept so mum about it when he was alive that I only found out about his service after his death.
And since we often “remember” the dead of our wars, but not the post-traumatics and the permanently injured, a shout out to all of them too, for sacrificing a limb or their sanity for our sake.

Pope Maledict Rides Again

Apparently our current pope – who I prefer to call Pope Maledict – has called LGBT relationships “weak love.”
Sometimes I wish I could take people and shake them, or – as Jim Johnson of Straight, Not Narrow points out: to tell them to shut up when they don’t know what they’re talking about.
I could have never explained to anyone before Betty started presenting as female what it’s like to live in the world as an LGBT couple, and I thought I knew. I really did. Faghag for years, lesbian hangabout for years – but really, I didn’t know. Weak is not the word for it.
There is some good news, though – the religious left is on the rise. (Where have you guys been?)

Humorless Feminist

Like everyone, people frequently forward me dumb jokes that someone has forwarded to them, & on & on.
And often I’m offended by jokes that other people laugh at.
There’s this one, say:

A woman from North Dakota and another from the East coast were seated side by side on an airplane. The woman from North Dakota, being friendly and all, said: “So, where are you from?” The East coast woman said, “From a place where they know better than to use a preposition at the end of a sentence.” The woman from North Dakota sat quietly for a few moments and then replied: “So, where are you from, bitch?”

I understand that the joke is based on the woman’s rudeness, but I’m also tired of jokes about East Coast women, and educated women, etc. They tire me. I’m an educated East Coast woman, you know?
Don’t get me started on blonde jokes.
But what amazes me is that someone would actually send me these jokes. Not a stranger, either. Someone who knows well enough that I’m blonde, from the East Coast, and educated. Shoot, they even know I’ve taught grammar.
And I can’t figure out if this is weird passive-aggressive stuff, or if people just don’t think.
Either way, I get pissed off – probably more pissed off than necessary – and if I say anything about it (to the person, or to someone we both know) I get accused of being “too touchy” or “humorless” or “sensitive.”
Well, yeah, so I am. When people tell jokes that I’m the punchline of, remarkably, I feel offended. So sue me. But either way, it’s very hard for me to like the person who sent it much.

We Don't Really Know

Since we got the boys when they were already somewhere around 16 weeks old, and we got them in September, we really don’t know when their birthday is – except that we know it’s sometime around now.
Happy 6th Birthday to Aeneas and Endymion, then!
baby kitty boys
In this picture, they’re about 4 months old. See those big ears and big paws? Ah, the shape of things to come.

Upcoming Blog for LGBT Families Day

Mombian has had the clever idea to start an LGBT Families Day, and I wanted people to know about it before it came and went.
On June 1st, blog about your LGBT family, or blog about why LGBT families rock, or why they should have more legal rights, or whatever pertains to the subject that you need to say.
HRC has it up on their site, too.
I’d also like to point out our own little clearinghouse of information for parents who are trans.
You can get more information at Mombian’s blog post about it, and do make sure they know you’re in on it!

Five Questions With… Ariadne Kane

Ariadne Kane has been doing transgender outreach longer than many of us have been walking – since 1972. She was on The Phil Donahue Show in 1980 and probably gave some of the people reading this a glimpse that they weren’t alone in being trans. Somewhere in there she came up with the idea of Fantasia Fair, as well.
ariadne kane < Ariadne Kane
1. Since you were the person who ‘invented’ Fantasia Fair, how did it come about? What did it take to put on the first couple of them? How has it changed in the ensuing years?
Fan/Fair (the abbreviated version) was conceived of in 1974. It struck me that we could create a dynamic program of activities that were educational, social and practical for all CDs & TSs who were willing to come out from the ‘closets’ of shame, guilt and shyness. I believed that, in a tolerant and open community, they could learn some things about being femme or masculine; get much needed help about comportment and presentation and, have truly educational experience out of the ‘closet’. It was with this guiding premise that Fan/Fair was created. It was with the help and financial backing of 3 members of the Boston Cherrystone ‘T’ Club and myself that Fan/Fair 1 became a reality in 1975.
Needless to say, we learned a lot about the needs and aspirations of the ‘T’ community, including what program elements worked in favor of our Goals for the program. Over the next 3 decades, the Fan/ Fair Steering Committee adopted a template for programming and administration, These included a balanced mix of educational, social and practical modules for the ‘T’ person who wanted to emerge from the ‘closet’ and learn the dynamics leading to personal growth and adaptability in either the feminine or the masculine gender role of choice. This template is still the guiding instrument in the design of every Fair, even today.
Continue reading “Five Questions With… Ariadne Kane”

Guest Author: Marlena Dahlstrom

I got this note from Marlena recently, and I thought it expanded on a couple of discussions I’ve been having (with myself) and ones that have happened on the boards, too. She’s also put this up on her blog.
Patsy and I recently saw Ute Lemper (a singer who specializes in German cabaret) and I was reminded of Helen’s thoughts on wanting paper lanterns by part of the chorus in one of the songs Lemper sang — Friedrich Hollander’s “Münchausen.”

Truth is hard and tough as nails
That’s why we need fairy tales
I’m all through with logical conclusions
Why should I deny myself illusions?

Obviously, one doesn’t want to live solely in a fantasy world, but like Blanche DuBois sometimes we need a little time-out from the harsh, bare bulb of fact. And in fact the full chorus makes clear Hollander is really talking about trying to maintain hope admit disappointment.

Liar liar liar liar liar liar
I’m sick and tired of lies from you
But how I wish your lies were true
Liar liar liar liar liar liar
Truth is hard and tough as nails
That’s why we need fairy tales
I’m all through with logical conclusions
Why should I deny myself illusions?

(BTW, Lemper inserted an updated section that took a rather biting look at certain politicians.)
In a way, being trans is a bit like being an actor, musician or writer. The odds of “making it” are such a long shot that it’s no surprise that many of them have titantic egos — you have to almost a willful ignorance of the realities in order to pursue your dream. The dream of many trans-folk is just being able to live a regular life like everyone else, which can be tough when all too often some people see us as freaks. (I wonder, how many of those who have stared and giggled at “that guy in a dress” would have the balls to go out in public knowing full well that they could face that sort of ridicule?) So sometimes we need illusions to keep ourselves going.
Now it turns out I’d actually misheard the lyrics initially, and (with apologies to Hollander) I actually prefer my mishearing:

Life is hard and tough as nails
That’s why we need fairy tales
I’ve reached a logical conclusion
Why should I deny myself illusions?

It’s not about a choice between harsh reality or illusions, it’s choosing that one can have both. Of course, mistaking one for the other can be problematic. But just because it can be a problem doesn’t mean it inherently is. To build on a thought from Helen: Sure it can sense to tell a kid that a Superman costume won’t make him able to actually fly — especially if he’s standing next to the window. But if all he wants to do is lay on the top of the couch with his Superman costume on and insist he’s flying, what’s the harm in letting him indulge that illusion for awhile?
After all, while Baron von Münchhausen “acquired a reputation for his witty and exaggerated tales; at the same time, he was considered an honest man in business affairs.”